Jimbeaux Bloggins
My enchanting ranting, poetry and prose
The occasional clippings, drippings
and Fun Fotoz

Sad Fracking Films 

Finding time to write stuff for this blog is becoming more and more challenging. Business is picking up. Momentum is starting to build for indie city entertainment. My team and I shot a few small jobs in February that have led to referrals... which is now leading us to more jobs in March. Which is fantastic. We had a great shoot yesterday afternoon and I'm flying out to DC tomorrow to shoot for a day at Georgetown University. Momentum is starting to build with my pet food company as well. When I'm done in DC, I'm flying to Boulder for another meeting slash brainstorming session with the chiefs and other regional managers at "I and Love and You." We'll be collaborating and strategizing for a couple days there and I'm back to LA. I shoot again for one of my new clients and then the Natural Products Expo kicks off in Anaheim on March 6th. Everything is going great.

I've put together a really great production team, so I'll be able to take on plenty of new business without me actually having to be present at every shoot. I've also got a fantastic AD (Assistant Director) slash AP (Associate Producer) who is also my wife who can handle so many things that need to be handled when I'm handling other things. 

Things are clicking. We are going to run with it.

I HAVE had some time to watch a few more movies. I'm still determined to see all 50 movies from the Paste Magazine "50 Best Movies of 2014" article I read a while back.

RECENTLY, I've seen STILL ALICE, THE OVERNIGHTERS and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.

I should have seen them in that order. I might be in better mental and emotional shape right now. ALICE and OVERNIGHTERS are both really depressing... BUDAPEST is much lighter and more entertaining... would have a great way to wrap up the trilogy.
 
STILL ALICE


 
"Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring."



Julianne Moore was amazing. Her performance was MORE than worthy of an Oscar (congratulations btw). The acting was good across the board in this film. Everyone was great. Its just SO... DAMN.... SAD. This woman starts having issues early in the film and it all goes downhill from there. This movie is heartbreaking a relentless. You get to a point where you just need a 5 minute break from the heartbreak. You don't ever get that break. 

I dont know if this is based on a true story but I would have loved to see some sort of bounce back moment where she shows some significant improvement and copes with her life and family knowing that this "remission" is just an illusion of some sort and that she will inevitably deal with more decline. But no... she loses it and loses it and loses it while her family all struggle to deal with it in their own way. She DOES see a rebirth in the relationship with her youngest stubborn/free-spirit daughter... but ithe sadness if BRUTAL.

Kristen and I walked out of the theater with everyone else... in this silent and somber single file line... swallowing hard feelings.... this guy walking about 4 feet in front of us let out a huge FART. Kristen and I looked at each other Kristen said "Was that you?" I was like "No" while I discreetly pointed between the guy in front of us and the old woman walking with him... and suddenly we were hysterical. We were stuck in the middle of this slow moving mass of theater goers... desperately trying to contain a much needed explosion of laughter. We waddled along in this scrum of senior citizens, getting closer and close to the wide open parking lot.. our hands over our mouths... covering our snickering and protecting us from potentially hazardous vapors. As soon as we saw an opportunity, we darted off to safety and ran as fast and as far away as we would... hoping to find a safe zone. We got to the car and sat there cracking up for a good 10 minutes.


THE OVERNIGHTERS



 
"A modern-day Grapes of Wrath, award-winning documentary The Overnighters is an intimate portrait of job-seekers desperately chasing the broken American Dream to the tiny oil boom town of Williston, North Dakota. With the town lacking the infrastructure to house the overflow of migrants, a local pastor starts the controversial "overnighters" program, allowing down-and-out workers a place to sleep at the church. His well-meaning project immediately runs into resistance with his community, forcing the clergyman to make a decision which leads to profound consequences that he never imagined."


MAN, this was a really good documentary but also heartbreaking. The harsh reality of day to day life for everyone in this community really makes you want to stop, drop and say some grace for the comforts and love in your own life. Also, an interesting coincidence... seeing this film in the past few days with all this Keystone Pipeline stuff going on. It's easy to see how that project, if enabled, would create a similar dynamic in all those small towns that lay in the wake of the line... and how many would suffer some of the same consequences.

