Indiana Jones Sucks, Still Rakes In Box Office Money

// May 25th, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull pretty much sucked. Bad CGI, crazy unbelievable stunt scenes, weak dialogue, and an ending with UFOs. Needless to say it was pretty much a huge disappointment to the highly eager Thursday night crowd at the Arclight. The move was met with golf-clap applause at the end, which mostly seemed out of pity or fondness for the franchise than for the film itself. Spielberg and Lucas have given us some of the greatest films of our generation, but this certainly wasn’t one of them.

Despite all that, the hype machine and marketing were strong enough to propel the movie to over $150 million over the 5-day weekend (wtf?), which begs the question: If filmmakers and studios can keep putting out crap movies that gross many millions in their openings, what’s to keep them from continuing to put out these horrible tentpole pictures??? We’ll all complain about how bad this movie was, but we all paid to see it, and at the end of the day, that’s all Paramount really cared about…

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Don’t Fuck With Jesus

// March 12th, 2008

Hulu went live today with a whole smorgasbord of content from TV shows, films, and digital content.

Here’s a taste with one of my favorite clips from the classic Coen Bros. film The Big Lebowski:

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Time Destroys Everything

// August 7th, 2007


Le temps détruit tout.

It is the theme of Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible, which I finally saw last night upon a film friend’s recommendation.

Through the narrative of the film, much like Memento in which the story is told in reverse, time is indeed destroyed, not to mention the protagonists themselves in one way or another.

This film is very raw, powerful, troubling, and even nauseating for some at times. It’s infamous for having 200 people walk out of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. This would largely be in part to the first 20+ minutes of the film during which the camera constantly moves & swirls & circles disoriented in a dark S&M club while a low 28Hz frequency noise (similar to an earthquake) hums in the background - a noise which can cause nausea & vertigo. Then there’s the extended rape scene of Monica Bellucci. Not for the faint of heart for sure.

Beyond the shock, however, the film is fascinating in its time narrative and cinematography. At first, the camera movement seemed to just be disorienting to mess with the audience b/c it could be, but then I realized that it strongly conveyed the strong emotions & experience of the scenes. It’s definitely the type of film that leaves an impression on you after you’ve seen it. Love it or hate it, it’s a work of cinema through & through & if you love cinema like I do & can bear it, then it’s worth a viewing.

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RIP Michaelangelo Antonioni

// July 31st, 2007

Michaelangelo Antonioni, the legendary Italian filmmaker, passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Antonioni, like Bergman, was among the great filmmakers of his time - an artist of the cinema. Best known for L’Avventura, Blowup, and Zabriskie Point, Antonioni was not without his detractors either. His existential style with long shots, spare dialogue and plots, and open-ended narrative drove crowds like the one in 1960 at Cannes to boo & cheer at the premiere of L’Avventura. The art house cinemas loved it however.

Antonioni’s films were a symbol of our post-modern world of alienation & emptiness - characters wandering through life in search of love or some sort of connection to others, some meaning. His break with conventional narrative - the ending of Blowup being a prime example - was, while frustrating to some, inspiring to many others.

Ironically, Bergman was not a big fan of Antonioni:

He’s done two masterpieces, you don’t have to bother with the rest. One is Blow-Up, which I’ve seen many times, and the other is La Notte, also a wonderful film, although that’s mostly because of the young Jeanne Moreau. In my collection I have a copy of Il Grido, and damn what a boring movie it is. So devilishly sad, I mean. You know, Antonioni never really learned the trade. He concentrated on single images, never realising that film is a rhythmic flow of images, a movement. Sure, there are brilliant moments in his films. But I don’t feel anything for L’Avventura, for example. Only indifference. I never understood why Antonioni was so incredibly applauded. And I thought his muse Monica Vitti was a terrible actress.

Antonioni’s defense, in his own words:

“Reality changes so rapidly that if one theme is not dealt with, another presents itself. Allowing one’s attention to be attracted by each little thing has become a vice of the imagination. All one has to do is to keep one’s eyes open: everything becomes full of meaning; everything cries out to be interpreted, reproduced. Thus, there is no one particular film that I would like to make; there is one for every single theme I perceive. And I am excited by these themes, day and night.”

still from Blowup

still from L’Avventura:

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The First 20 Names on IMDb

// July 30th, 2007

Incidentally, while checking out Ingmar Bergman’s IMDb page, I noticed that the link to his profile was

which got me to thinking that his profile was the 5th profile page on IMDb - nm0000005.

At the very beginning, IMDb had to be populated with information on films, actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, producers, and so on. So, they started with a short list of stars & award winners beginning in alphabetical order with name ID: nm0000001. I therefore present to you:

The First 20 Names on IMDb
1) Fred Astaire
2) Lauren Bacall
3) Brigitte Bardot
4) John Belushi
5) Ingmar Bergman
6) Ingrid Bergman
7) Humphrey Bogart 8) Marlon Brando
9) Richard Burton
10) James Cagney
11) Gary Cooper
12) Bette Davis
13) Doris Day
14) Olivia de Havilland
15) James Dean
16) Georges Delerue
17) Marlene Dietrich
18) Kirk Douglas
19) Federico Fellini
20) Henry Fonda

No Charlie Chaplin in the first round??? WTF???

Oh here he is at #122
Read the rest of this entry »

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RIP Ingmar Bergman

// July 30th, 2007

Ingmar Bergman, the legendary Swedish filmmaker, passed away today at the age of 89. Bergman was among the greatest filmmakers ever - a true artist in the medium of film. Although some of his films, such as The Seventh Seal, can be thought of as rather depressing, there is underlying humor, powerful emotion, intellect, introspection, and above all, masterful technique throughout all of Bergman’s work. Through the legacy of the films he has left behind, his passion for film will forever live on…

“No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul.”

still from The Seventh Seal

still from Persona:

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Bootlegging Transformers on Your Cellphone???

// July 11th, 2007

From today’s Variety:
Five Transformers Pirates Arrested

“The first arrest was made in the Bronx with the defendant being the first to be charged under an amended law that increases penalties for illegal camcording with the defendant facing up to six months imprisonment, fines up to $5,000 and a civil penalty up to $5,000.

The other arrests involved camcording using a camera/video phone in El Centro, Calif.; a cell phone in Addison, Ill.; a camera in Orlando, Fla.; and a camera in Lawrenceville, Ga.”

I understand the MPAA & movie studios battling movie piracy & protecting the copyright of their content, but they’re now arresting people recording CLIPS of movies on their cellphones? Seriously???

First of all, have you ever seen a bootlegged movie from a camcorder in a theater? It’s horrible. The picture is shite, the sound is hardly audible, and you’ve got people’s heads blocking the screen. They hardly substitute for seeing a movie in the theater, on DVD, or on cable.

So imagine what a bootlegged movie from my cellphone would be like… not like any video cellphone on the market today could even record an entire movie, but I guess that’s besides the point. Would anyone even want to see that? Could it even be sold? If not, then does it even amount to piracy???

Just to give you an idea, here’s a video of me biking in Central Park this past weekend from my mobile phone:

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