Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Pusan West Film Fest

Last weekend the Pusan West FF occured at Chapman University in Orange, CA. I’ll be brief… it was awesome.

Some pictures I took

Some pictures I took

Best,

Reviews:
http://blogs.indiewire.com/iwnow/archives/pusan_west_to_launch_at_cas_chapman_university/
http://www.sparkoc.com/event/detail/440505071
http://www.ask.com/web?q=Pusan%20West%20Reviews&o=101483&l=dis

Zune is better than iPod

If you don’t believe me, view the chart here.

I had a Zune 30, a Zune 80, and my Zune 120 is coming in the mail.  Here are my top 5 reasons that the Zune is better.

Face it.  Zune rocks.

Face it. Zune rocks.

Zune 120 VS iPod Classic

  1. FM Radio Tuner:  The Zune makes listening to the radio possible (which means I can watch and hear TV at the gym – sorry iPod users).  Beyond that, I can purchase/download songs from the radio directly to my cart/Zune.
  2. Wireless:  The WiFi built into the Zune allows for multi player games (I can play checkers/etc with another nearby Zune user; games come pre-loaded and you can download software to make your own games).  Wireless also offers streaming audio to the device (I can listen to whatever song I want whenever I want as long as I am in a WiFi zone and have a Zune pass), and wireless file share/sync to computer (I can send picture albums, podcasts, and songs/albums to a nearby Zune – I can aslo sync wirelessly with my computer).
  3. Build – Screen Size and Squircle: The screen is larger for the Zune making all the difference.  In addition the navigation is easy and logical.  Up means up, down means down, etc – fancy that iPod users.
  4. Zune Pass/Software: For $15 a month, you can  have unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music on demand, and you can keep ten songs a month forever.  This works on three computers so I’m splitting it with two other people.  That means I get unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music, and can keep 3 songs per month for about $60 a year.  Incredible.  Not only that, but the software is easy to use, and has incredible music discovery elements, and is very slick looking.
  5. Microsoft makes mistakes, but Macintosh makes intentional, mean decisions and rude (in some cases outright dishonest) commercials.

Zune 120 VS 32 GB iPod Touch

  1. Zune is $250 (about half of the 32 GB touch)
  2. Zune has 120 GB (more than 3 times the size of the 32 GB touch)
  3. FM Radio Tuner:  The Zune makes listening to the radio possible (which means I can watch and hear TV at the gym – sorry iPod users).  Beyond that, I can purchase/download songs from the radio directly to my cart/Zune.
  4. Zune Pass/Software: For $15 a month, you can  have unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music on demand, and you can keep ten songs a month forever.  This works on three computers so I’m splitting it with two other people.  That means I get unlimited downloads, unlimited streaming music, and can keep 3 songs per month for about $60 a year.  Incredible.  Not only that, but the software is easy to use, and has incredible music discovery elements, and is very slick looking.
  5. Microsoft makes mistakes, but Macintosh makes intentional, mean decisions and rude (in some cases outright dishonest) commercials.

To me the choice is clear – the Zune blows the iPod out of the water.  Where am I going wrong here?

-DM

Christopher Nolan’s Joker – Greatest Villain in Cinema History?

Last night I saw the midnight screening of the Dark Knight at the new GardenWalk in Anaheim; it was sensational. I’m sure there will be review after review praising this film and I’m sure I’ll agree with what is said. I’m not going to write about the film in general. The question I’d like to raise is this: is Christopher Nolan’s Joker the greatest villain in Cinema History? Let’s go through and check:

Darth Vader – is now just a winy teenager. Even without the destruction of the Darth Vader character via the new 3 Star Wars episodes this Joker would give him a run for his money.

the Terminator – Unfortunately he’s only been a villain 33.4% of the time (he’s the hero of the 2nd and 3rd film). He falls behind the Nolan’s Joker as well.

Silas Lynch – from The Birth of a Nation, 1915. While he is worth mentioning, he falls behind the Joker as well – he’s not near as disturbing as the Joker, nor is he as evil.

the Wicked Witch of the West – she’s been made into the misunderstood good guy by “Wicked.”

Phyllis Dietrichson – in Double Indemnity, 1944. It’s true she’s crafty and can’t be trusted but compared to the Joker she’s like Mother Teresa. She causes nowhere near the level of destruction, and by comparison, she is not feared. The Joker strikes terror into th hearts of an entire city.

Henry F. Potter – from It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946. Just nowhere near the same level – I think you’d all agree.

Mrs. Iselin – from Manchurian Candidate, 1962. She’s on the list because she’s twisted and devious – the Joker has her beat in both categories.

CatwomanBatman Returns, 1992. Catwoman is probably the most comparable person on the list simply because she too comes from the Batman universe. The Joker will leave you disturbed and rattled. Catwoman is more of a typical superhero villain – almost playful. Joker wins, hands down.

Out of all the villains I can think of, the only one who truly rivals Nolan’s Joker is Hannibal Lecter. It’s a very close call but there are a few things to consider: think about the amount of havoc the Joker brought upon the city. Think about the volume of people who were terrified of him. Think about his motives. The most frightening thing about the Joker is that he really does not have any motives – he’s just a “dog barking at cars.” He loves doing what he does. Though it’s a close call, I believe the Joker wins again.