PS: I'm against the Pipeline. I'm against fracking. I'm glad President Obama vetoed the bill. I'm also AMAZED that there are people out there supporting that thing... and blasting Obama for trying to shut it down. What the hell is it going to look like out there when we have that pipeline passing through Montana, or Oklahoma.... or Texas... and some sort of accident creates an oil spill? The consequences can be CATASTROPHIC, people. There is NO F%%% way you can say that won't happen. Odds are... it WILL. It's NOT worth the risk. PLUS... Aren't we supposed to be finding alternate forms of energy? Shouldn't we be spending time and money on REINVENTING our relationship with the Earth and its energy sources. Inventing NEW ways to survive? It's like civil rights for African Americans. It's like Gay Marriage. Fruition is INEVITABLE. It's an concept that is HERE TO STAY. Not going away. Okay put aside Black and Gay rights for a moment.... We HAVE to get over our dependency on... addiction to... crude oil... and find cleaner, better ways to provide the world with energy... there are no ifs ands or butts about it... again... the issue is here to stay... it will not go away... and building a a pipeline right through the heart of our country is a mistake... it's a HORRIBLY reckless endeavor...  a MAJOR step in the WRONG direction. Get over it. Stop barking about it. If you support it... and you succeed, you'll be sorry. We'll all be sorry.

Okay that all I have to say about it. So let's all get out there and start pedaling stationary bikes to light up our homes. They do that shit in Africa... seriously. They do.

I don't have time to write about The Grand Budapest Hotel. Maybe tomorrow. I DID enjoy it though


 

Squeezing in Some Cinema 

More Movies....

Things are heating up. 2015 is starting to look like a very busy year. Hopefully it will be as productive and lucrative as it starting to appear.

I'm still trying to keep up with my movie watching schedule. The Academy Awards jump off on February 22nd... which is next Sunday. I'd like to think I can see the majority of nominated films before next Sunday but I know I wont get a chance to see them all. So far I've seen BIRDMAN, BOYHOOD, THE IMITATION GAME, GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, GONE GIRL (Best actress), INHERENT VICE (adapted screenplay), GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Visual fx) , DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (Visual fx), INTERSTELLAR (Visual fx)...

I'd still like to try and see AMERICAN SNIPER, SELMA, THEORY OF EVERYTHING and WHIPLASH, but I dont think I'm going to have time before the 22nd.

IDA (Cinematography) is on Netflix so I think I can squeeze that one in.

What Ive really been trying to do is see 50 films listed on PASTE MAGAZINE'S "50 Best Movies of 2014."  Some of those films are invited to the dance on Sunday. Some are not. I still feel like most of the films on the list are worth seeing.

JOE, is not one of them.

JOE is number 37 on the list and it stars Nicholas Cage. I could probably stop there and you and I would be on the same page.....



"A gripping mix of friendship, violence and redemption erupts in the contemporary South in this adaptation of Larry Brown's novel, celebrated at once for its grit and its deeply moving core. Directed by David Gordon Green, JOE film brings Academy Award (R) winner Nicolas Cage back to his indie roots in the title role as the hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, who is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble - until he meets a hard-luck kid, (MUD's Tye Sheridan) who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector."


The person who included JOE on the top 50 list claims that Cage "delivers a magnetic, dialed-in performance, his most layered of the last several years." So I thought I'd give it a shot. Sorry, just didn't work for me. In fact I didnt... I COULDN'T... watch the entire movie. I had to turn it off. On top of the fact that every scene felt like an amateur improvisation exercise... Nicholas Cage is just believable... not even close... as a backwoods ex con who runs some tree cutting/landscaping business in Dirt Poor, Texas. They also cast a TON of no name actors in this movie... which i think is great... in concept... unfortunately in THIS film, casting no name actors meant casting people that are not actors at all. Aside from some of the lead talent, many of the featured supporting roles are filled with people who were probably hired because they are the real deal.... and thats cool too... except when it ruins the movie.

