Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Walking Dead

First off... I'm a fan of the comic series. Second... I'm not one of those comic fans that get all crazy upset when something doesn't translate perfectly to the small or big screen. Mediums are different and I understand when changes need to be made in order to best serve the medium it's being presented in.

I already love The Walking Dead. I know it's only been one episode at the time of writing this but so far what I have seen has been a good time. Not only is it very faithful to the original comic but the quality of the production is above and beyond what I expected when I first heard that this was coming to the small screen.

For those who are not familiar with the series, it's about the zombie apocalypse. We don't really know how or why it happened because we are learning things at the same time the main character is learning them due to him being in a coma at the time the world went to hell. He's a sheriff who wakes up after being hurt in the line of duty and finds that the world has been turned into a massive horror movie. He's on the hunt for his family and this is his story.

Like I said before, the production value of the series is great as the zombies look properly decomposed and the world around them looks disheveled and broken as you would expect in a world run by the dead. The music is haunting as are the performances by the actors. They are able to be human and act natural even while discussing the subject of zombies.

Above all else, the show and the comic, is a story about people. We see folks at the end of their wits just trying to survive and keeping their loved ones alive at the same time. It's about what people do when pushed to the edge with no sign of light at the end of the tunnel. The dead are here and they don't seem to be going anywhere. It's not a story about why this has happened or a story about how to stop the dead and save the world. They aren't trying to be heroes. They just want to live.

The show is on AMC which has surprised many with it's ability to develop hit shows even when the rest of the tv networks struggle to keep their programming on the air. With hits like Mad Men and Breaking Bad under their belts The Walking Dead seems like a natural fit. They have shown that they can produce quality programming and keep it diverse enough to bring in all types of viewers.

It's good to see some original shows on the air after these last few years. The good thing is that people are recognizing the good writing and even better acting and they are watching. The people are speaking and what they are saying is that we want diverse and quality programming. We don't want the same old formula pushed at us anymore.

We want zombies.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Warners goes with no 3D rather than bad 3D

It's amazing to me that Warner Brothers would rather miss out on the premium ticket sales that the 3D conversion would bring in than release their movie with a process that most folks regard as inferior. It's a bold move by one of the biggest movie houses with one of their biggest franchises ever. I'm happy with Hollywood this day.
Let's be honest. Hollywood is about money more than anything else. Everything they do is about making the big bucks. It's what goes into each decision made over the course of the day. If we make this how much will we get? If we get this person to star how much will we get? If we remake this flick... etc. It's refreshing to see a change in that mindset for once.
3D isn't going away anytime soon. Hollywood has found a cash cow in the process and they are going to milk that thing dry. I'm ok with it for now. As long as it stays being something we only see in CGI movies, action flicks, the random horror movie. But the second it starts popping up on the latest romantic comedy I'm fairly certain that will mean the end of things.
What I discovered I hated was the conversion process for movies not specifically shot for the 3D effect. What we got then was a cross between the old school 3D and a viewmaster. And to be honest, the viewmaster looked a lot better than Clash of the Titans did.
Warners decided to skip out on the crappy conversion while deep in the process already. They saw that it didn't look good and they bowed out. This sends a message. If you can't get it right then we aren't going to do it. I like that message. It's one I would like to see more of in Hollywood. If you can't do it right then we shouldn't do it. If this was also applied to some of the movie released these days then I think the world would be a better place.
The decision is especially surprising since this is effecting the biggest franchise Warners has had. Ever. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One ushers in the final installments of the movie series and for them to miss out on the massive income of the 3D tickets is a big deal.
This makes me wonder about the recent decision to re re release the Star Wars movies in the next few years with a 3D conversion. Will this make Lucas stop and think that maybe this isn't the best idea until the process is better or will he just shrug and do it anyway. My vote is that he doesn't really care about the quality of what he's putting out because he knows all the Star Wars fans out there will grumble the whole time but they will still pay out the nose to see his movies again on the big screen.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A New Season Begins

I'm a fan of television. My co-host Dannt watches a little television and a lot of movies and it sometimes feels like I am the opposite. I'm so busy these days that getting a bit of entertainment and hour at a time is all I can manage. So each time the new season starts I find myself looking at all the upcoming shows to see if there is anything I would like to check out. There are a few guidelines though. Here they are...