Heath Ledger was perfect and I’m not exaggerating. It’s fair to say (while we are on the Hannibal subject) that he gave an “Anthony Hopkins” worthy performance – he’ll go down in history.

So that’s my point – I think a strong case could be made for the Nolan Joker to be the greatest villain of all time. What say you?

-David May

Top Ten Date Movies?

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt’s 1/25/08 podcast and he had a guest on that was talking about the movies. One of the topics was “Top Ten Movie Rentals for early dates (1-3).” I’m going to provide the list, and some other lists that may be more… accurate.

*side note*
The guest said this in reference to 22 to 30 year olds in Hewitt’s Audience:

“Do you actually think there’s somebody in that demographic that listens?”

The answer is yes! I’m 24 and I’m sure there are more of us – give us some credit, eh?

Top Ten Date Rentals (approximately 3rd date)
(according to Hugh Hewitt’s show on 1/25/08)

10) Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) – bad idea
9) When Harry Met Sally (1989) – good idea
8 )Far from Heaven (2002)
7) Notting Hill (1999) – my skin crawls just thinking I may one day have to watch this movie again.
6) The Philadelphia Story (1940)
5) the African Queen (1951) – what? the African Queen as a date movie? Not in this dating generation.
4) Some Like it Hot (1939) – alright, I could see that.
3) It Happened One Night (1934) – I could see that too I guess.
2) Casablanca (1942) – cliche… don’t do it.
1) the Notebook (2004) – I have not seen it but know what it’s about… I don’t know about that for a date early on.

March of the Penguins (2005), Mad Hot Ballroom (2005), Last of the Mohicans (1992), – Pride and Prejudice (the six hour one) were also mentioned by listeners. I could see Last of the Mochicans and I’ve never seen Mad Hot Ballroom, but the other two are terrible ideas.

What would my top pick be? The choice is clear: Princess Bride (1987). Charming, funny, and romantic.

Happy Valentines Day folks,

-dm

Other top 10 date movie Lists:
About.com
Askmen.com

There Will Be Blood…? 8 nominations… really?

A modern day Citizen Kane. These are words that I would NEVER USE to describe this film.

I liked Magnolia. I have not seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s other films but I am sure I would like a few more of them. I liked what I saw of Boogie Nights. And you know, I’m sure he’s probably a really nice guy on top of everything else.

I did not like There Will Be Blood. Not even a little. In fact, I’ve never been so frustrated in a movie in all my life (and I’ve seen Valentine). I’ve only been moved to write a review about two films. This one, and Star Wars Episode III. I did not like Star Wars Episode III at all, but I prefer it 100 fold over There Will Be Blood.

At no point am I going to rag on any particular individual involved with this film. I will say that in my humble opinion, nothing really worked. Again, not trying to be a jerk – just in my opinion nothing really worked… at all.

BEING UN-CONVENTIONAL
The friends that I saw this film with said It wasn’t bad, it was “un-conventional.” Let me explain something. If you make a film that is un-conventional, that does not give you a free pass to avoid criticism. Movies can be un-conventional AND terrible. There is an important category that must be paid attention to. The quality category: that is “good” and “bad.” An example of a “good” and un-conventional movie would be Memento.

THE PERFORMANCES:
Daniel Day-Lewis is incredible. I loved his performance, and nothing bad can or should be said about it. Not too excited about anyone else. I guess the translator was pretty good.

THE SCORE:
It sounded in some sections like the THX logo was about to come up. In other sections it sounded like a musician fell into a closet full of instruments. No kidding… at one point a teenager came into the theater ringing some Christmas bells and… I am seriously not kidding… I thought it was part of the movie. Totally out of place, completely strange and I didn’t even realize it was not supposed to be there. No kidding.

THE STORY:
Movies are storytelling. Some stories are not worth telling. Maybe I’m crazy… maybe I’m alone in this but I just didn’t care. If someone walked up to me at a party and started to tell me this story about this guy who was a gold miner and then got into oil drilling and went from town to town looking for land that had oil under it and one day he found a crazy religious guy who caused him no end of trouble but he took his advice anyway and then made a lot of money but- right about here I’d probably just give them the back of my head and walk away. I don’t care about this story. At two hours into the movie, I still didn’t care.

THE CHARACTERS:
Everyone was a Jerk. I couldn’t root for anyone; I didn’t care about anyone, and I really didn’t care what happened to them. So incredibly boring.

THE GOOD PARTS:

TWO HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BAD PARTS:

  • Whenever the characters started to get violent with one another the majority of the folks in the theatre I was in began laughing. I don’t blame them. It came off funny. I don’t know if it was supposed to; I really don’t think so, at least not most of the time.
  • Why did I have to watch him look for gold in the beginning? I suppose to show that he started a man by himself; just a one man show that by the end has a mansion and tons of money? I feel like we would have gotten that anyway. If not cut that, then please cut something – or pick up the pace. Way too slow; way too long.

I feel like I’ve ranted enough for now. Long story short, great performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, but that’s all I have to say. He was a flower growing out of a pot of dirt (no offense to anyone – just saying it like it is). Yes, I know it was nominated for lots of awards. I have two words for you: English Patient. Not many folks liked that movie, but it still won Best Picture in 1996 over Jerry Maguire.

Where am I going wrong here?

-dm