Kristen and I put this one off ... and put it off... then we finally decided to watch THE ONE I LOVE (Number 48 on the list). It stars Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from MAD MEN) and Mark Duplass (Part of the Duplass Brothers)




"The highly anticipated debut feature from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell, THE ONE I LOVE is an original tale that continues to showcase McDowell's keen observations of human relationships with a distinct and comedic voice. THE ONE I LOVE, written by Justin Lader, was produced by Mel Eslyn and executive produced by Mark Duplass who stars opposite Elisabeth Moss. On the brink of separation, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in an attempt to save their marriage. What begins as a romantic and fun retreat soon becomes surreal, when an unexpected discovery forces the two to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future."

First of all, Kristen and I were hesitant to watch this one because we weren't sure if we wanted to sit through a cynical story about marriage. Now, having seen it, I can't say it's NOT a cynical story about marriage... that's debatable... but this film is definitely NOT what I expected. THAT being said. I liked this movie. There is this altered reality, SCI-FI-ish quality to it that I didn't see coming. The unexpected elements drew us in and really kept us locked in until the end. I won't say anything about the end but none of it is predictable, which I found refreshing. AND... the chemistry between the two main characters really mad this movie enjoyable... there is chemistry poppin off all over the place in this film. Duplass and Moss find a lot of great moments and develop a really interesting rapport that I think might actually appeal to viewers from an older generation. Meaning, my MOM might actually enjoy this. The back and forth between these characters looks and feels like something that Golden Age actors could really run with.

Ok, so I'm sitting at a Starbucks on Palos Verdes Drive North in Rancho Palos Verdes... right on the ocean. It's a beautiful sunny day here in Southern California. Kristen and I came here to have some coffee and try to get a little work done out of the house... but its WAY too crowded here... and way too pretty outside. So we're gonna bounce.

I still have to tell you about my experience with The Imitation Game and Grand Budapest Hotel.

I'll get right on that.


 

Super Hero News 

New project coming up with a new client. We came up with a cool...kind of funny way to present their company. Moving on to pre-production... including casting the following role....


NOW #CASTING the role of SHIZZANDRA (Female 21-35, any ethnicity) a new yet-to-be unveiled Super Hero. A top secret project for years, her supreme powers have been kept under wraps. Her pending presence in the supernatural Universe is about to become a reality. SHIZZANDRA is beautiful, brilliant and brave. She has incredible strength and the power to heal. SHIZZANDRA will soon be for real. Produced and Directed by James Huffman for indie city entertainment, this project is a corporate internet video series designed to showcase an established visual effects group based in Los Angeles. WARNING: This role requires comedy. Please email submissions (pic/resume) to indiecity.ent@gmail.com


 
Posted a casting notice on LA CASTING late last night and woke up to 750 submissions. I gotta get to work.



 

Adolescence Appreciation Week.... 

AAAND... we're back....

I've been sick... super sick... all week. Last Friday I started feeling some "murkiness" in the back of my throat. Saturday I had to go down to San Diego for a Pet Food event at a Brewery. The "Belching Beaver" near San Marcos is dog friendly and they have a lot of dog loving patrons... so the Unleashed by Petco store in San Marcos worked made an arrangement with the Brewery and they set up a booth and gave away a ton of coupons, goodies and our wonderful "I and Love and You" koozies.

I have SO many KOOZIES in storage that when I heard about this event I jumped on it.

Anyway, by the time we got back Sunday afternoon I was feeling worse and I ended up wrestling with the worst cold I've had in 10 years. Sucked. This was the kind of cold that no herbal remedy in the WORLD would want to mess with.

So I took some sick time and watched a few more movies. I also started watching TWIN PEAKS (From the early 90's... and yes... I never seen it) and AMERICAN HORROR STORY (Season 1. Its freakin NUTS... and awesome), but thats... for another day.

This week I channeled my inner adolescent and Watched DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (#24) and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (#44).

Dawn of The Planet of the Apes was damn good. Nobody wants to believe me. YES.. I was a Planet of the Apes FREAK when I was a kid. YES I watched every movie in the original series during "Planet of the Apes Week" on WOR-TV year after year. I HATED the Mark Wahlberg Tim Burton Remake. I was SO-SO on RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES with James Franco. But THIS time? This time they got it right. They rocked it....

A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.



