Friday, January 25, 2013

Blah blah blah.

So I've got a job now. Working at the UPS Store. it's not great, by it's pretty easy and the people are pretty cool so far so it makes it quite the job for me. I get to pack boxes, and sell stuff to people, and ship boxes and all that fun stuff! Apart from starting there, I don't have anything new going on really.

New season of Face Off on Sy Fy started up. It's a great competition show of film make up and special effects. I love it. Kind of a guilty pleasure but not really. Justified is back. I just re-watched the first three seasons to prepare for it. Again, this is a fantastic show! You should all watch it. It's about a US Marshall who gets relocated to his home county of Harlan, KY. The show follows his return and reconnection with all the people he knows there. The writing is fantastic and we get to see the vad guys as well as the good guys since it is on FX. While the first season is a little Mobster-of-the-week, the second and third seasons follow plot arcs. The acting is superb and the writing is sheer brilliance. They rarely go the route you expect, and yet all the stories make sense and you see the world in grey not black and white, since they do a great job of humanizing the bad guys and having the good guys make mistakes. I may talk more on this show later.

I'm trying, and slowly but surely succeeding at getting a website up and running for me to use as a home page for the podcasts I'm producing. Not much to tell, other than word press and mac don't play nicely. That should be up and running by the end of February. Hopefully I'll get on a more steady schedule at work so I can be more adamant about writing. Anyways, I got to go eat and stuff. Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 Recap

What a year 2012 was. A lot of great stuff happened seeing as I graduated, became a professional director, met some awesome people, saw some incredible movies, had some wonderful experiences. However, life likes to balance itself by throwing a lot of shit in there too. This year we lost two close family friends, ages 20 and 21. 2012 may not have been the end of the world as most people misinterpreted the Mayans' calendar, but it sure felt like it at times. I learned a hell of a a lot about grief last year. I think about Randy and Tim almost every day and miss them a lot.

Good things did happen in 2012. I directed Beyond Therapy at school which was an absolute blast, then I got to light design the new version of Cinderella which was my best light design to date since I had a lot of useful resources to do it. I started up 3 podcasts that are still going strong, more on that later.

There were some great movies in 2012. To know more on that check out The Cinemasters Podcast where we did a movie game of 2012 movies and coming soon we will do a recap of the movies in 2012.

As far as TV goes, Breaking Bad and Justified are still some of the greatest shows on air. Fringe is closing up shop soon, which I'm okay with so it doesn't go too far. Newsroom kicked some major ass in its first season. The CW show Arrow based on the DC comics character Green Arrow, one of my favorites. This is a fun show. Granted it's not the sheer brilliance of say Sherlock or Justified whose writing is incredible, but it's a solid action show and basis for the Rogue Arrow Podcast. House ended,. I kinda faded away towards the end. Need to finish the last 5 or so episodes still. How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory are kinda stale nowadays. They need to end. I watched some of Partners and found it to be quite funny.

Some great music came out last year. Gotye got super huge, which is weird because I was in Australia when he was emerging down there. I got to see his rise of popularity down under then experience it again when I got back to the States. Adele is still going strong. Maroon 5 is still rocking their pop rock grooves. No doubt came out with some new stuff that is pretty excellent. Tenacious D also made an excellent come back with Rise of the Fenix. My favorite albums of the year are The Offspring - Days Go By, The aforementioned Rise of the Fenix, Linkin Park's Living Things, and Hoobastank's Fight or Flight.

On the comic front the new 52 is still going strong. I'm loving Firestorm. I've been picking up the Hawkman: Wanted crossover. It's not great but it's decent. I'm still loving the Sixth Gun series by Cullen Bunn. Really everything by Cullen Bunn, which sucks because he's getting pretty decently into being a Marvel creator so he has a lot more titles for me to buying. Marvel's trying to get the same readership boost with their Marvel Now! The new Thor: God of Thunder series is excellent and I've been enjoying Avengers as well. I wish I had more money to buy more stuff with, but I can only afford so much.

So yeah, 2012 was one hell of a year. A lot of great things with an awful amount of horrific things thrown in. I hope 2013 is a lot better.

