Best Show You Don't Know About

Best Show You Don't Know About
Leverage

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Movie Reviews Rating System

I will be honest, I love films. Because of this, there are only about 20 films in my life that I have seen that I have hated and find no redeeming value in. For example, there is a film called Forbidden Zone from 1982, I believe, that is a very bizarre and horrible film, but, it had redeeming value for me because it was the first score done by Danny Elfman (Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo officially).
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

Movie Review- Stay Alive

First- let me explain.

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.

Stay Alive-

film rating- 2
movie rating- 5

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The magic is gone

Earlier this year, when Live Free or Die Hard came out, most articles and reviews about it talked about how long it had been since John Mcclane was on the big screen. In fact, one of the lines of the film talks about "an analog hero in a digital world".
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

I'm back!

So, it has been almost 6 1/2 months since I posted on this thing. So, let's catch up-
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!