To be perfectly honest, I saw this movie when it came out in the theaters. I saw it in 3D. The I watched it again at home this week. I really liked this movie because they did a great job keeping the story and the characters (Humans and Apes) genuine, unique, strong, subtle. Yes, there was action and a lot crazy ape antics... Yes... these are animated apes... but it wasn't hokey.... it all worked beautifully. 

As far as the 3D... the 3D cinematography was artfully done. A pleasant surprise. Probably the best I've seen so far. I haven't seen a TON of movies in 3D, but nobody was trying to throw a spear into my face. The production value was far more poignant than that. While battle scenes were chaotic and complex... the landscape was breathtaking at times. The depth of the forest was magically brought to life. 

Anyway, it was not as goofy as you might think. Whether you are IN to the Planet of the Apes or not.... this was a good movie. Worth your time and money.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!!!

It was good. Wasn't amazing. Another movie trying to be like Star Wars... telling relatively the same story. Doing relatively the same thing.

From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team-the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits-Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand-with the galaxy's fate in the balance.




It's basically "HAN SOLO - The Early Days"

It's fun. Has a handful of cute comedic moments and one liners.

But I'm a member of the STAR WARS generation. I'm OG.... original gangsta... Nothing else will ever measure up.




 

More Movies.... 

HELLO!

More movies to mull over. Last week we drove up the hill to Ranchos Palos Verdes and saw INHERENT VICE....

and I was like.... whuuuuuuuuuut?

"Inherent Vice," is the seventh feature from Paul Thomas Anderson and the first ever film adaption of a Thomas Pynchon novel. When private eye Doc Sportello's ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a looney bin...well, easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," that's being way too overused - except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists... Part surf noir, part psychedelic romp - all Thomas Pynchon."

Seriously.... what was that?
 



Okaaaaaay. That was Interesting.... OUT there... funny at times.... foggy at others.... sort of hard to follow. Not impossible... but I think since I had NO idea what the movie was about... I felt like I was always two steps behind. WAIT.... maybe that is what I was SUPPOSED to feel. That's pretty much where Joaquin Phoenix was the whole time.

INHERENT VICE happens when we mix THE BIG LEBOWSKI and CHINATOWN... with a dollop of PULP FICTION. Joaquin Phoenix is great once again. I have to hand it to him. Even when you are feeling frustrated by your own lack of comprehension... you are still totally drawn in by his performance. He really takes you for a ride. Well... he gives you a great big haul off of a great big joint... and THEN he takes you for a ride. It's GO-TO-WORK-WITH-YOUR-SLACKER-POTHEAD-UNCLE DAY. Hooray. Get out there and investigate some stuff.

Imagine trying to do Detective work when you're STONED out your gourd? Thats what INHERENT VICE is like.  

One review I read hit the nail on the head-

Thank You CREATIVE LOAFING CHARLOTTE, 
http://clclt.com/

"Inherent Vice provides a contact high: Inherent Vice locates a mystery worthy of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe and basically sends in Cheech and Chong to crack the case."

Now... dont get me wrong. I wouldn't dare call this film a stoner flick. This is Paul Thomas Anderson for Krice Sakes, not Tamra Davis ("Half Baked") (No disrespect to Tamra Davis). This movie has a lot going for it.... you might even say it's pretty good.... but I don't think its anywhere NEAR his best work.

OK.... so NEXT?

GONE GIRL.

To Be Frank and Direct.... get right to the point... GONE GIRL was GOOD.... really really good. I liked it ALOT... but....  

I HATED that F****ing ending. Damn you. David Fincher. Damn you....


GONE GIRL - directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn - unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?



This movie was a lot of fun to watch. Great characters. The story really kept you on your toes. My wife and I kept turning to each other throughout the movie, making simultaneous reaction faces at every twist and turn.... But the ending sucked. Plain and simple. Again... maybe its supposed to suck... maybe as the viewer I'm supposed to hate what they did to me in the end. I feel betrayed. I feel used. 

(Maybe I should create and carry out some crazy plan to exact my REVENGE!!!!!)






 

Favorite Short Films of 2014 by Casey Cipriani 

Who?

Casey Cipriani! She's awesome.  

Casey Cipriani is the New York-based Assistant Editor at Indiewire.... I don't know... she wrote this article... don't worry about it.... 


