Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I think of cinema being divided into 2 halves- films and movies.
Films have some sort of social value, based on the art portion of the medium. They have amazing acting, great writing, delves deep into characters and setting (for example- Schindler's List, Philadelphia, English Patient).
Movies are not meant to have any social value, they are just meant to be fun. Chris Hicks, movie reviewer in the Deseret News while I was growing up reviewed Major League and one of his lines stuck with me- "Comedies are made to make the audience laugh. If they don't, they have failed. There is nothing new in Major League. We have seen it all before. But, I laughed. Hard. And often." He gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. Most action movies fall into this category. (examples- Major League, Bad Boys, Transformers, Billy madison).
When I review movies, they will be graded two ways- film grade and a movie grade. The movie grade will be based on comparing it to others of its kind- horror to horror, not horror to Citizen Kane. Then the film grade will say if it is well made in an artistic sense.
I hope this makes sense, if not, let me know and I will try to explain it more.
The system will be on a scale of 1-10
We have a neighbor who comes and borrows our washer and dryer for a huge comforter that she has. I have made a pledge that unless it actually ruins a plan we have (she wants it done that night and we are about ready to walk out the door for vacation- and yes that has happened), then I will do it for her whenever she asks. Last night, as I was getting ready to crash for the evening because I was exhausted, she came over and asked me to do it. I agreed and told her to come back in 2 1/2 hours. I told her that to give me a little leeway in case I zonked for a bit inbetween the switching from washer to dryer. So- I picked a crappy little horror movie because of all of the musical stings and jump scares. I figured that, if I did crash, one of those would wake me up enough to be able to help the neighbor.
So- Stay Alive-
For what it is, I actually liked it. The basic premise is- there is a video game that once you start playing it, if you die in the game, you die in real life. Just not playing the game doesn't help because it takes itself off pause and plays without you until you die. Of course there is a spirit that must be put to rest to win the game- and stay alive!
The acting is decent , again, for what it is. There is the over-the-top stoner buddy for comic relief, the too-serious leading man with a history that he will have to overcome in the climax, the screaming female, the serious goth female who gets the answers for the group but dies before the climax, and on and on. The actors do what is needed for the role, but nothing more.
There is not much gore, except in one flashback, so this is not for gorehounds, either.
Nothing great to be sure, but when you're expecting absolute crap and you get a few scenes that are genuinely creepy because of the visuals and atmosphere- I have to give it a little credit. I would not highly recommend it, but, if you're looking for a horror film, you could definitely do worse.
By the way, I saw the extended cut, and apparently, the PG-13 rated version has 15 minutes less than what I saw. Based on what I have heard was cut, the PG-13 probably will not make much sense.
film rating- 2
movie rating- 5
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I started working for Blockbuster on October 12th, 1995- the same day that Die Hard with a Vengeance came out on video. I quit for an 8 month period from Sept. 1996-April 1997, but re-hired with them in April 1997 and worked full time with them until March of 2007. Then, I dropped down to 2 days a week until May of 2007 and ever since, I have just worked 1 night a week (Mondays) so that I can make room on the New Release wall for all of the new movies. All told, that comes to 11 1/2 years.
When I started in 1995, there was a new fangled video system called DVD that was still being tested and Warner was the only studio embracing it. It was very difficult to find VHS tapes in the widescreen aspect ratio. That winter, the huge hits were Usual Suspects, Ace Ventura When Nature Calls and While You Were Sleeping. I had barely started dating the woman who would become my wife.
I have now been married 10 1/2 years, DVD is the major home viewing experience of choice, it is getting more difficult to find Pan & Scan (which is a very good thing), and While You Were Sleeping and Usual Suspects are now considered modern classics (and When Nature Calls has pretty much been forgotten about).
Last night was my final night of doing the New Release wall. I put in my two weeks notice last week and I trained my replacement to do the wall last night.
I am done!
I am going through a slight grieving period. I have been working at Blockbuster for a hair under 1/3 of my life! I loved the employee discounts and such, but the truth is, the magic is gone. I am 35 and my body was starting to hurt while I was down on my knees for about 8 hours straight. I had changed stores back in September, and I really disliked most of the staff in the new store. My employee account had never been changed over so one of the perks, 5 free movies a week, had been null for the past 3 months anyway. I have a great new job that I really enjoy and am making much more money at, so the sleep dep on Tuesdays wasn't worth it. But, I must say- I am going to miss it.
What better job is there when you're a movie buff than to talk about movies for 8 hours a day? To get the little known movie into the hands of a person who doesn't think it looks good, and then have them come back and say that it has taken a spot in their favorite films of all time is a rush for freaks like me.I loved being the person who received the new shipment of movies and look at the cover art for the first time. I loved putting out the new releases and calling major attention to the ones I liked and making the films that I didnt like disappear into the wall. But, after 11 1/2 years the magic is gone.