1. I usually give the show at least three episodes to grab my attention. A lot of folks will just give them one chance but with the popularity of serialized dramas I feel that one episode doesn't give the storytellers the chance to open up the world that we are supposed to hang out in for the duration of the show. Three episodes is a good amount to learn the characters and the idea that the writers are trying to get across. But after three episodes if I haven't committed to the story by that point I don't think I ever will. So I tune out.

2. Find out what network the show is on. It seems over the last five years the networks have developed a pattern for how they treat their new shows. The worst of the bunch is NBC. They tend to load up on shows and cancel most of them within the first seven episodes. It's hard for me to commit to anything on this network because there is very little chance of it going for the long haul. Especially when the shows are serialized. Why get into a long running story that I will never get to see a conclusion to.
ABC will give a show a chance and have it finish out the season but you better hope the season doesn't end on a cliffhanger cause there is a good chance it'll be gone next year. CBS plays it safe and just does spin offs of their most popular shows all the time so you're pretty safe on this network.

3. Beware the genre shows. I'm a comic book fan and tv seems to be trying it's best to cash in on the superhero genre that's making big bucks in the box office but it doesn't seem to be catching on. Each show that focuses on the super powered folks seems to have a very short life span. Heroes lasted a few seasons but it went from being one of the hottest shows on the air to one of the most hated in just a few short years. ABC is trying their hand this year with No Ordinary Family and I plan on giving it a watch but I am aware that it's lifespan will most likely be a short one. Smallville is the only super show that has had any legs over the past few years and even that one ends it's amazing 10 year run this year. We also have The Cape popping up this season but I give this one less than half a season and then it's gone as well.

4. Find out what has stuck around the last few years and invest in some DVDs. There are some shows out there that didn't make the cut for me in years past that are still going strong. With these shows I like to get the DVDs and catch up. Something must be going right with these shows for them to have survived the brutal cutting process developed over the last few years so why not give them a chance. Bones, Chuck, Fringe, and Dexter were some of these shows that i have picked up and been happy with. There are some good shows out there and thanks to the awesomeness of that is TV on DVD we can catch up with them on our own pace.

5. Finally... tell your friends when you find a good show. Get the word out so the show you like can get all the attention it needs not to get cut. What difference will you make? Very little. But the more people you tell the more word of mouth grows and that can make a big difference.

Let me know what shows you have checked out this new season. What's good? What's bad?

So far I have seen the first episode of The Event and I wasn't too impressed. But it's got two more episodes to turn that around.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Truthless Trailers...

The art of the Trailer... you have a very short amount of time to sell people on the idea of a movie and to make them want to pay the money to go see it when it comes out. A lot of times you get the complaint about all the good stuff being in the trailer after viewing the full film. Maybe you moan about a certain scene in the trailer not being in the final film. Anyway you slice it the makers of the trailer will use anything to get those butts in the seat.

This last week I went to see The American starring George Clooney after the trailer sold me on the idea of Clooney playing a gray haired Bourne-like character. The trailer had quick cuts, action, car chases, guns, intense music... basically promising a thrill a second ride sure to make your heart pump with excitement.

The movie I ended up seeing was the opposite of that. It's a very slow euro indie art house flick all about the internal struggle of a man disgusted with his life and his want of something more. He barely speaks any lines about the struggles of his torn soul and instead relies on looks and body language to express everything we need to know about the state of his journey.

When action does happen it's sudden and is over before you know it's happening. There are only about three or four times action plays a part in the story so the promise of a thrill ride go right out the window as we are usually watching Clooney silently struggle with himself and not with a weapon wielding adversary.