Favorite Short Films:

I was lucky enough to get to see a wide variety of short films this year at various festivals. Shorts are often hard to find, but I promise if you seek these out (some of them available on Indiewire) you will not be disappointed.

 
"97%"

97% (Short) Trailer 2013 from Ben Brand on Vimeo.



 "The Apothecary"

THE APOTHECARY is a cinema verite documentary short film about Don Colcord, the beloved druggist in a remote Colorado outpost; his pharmacy is the only one within 4,000 square miles.  Don navigates a profound divide between his public persona and his personal life.  To the community in this former mining region, he is jovial and almost heroic; at home, on the other hand, he is impotent and isolated as a result of his wife’s long-term disability.  Thematically, THE APOTHECARY explores notions of individual duty and obligation in the face of privately held grief and ambivalence.



 "The Last Time I Saw Richard"


The Last Time I Saw Richard from Nicholas Verso on Vimeo.



 "The Life and Death of Tommy Chaos and Stacey Danger"



 

"The Karman Line"

THE KARMAN LINE, THE BIFA 
WINNING STORY OF HOW A MOTHER IS STRUCK BY A RARE AND BIZARRE CONDITION THAT SEES HER BODY PHYSICALLY LIFT OFF THE GROUND AND HOW HER FAMILY STRUGGLE TO COME TO TERMS WITH HER ILLNESS.


"Lambing Season"



 

"Mr. Invisible"


Mr. Invisible - Trailer from Big Bright Lights on Vimeo.



"Noah"

(NSFW- Noah tells the story of a boy, a girl and a Facebook account)





 


"Pony Place"

Pony Place, Directed by Joost Rejimers. "When young Emma is prohibited from taking her iPad on holiday, she asks her grandma Koba to look after her digital horse farm. The task proves bigger than Koba expected."
 

"The Phone Call"

THE PHONE CALL, A short film starring Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent. "Heather works in a helpline call centre. When she receives a phone call from a mystery man, she has no idea that the encounter will change her life forever." 

 
"Tryouts"


TRYOUTS TRAILER from Susana Casares on Vimeo.



 "Yearbook"


 


And that's it. I created this post for myself as much as anyone else. Seeing that I'll be finishing and submitting 3 separate short film projects this year (possibly more), I wanted to check out all the films listed by the author. I also wanted to gather up more information so I could use the entire viewing experience as a source of inspiration and creativity.

The WHOLE reason I found this list... tucked away in a bigger article... an ensemble piece created by the staff at Indiewire... was because I was reading (ANOTHER article written by Casey Cipriani; Published on Jan 14) about the short film "Yearbook." Which I thought was pretty cool.

Watch: This Stunning Short Film Will Make You Think Hard About Humanity - http://www.indiewire.com/article/watch-this-stunning-short-film-will-make-you-think-hard-about-humanity-20150114

 

Working with Children and Animals... 


"Never work with children or animals”  - W.C. Fields

(Seems like I've broken that rule already... what about Pac-persons?)

Between takes, Director James Huffman discusses framing and intention with Ms. Pac-Man #setlife

 

Blue Ruin vs Under the Skin vs Case of The Missing Dog 


After a day of NFL Playoff football (Go Home Cowboys) I took in some of the Golden Globes last night. I'm a tiny bit baffled as to.... well... I'm not baffled really... not surprised really....

BOYHOOD won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress.... and I couldn't disagree more. Like I said before... I thought BOYHOOD was good. An impressive achievement in filmmaking. But many of the performances, I felt, were flat... Ethan Hawke was good... But I just didn't think Patricia Arquette was that great. I can appreciate the attempt to create a compelling and strong female character... but I don't think she excelled in that role.

ANYWAY... its just MY opinion... and I know plenty of people who LOVED this movie. I think sometimes people get charmed by a film and/or jump on a bandwagon and help build something up to be better than it really is.  

I have two more movies to write about.... BLUE RUIN and UNDER THE SKIN... #45 and #4 on the Paste Magazine Top 50 of 2014.

One interesting little side note nugget about BLUE RUIN... I worked with actor Macon Blair quite a few years ago on a 48 hour Film Project called "Case of the Missing Dog."