I am moving on and continuing my life. Blockbuster was great, but it's time to leave it behind. I have many more adventures coming my way, and Blockbuster doesn't fit into my life anymore.
I am still a movie fan and I still love the community of 'release date' freaks, be it on DVD or theatrical. I will be there for the first showing of Indy 4 and the Dark Knight and will ask my friends at Blockbuster to get any promo items from those films next year at this time. My wall of DVDs will only grow, though not to the extent it used to.
That's my time, and I...am...outta there!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
First, since it will make the entry flow a bit better later, and not because it's the biggest thing, is I have been going through a drug study program from a new restless leg syndrome drug. I had the placebo to begin with (since it made no difference), and, middle of September, I got the actual drug, which has helped me a ton! I was unable to get to sleep several nights a week before because of the restless leg. I would spend those nights on the couch since I didn't want to wake up my wife. Now, I am able to sleep well through the night and get to sleep earlier than before. I'm still a night owl, but, every once in a while, I can go to bed at the same time as my wife, as well.
I got a new job at Pinnacle Security as an account retention specialist. That went well. Then, in September, I was promoted and made a customer service supervisor. After 6 1/2 months at Pinnacle, I am now making more than I was after 11 years at Blockbuster.
As far as Blockbuster goes, I have been working 1 night a week(Mondays) so that I can do the new release wall. For the past 7 years, that has been one of the pleasures of that job. Now, I have changed stores, again in the middle of September, and, with the new restless leg medicine, I realize just how exhausted I am. Before, I wasn't sleeping well anyway. Now that I am, the discrepancy is huge! I also don't like the new crew I am working with, so, as of yesterday, I put in my 2 week's notice. I basically only do the wall 1 more time, next week, and train my replacement, and then I am done.A journey that I started in October of 1995 will come to an end. It has been fun, but it is time to move on.
Now that I am in a groove with my new job, I am going to seriously focus on writing. I know I have said that before, but I am going to look ahead to the future. When I look aty my life, I want to be a writer when I grow up, so I am going to focus on the screenplay and the book I am working on.
I am also going to do quick movie reviews whenever I watch a new film (which is many less than it used to be) or give TV reviews as well.
For all my friends out there, stay tuned!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Saturday, May 19, 2007
- I got a job! I am working at Pinnacle Security as a Customer Retention Specialist. It is a foot in the door of a company that has grown immensely in the last few years.
-My wife helped her brother decorate his home for the Utah Valley Parade of Homes. I helped a bit, but it was her baby all the way. She did an amazing job!
- I was in 2 car accidents in a one week period. I was rear ended on the freeway and the loaner car I got after that accident blew a tire on the freeway during rush hour traffic. I did a full 360 and ended up hitting the back of the car against the wall on the side of the freeway, but there were no injuries in either accident, and in the 360, no other cars were involved.
- In the quick movie review arena- Vacancy (good intense thriller, Kate Beckinsale rocks again!), Spider-man 3 (solid entertainment, but a slight disappointment because the first 2 were so good!), and Hot Fuzz (I honestly don't see myself having a better time at the movies all year! Amazingly funny!)
-I will be posting a new Coming Soon list (since we already have dates for Spidey 3, Shrek 2, a 5-disc Blade Runner set, Knocked Up, and my second favorite film of the year, The Lookout), so keep an eye open for that.
I'm back, and this time, it's war!
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Twilight Zone- the Movie will be out by Halloween.
Deadly Friend- also out by Halloween (who doesn't want to see the original Buffy explode a man's head with a basketball?)
Beetlejuice- 2- disc special edition for it's 20th anniversary next year.
Kenneth Branagh's 4-hour version of Hamlet is done and will be released this summer.
The ORIGINAL Jazz Singer (Al Jolson) will be out by the end of the year.
Blade Runner Ultimate Edition with EVERY version of the groundbreaking film will be out by Christmas in a box set resembling Ultimate Superman (which was 14-discs!). Also- new sets of other Harrison Ford films are under way to be released in conjunction with Blade Runner.
Freebie & the Bean- the first film I personally remember new Oscar Winner Alan Arkin starring in, will be out by the end of the year.
Road Warrior SE coming- no date at all set. Masive remastering needs to be done. (Think Star Wars remastering)
Candidate with Redford commentary in early 2008
2-disc Deliverance SE on the way in 2008.
2 disc SE of Potergeist coming for Halloween 2007.
Grumpy Old Men boxset with over an hour of behind the scenes foootage of Matthau and Lemmon.
Little Shop of Horrors with original'Dont Feed the Plants ' ending is being worked on. No release date set.
Major plans for Elvis Presley films will be announced very soon.