Things I want to accomplish in 2013: Get webcomic up and running, find a job, Devon and I are working on eating better, being a better person all around, and just helping to make people's lives better.
I should be able to take care of most of these. So. Here's to 2012. I will always remember that year, though not necessarily for the good reasons... RIP Tim and Randy.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Movies!

That's right. Time for my review of Christmas movies. Wait. No. I already did that. You can find that here and the Christmas Special of the Cinemasters Podcast that we recorded here. Why don't I talk about the movies that came out this Christmas, well the ones that I've seen (Les Miserables, and Django Unchained.)

First I'll do Les Mis. Before I get into the film, let me go into my past a bit. My Junior Year of High School in 2007 I went with the school's production of Twelfth Night to the Illinois Highs School Theatre Festival which had the all state musical as Les Mis. I fell asleep as I was quite bored with the show. That being said, I was not at all excited when I first heard this movie musical version was coming out this winter. Then as the months went by and the cast was announced I was vaguely interested as I like all the actors in the movie. Finally when I heard that the singing was being recorded live I got super excited as the normal lip syncing tends to leave out subtle emotions in the performances of the music. At this point I decided I would have to see the movie to see the new recording and to see if I had grown as an audience member and if I had just been a young kid who wasn't really into musicals.

So I saw the movie. I first was not impressed by the sound mixing, but that was they recorded the boat pulling scene actually in the ocean and as such were unable to get a good live recording of the vocals. Anyways, the story didn't interest me any more than it did almost 6 years ago and the music, while good was not enough to keep me interested for the almost 3 full hours. That being said I will try to comment only on how the film was made and not the story itself.

The biggest complaint I had about the show was how static the shots were. Through most of the solo scenes the camera was merely a close up of the actor singing and either didn't change or only changed very little. This worked in Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream"as her emotions were spot on and her vocal and video performance were synced due to the live recording of the songs. This lack of editing was essentially caused by the live recording since the audio take couldn't be cut and pasted, it had to be one single audio take. Therefore they didn't have the extra footage from other takes to insert into the final. This could have been avoided and improved by having one or two more cameras on set that they could record with simultaneously and get some different angles on the very, very static scenes.

As I said, "I dreamed a dream" is the only song that didn't suffer from this camera restriction as it was one shot of Hathaway singing for four minutes with a close up of her intense emotions to become one of the strongest scenes. The other best part of the movie for me was the kid who played Gavroche. He isn't on screen a ton, but it was a joy every minute. His singing was cute, and pretty good and he had one of the best songs.

In short, I don't love this move and I would be hard pressed to even say I like it, but it is very pretty and technically is pretty well done. I would give it a 4 out of 10.

Next up, Django Unchained. Quentin Tarantino's 8th big movie release. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to this at first since I knew I would enjoy it. As the months got closer, the anticipation rose. I was able to see this the day after Christmas and it was fantastic. It has all the staples of a Tarantino movie, from the language (wouldn't be surprised if it set a record of number of n-words said in a movie.), the Mexican standoffs (the movie starts off with a tense scene as Christoph Waltz uses his overly professional attitude to try to conduct a business transaction to get Django to help him out. The first of many great tension building moments.), and the fantastic, bloody fight scenes (a great shoot out where most everyone dies.)

The best part of this movie are the performances by... well everyone. I don't think there's any scene with a poor performance, including a great cameo that I will not ruin for you. Christoph Waltz plays a similar character as his Inglourious Basterds character, but that's okay since it's fantastic as always. Jamie Foxx transforms from the run down slave to the free, badass fighting expert. Leo DiCaprio does not disappoint as the slaveowner who owns Django's wife that they are trying to get back. Walter Goggins plays one of DiCaprio's men who has a rivalry with Django as he is a black man on a horse. His character reminded me of his character in Justified which everyone should be watching. I will be re-watching that soon as the new season comes out n the 8th! His interactions with Django are really intense and great and sort of serve as comic relief.

The plot is great! The action is great. A lot of great kills. Classic Tarantino. A bit on the long end, but hardly noticeable and not at all detrimental to the film. Very little could have been done to make this movie better for me. Definitely gets a 9 out of 10.

Fun videos to go with these movies!!!

Those are the only movies I've seen that were released on Christmas so next post will be reflection on 2012 I think. As always, thanks for reading. See you later.