When I started watching BLUE RUIN, I kept asking myself "Why does this actor look so familiar?" I finished the film. Still couldn't place him. Then I saw my friend Jeff had posted something about the film on Facebook... congratulating his friend Macon... and BOOM.... I put it all together. The whole REASON I was worked on that 48 Hour film project back in 06 was BECAUSE of Jeff.  He has worked with Macon the year before and they had some success but Jeff had to back out last minute and he asked if me if I would be willing/able to take his place.

Pretty damn cool that Macon Blair... my old "Case of the Missing Dog" buddy was starring in this dark indie film that is now on Paste Magazines Top 50. 

So BLUE RUIN.... rock on....

Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin stars Macon Blair as a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.  

I liked it... Partly because its this quirky, cool, off-the-radar film that engaged and entertained.... and partly because every moment feeling so unconventional and unexpected. Macon's personality and physical presence fits this character perfectly.... or is it the other way around?

I like what I read in a different list about movies from 2014... "24 Movies You Probably Missed This Year, But Should Totally See"

like most humans, he’s not a natural killing machine. Blue Ruin’s well-staged action pile-up ends up being as believable, surprising, and occasionally as funny as it is tragic.

That about sums it up. You should see this one.

UNDER THE SKIN.... a very different movie...

This is one of those films that may mean something different... depending on who you ask.... and much of it might go right over your head. It's intriguing. It's creepy. It also has some disturbing, tragic moments... sounds like a lot of fun... right?

Under the Skin is a 2013 science fiction thriller art film directed by Jonathan Glazer, and written by Glazer and Walter Campbell as a loose adaptation of Michel Faber's 2000 novel of the same name. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland.

OK... so I... KIND OF know what this movie was about. It was interesting enough to keep my attention for 2 hours... but I don't know if I care enough to really spend the time and energy to digest and sort out the story and how I feel about it (Actually I think that's what I'm doing right now). The ONE thing that really grabbed me about this film is a heartbreaking scene that involves a family visiting an isolated rocky beach in Scotland. The family dog jumps in to the water to fetch a tennis ball and gets swept out by the rough tide. The WIFE wades out to try and help the dog and SHE gets pulled in by the dangerous rip current. The HUSBAND subsequently dives in to try and save his wife, but he can only get so close. The water very quickly sends the woman.. and the dog... further away from shore and into this REALLY sinister surf. A bystander notices what is going on and tries to help the husband. The bystander jumps in and manages to get his hands on the Husband and rescue him, pulling him back to shore... which is a visibly exhausting experience. Both men lay on the rocks, just out of reach of the undertow, struggling to recover... and after hearing another cry from his wife offshore... the husband stands up and runs back in to the water. Man, Wife and Dog... all disappear into the sea. The bystander manages to pull himself together enough to stand up.... only to be knocked out and kidnapped by the alien seductress (Scarlett Johansson), who was standing there, watching the whole thing unfold... doing nothing.... because she is an alien seductress. When The alien and her victim leave the scene, the camera pulls out to see the drowned couples' crying toddler sitting on a blanket, alone at this desolate dangerous, cold rocky beach.

The image of that baby sitting there alone... crying at the edge of the rising tide... is friggin brutal, man. Sheesh.... but... THAT is some damn compelling cinema right there.

I can't recommend this movie. It will punch you in the gut and laugh in your face.


  

Birdman VS Boyhood 

Ok... 2 new movies to check off that list. I went straight to the top. Forget this "32 out of 50" crap. I decided to spend a day playing the "National Championship" of movies from 2014. Number One "Boyhood" versus Number Two "Birdman." I have to say, I fully support a much needed playoff system.... because they didn't quite get it right.

BIRDMAN!!
 
"Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant career. It's risky, but he hopes that his creative gamble will prove that he's a real artist and not just a washed-up movie star. As opening night approaches, a castmate is injured, forcing Riggan to hire an actor (Edward Norton) who is guaranteed to shake things up. Meanwhile, Riggan must deal with his girlfriend, daughter and ex-wife."
 
WOW. I loved this movie. I can't say that I would recommend this to just ANYBODY. This movie was WAY more of a personal experience than a story that I enjoyed.
 