Clint Eastwood films being given 2 disc treatments in 2008. Dirty Harry series and many more.
Thats's all folks!
2 disc LA Confidential coming in 2008.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
While listening to the local talk show, The Doug Wright Show, I have heard 2 slightly amusing news stories during the national news at the top of the hours. I dont have internet links for these, although I am sure they are out there.
1) A man is accusing a woman of stalking him and forcing him to have sex with her. He is 71. She is 79.
2) A woman who was talking on a cell phone and eating out of a bowl while walking was killed when she walked around the railroad barricades and got hit by a train. Talk about distracted walking.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Weird Al Yankovic will be playing the Utah State Fair (again) on September 7th, 2007. Anyone with me?
Also, On August 3rd, Heart will be playing in Wendover, NV. I already have Tayster watching out for tickets to go on sale there for me, but that is another definite must-see.
I have been an Al fan since I first heard Oh, Ricky on the Dr. Demento show at least 25 years ago. I have purchased each of his cassettes as they were released when I was a kid. When I got a CD player, I immediately rushed out and got his entire collection (it took me a while to find all of the Huey Lewis Cds- I told you I was a geek.) Since then, I have purchased all of the new Al Cds on the day they are released.
Heart, on the other hand, came from my love of films. I always liked their radio stuff, especially their 70's hits (Barracuda, Crazy on You, and Magic Man being three that I loved before I even knew who they were by name). When I got married almost 10 years ago, my wife held Heart in the same place that I held Al and Huey. I started listening to their albums in their entirety and their cds, along with Al & Huey, are always in our road trip music collections. It wasn't until I saw Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous in 2000, that I truly got into them. What does Heart have to do with Almost Famous? A lot actually.
Almost Famous is the autobiography of Cameron Crowe. He was a 15-17 year old kid in the early 70's and he went on the road with many major bands(Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath to name but 2) in the early 70's as a reporter for Rolling Stone. They didnt know he was so young. When they found out, they couldnt legally have him on the road so they sent him undercover to see what real life in modern high schools was like. He wrote an article that was later fleshed out into a book that he then wrote the screenplay for which was called Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That started his film career which has also included Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown and Almost Famous. In 1986, he married Nancy Wilson, guitar playing sister in the band Heart. She has done a few singing parts on the albums, but it is mainly her sister Ann who does the amazing vocals.
So, from all of Crowe's time on the road with bands, he kept a box in the garage with all of his memoribilia. One night, Nancy convinced him to write a fictional version of his story. In the movie, the band, Stillwater, plays 6 different songs throughout. All of them were written by Crowe and Nancy (on the same dining room table where ann & Nancy have written their songs for years). Also, Nancy has done the scores for Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky, and Almost Famous with partial scores for Say Anything and Jerry Maguire.
For my wife's birthday in the summer of 2002, I got her tickets to see Heart in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Beach and was amazed by the show! Ann was an amazing singer, and Nancy was an amazing guitarist. I even had to go to the bathroom halfway through the show and got to glimpse Cameron Crowe in the sound booth!
Ever since, I have been a much bigger fan of Heart even trying to find the latest release on the day it came out by randomly driving through Twin Falls, Idaho looking for record stores while we were on vacation. Fun fact- as Orlando Bloom is packing music in the film Elizabethtown, he puts Jupiter's Darling by Heart into his mix.
So, even though I have 6 months to wait for Heart and 7 for Al, I am already excited to see 2 great concerts thsi year!
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
By the way, I have searched exhaustively for Easter Eggs, and while they may be there, they are not easily accessible.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Which brings me to the Jon Mills story. I need to find a way where I can publish it online, but have it protected. The Coming Soon list is publicly available to everyone on the Net and I dont care, but I wont let Mills loose like that. So, I am still working on getting that on here.
The job hunt still goes smoothly. I keep getting interviews, I keep getting turned down,but then I get more interviews. Since I still have a job, it doesn't feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. Yesterday's interview was full of slime, but other than that, it's been a good experience.
For yesterday's interview, I went to an office. I should have been clued in when there was only 1 guy and a secretary in a huge office. It was for a financial account representative job. It took over 2 hours to take a personality test, be interviewed and have this guy try to BRT (build a relationship of trust, ask any missionary) with me. When he asked me where I worked, I said Blockbuster, and he told me that he and his wife rented movies all the time, and they see several a week. When I asked which ones he had seen recently, he hmmmed and haaahed for a while. I asked him then what were some of his favorites of all time. When he couldn't answer that, I knew he was blowing smoke up my butt, so I let him off the hook. The job was apurely commission based thing where they would "pay" me 2,000 a month for the first year (and at some point, I would have to pay it back to them, like a short term loan), and they would "rent" me an office space, and they would "mentor" me for a price as well. I knew I wasn't going to go anywhere with this, but I felt it wouldn't kill me to take their "personality profile". So I took it, and after, the interviewer shook my hand, told me he'd be in touch, and no matter what their decision was (THEIR decision, when I have to pay them money?), he would like to be my financial advisor and he handed me his card. It was all I could do to not tell him to F*** off, but I didn't and left disgusted with my afternoon.
That put me down for the day, but, I ended on an upnote. I found the newly released to DVD documentary "THis Film is Not Yet Rated", which is a blistering portrayal of the insanity of the MPAA and the movie rating system, bought it, and absolutely loved it! Even though it is unrated (obviously)- it shows the unedited versions of many R-Rated scenes which suppossedly pushed the NC-17 limits, since it's only a few frames, there is not much difference- I would recommend this film to anyone who wants to see just how idiotic the rating system and the rating board is. I have respect for people who dont watch R-rated films, but I dont have respect for the system. When many PG-13s are much worse than some Rs, there is something definitely wrong.Does Planes, Trains, and Automobiles deserve the same rating as Sin City? Anyway, off my soapbox.
Check back later for a post about my opinions on the Oscar and Razzie nominations.
CATCH A FIRE
FACING THE GIANTS
FARCE OF THE PENGUINS
ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING
PASSION OF THE CHRIST- DE
SILENCE OF THE LAMBS- SE
BOYNTON BEACH CLUB
CINDERELLA 3- TWIST IN TIME
EDDIE MURPHY- DELIRIOUS
FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS
ROMANCING THE BRIDE
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS
SCIENCE OF SLEEP
TRUST THE MAN
CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG
MAN ABOUT TOWN
RICKY JAY PLAYS POKER
SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS
SO GOES THE NATION
U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON
FAMILY TIES SSN. 1
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS
MAN OF THE YEAR
OPEN WATER 2- ADRIFT
PENN & TELLER BS! SSN. 4
SHUT UP & SING
WHAT’S NEW SCOOBY DOO SSN. 1
ALEXANDER- FINAL CUT
CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
HEART OF THE GAME
LAST KING OF SCOTLAND
STRANGER THAN FICTION
TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY
WALKING TALL- PAYBACK
DECOYS 2- SECOND SEDUCTION
FAST FOOD NATION
LET’S GO TO PRISON
MOONLIGHTING SSN. 5
PETER PAN (DISNEY)- 2 DISC
BOSOM BUDDIES SSN. 1
NATIONAL LAMPOON’S SPRING BREAK
COME EARLY MORNING
DUKES OF HAZZARD- THE BEGINNING
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
NEWSRADIO- SSN 5
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
AFTER DARK HORRORFEST
BIG- DIRECTOR’S CUT
PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
THAT THING YOU DO! - DIRECTOR’S CUT
DEATH OF A PRESIDENT
STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO VOL. 1
UNTOUCHABLES TV SHOW- VOL. 1
WE ARE MARSHALL
WKRP IN CINCINNATI- SSN. 1
MAJOR LEAGUE SE
SCOOBY DOO SSN. 3
SLEEPING DOGS LIE
GEORGE & THE DRAGON
NATIONAL LAMPOON'S PUCKED
OFF THE BLACK
10 ITEMS OR LESS
DREW CAREY SHOW SSN 1
ODD COUPLE SSN 1
AL FRANKEN- GOD SPOKE
ALONE WITH HER
ARTHUR & THE INVISIBLES
BLACK SNAKE MOAN
BREAKING & ENTERING
CHILDREN OF MEN
CODE NAME- THE CLEANER
CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
DAYS OF GLORY
DECK THE HALLS
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
GOD GREW TIRED OF US
HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER
HOME OF THE BRAVE
JIMMY & JUDY
NIGHT OF THE LIVNG DEAD-2006
NOTES ON A SCANDAL
SANTA CLAUSE 3
SECRET LIFE OF WORDS
STOMP THE YARD
TRAILER PARK BOYS
VAN WILDER- RISE OF TAJ
WILD SAFARI 3D
WORK & THE GLORY 3
SPECIAL EDITIONS & TV SERIES COMING SOON
BONNIE & CLYDE
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
KILL BILL- WHOLE BLOODY AFFAIR
LILO & STITCH
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS-1986
SOUTH PARK- THE MOVIE
YOUNG INDY ADVENTURES
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Harry and the Hendersons will get special edition treatment as it is released on DVD for the first time on April 24th. There will be a director's audio commentary, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, and a vintage on-set interview with the man behind the mask, Kevin Peter Hall (who also played Predator), who died in 1991.
Also premiereing that day is a Parenthood Special edition, but details have yet to be released for that.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
It's not much to look at now, but just wait a few weeks while I get the hang of it.