I loved the story though. I loved the pace and the style... the acting... and the score. It wasn't the BEST acting I'v seen... nor was it the best score... but it was all done so well. It was so different. Unique. Energizing. Entertaining. Now... there IS a certain fantasy element that I wasn't crazy about but... I can live it. Didn't ruin anything for me.

If you consider yourself an Actor... you need to see this film.
 
If you are an Actor who has lived in New York City for any amount of time... you need to see this film.
 
If you are an actor who who has done any theater of any sort in New York City.... you need to see this film.
 
Even if you're not an actor.... far from it.... very likely you will enjoy this film.
 
Birdman is a series of one take scenes. The camera follows characters down out and around the narrow hallways and small rooms of a Broadway theater as they rehearse and prepare for the opening of play produced, directed and starring Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton). The characters are constantly on the move.... the camera is constantly on the move... and the this crazy cool jazz drummer who creates almost the entire score... is constantly on the move... literally and figuratively. It's all very "New York." They managed to capture the energy of the city and suit her up.... New York City does a great job filling the "12th Man" role in this movie

I was in a play at The Beckett Theater in NY back in 2007. The play was called LEE/Gendary. It featured an ensemble cast (We all played several different roles throughout) and the way I would describe the story is that it was an abstract rendition of what was going on in the Heart, Soul and Mind Bruce Lee the night of his death.

BIRDMAN is kind of like that.... but less abstract.

BIRDMAN also represents an actors experience. Thats why it really resonated with me... why I was sucked in and enthralled the entire time. If you've ever walked the streets of New York.... went to an audition or two.... stopped somewhere for coffee with a friend... then went to your acting class... then knocked off a performance in a play that night. If you've spent weeks working on a stage production... learning your lines.... rehearsing... dealing with the good and the bad people in your cast and crew... dealing with the good and bad elements of your personal life... carrying around this character that you've been developing... this movie will speak to you a little more directly than your average person.

I thought it was fun. I thought it was inspiring. I really enjoyed this movie.

BOYHOOD on the other hand..... hmmmmmm....

The joys and pitfalls of growing up are seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater). Vignettes, filmed with the same cast over the course of 12 years, capture family meals, road trips, birthday parties, graduations and other important milestones. Songs from Coldplay, Arcade Fire and other artists capture the time period. Directed by Richard Linklater.


BOYHOOD was good. It was an impressive ambitious achievement. It was fun to watch the characters grow up. It was kind of like watching some family's home movies or a slide show. But it wasn't THAT great. Definitely shouldn't be number one.... on any list. I really don't see why so many of my friends were RAVING about it on Facebook. Again.... like I said... its GOOD... but I don't really feel the need to sign from the rooftops. The movie is all about "Moments" and how we all evolve and exist based on our own unique series of moments... that make up who we are..... and even though we all have our unique moments... they are all oddly similar.... in one way or another.... which is cool.... sure.

Kristen and I enjoyed it... we laughed out loud when outfits and hair styles and attitudes would change with the seasons. We also found ourselves really FEELING the dramatic turns. Ethan HAWKE was really good in this.... but on a solid performance level.... thats about it.

Patricia Arquette... I don't know.. she started out strong... good attempt to portray a strong female character... but I think she dropped the ball towards the end. Marco Perella played a good villian as the drunk abusive "Next" husband.

I often felt like I was watching a documentary BECAUSE of the lack of quality "performance" I guess it was supposed to be that way? The first half of the movie felt less like that than the second half. I felt like the "actors" in the beginning of this film... of this PROJECT.... 10 or 12 years ago... were giving more to their performances.. and that really showed. I also think that when "Mason" got older... the actor and the character... Linklater started giving him more scenes where he needed to ACT... and he is just not very good...  that became distracting for me.... kind of made me cringe. There were a few other performances in this film that made me cringe.

There was a LOT of cringing in this movie... often it was an elicited response.... a lot of cringing came about because the interactions between the characters and the stories that were unfolding were designed to make us cringe.... like we were re-living a handful of super awkward moments in our own life.

Very Ambitious. Impressive achievement in filmmaking. Interesting. Not the best movie of the year.... not even close.



 
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