The music is also slow and puts you in a relaxed state as we watch wide shots of vast landscapes and Clooney driving. A lot. This guy loves to drive everywhere.

All of this to say that the trailer lied. It's a lie. The movie they sold to the people sitting in the theaters doesn't exist and that bugs me. I actually liked the movie for what it was but it took some time to get over the fact that I wasn't going to be watching the movie I had paid to see.

I think the folks in Hollywood need to be a little more honest about what they are trying to get us to see. Tricking us to get some cash isn't a way to gain our trust.

So beware of seeing movies based solely on the trailer. Look up the flick and see what it really is before shelling out the cash.

What movies out there have tricked you?

Friday, August 6, 2010

DC Animated Features issue...

This is not a review of the movies that DC has put out over the last couple years. It's just something weird I've noticed as I have collected and watched them.

Every time I watch these flicks I fall asleep. Every single time. I'll get the newest one on bluray and pop it into the machine. About half way through the flick I drop into a deep sleep. I'm usually not tired when I start the movie and I do find them interesting enough to keep my attention but each time I find myself dozing off and having to come back to it at a later time.

Like I said... I think the movies are good and I look forward to each new release. Only one has gotten a bad review from me and that's the first one, Superman Doomsday. It was pretty horrible and it made me question the brand as a whole the first time out of the gate but since then they have delivered pretty quality story and animation.

Could it be that it's due to my knowledge of the source material? The movies are based on comic book story lines that I am familiar with and most are ones I own in paper form from the get go. Could it be that I grow tired due to the fact I know how it's going to end? I don't know.

It's a little annoying though and I made attempts to get over it on the latest venture into the world of the animated DCU as I sat down to view the Batman: Under the Red Hood. I sat up on the couch avoiding the dreaded lay down position, I had a snack and a beverage with me, and I watched it in the middle of the day so I wasn't in the least bit tired. But as the movie went on and the snack was finished I found my eye lids growing heavy. I readjusted the sitting position and focused on the screen more. And then I woke up.

Somewhere in there I nodded off and missed half the movie. When I did awake I went back and finished the movie and have since come to the conclusion that it was really well done and I had liked it a lot but still... in the end I once again fell asleep.

I can't figure it out.

I just don't know.

Maybe I have that weird sleeping disease... Narco-Sleepy...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Comic Books Need Not Apply...

The San Diego International Comic Convention is one of the largest and well known comic book conventions on the planet. I have been a few times over the last few years and I think I got out just in time.

No longer is it about the art of the comic book and filling holes in collections built over many years unfortunately. Comic books have taken a back seat to what the con has ultimately become and that is a soap box for every Hollywood production company to shop their goods. Movies and television shows that have nothing at all to do with the world of the comic geek take up most of the space and time that used to be filled with the major and minor publishing companies.

I am not a fan.

The last year I was there I had to deal with hoards of Twilight fans filling up the biggest convention hall so they could save seats for the Twilight panel in the middle of the day. They rolled their eyes at the panels they didn't care about and joked at how lame everything was while fans of certain franchised sat outside and missed things they wanted to see.

While there is no Twilight panel this year the place is still over run with Hollywood pushing any and all films they may have coming up in an attempt to woo one of the most critical groups of viewers to enter a theater. The Fanboy.

They figure that if they get the people who manage to get a Spider-Man and Batman movie a few billion dollars to commit to come seeing their movie about two hard luck police detectives then they will be able to make some "comic book money" on a flick they paid 10 million to make. It's a little ridiculous and doesn't really work but they do it any way and that means time and floor space is taken from a comic book property to make room for a studio movie that has nothing to do with the genre.

This doesn't mean I don't wish I could be there each and every year with all the other geeks though. I want to be there. I want to be walking down the street and run into a celeb of the comic or film world. I want to see some of the upcoming toys and books I'm going to want to buy. I want to be able to ask questions of the guys who create the heroes of my youth and today. But I don't have a giant urge to be crushed in the massive crowd of sweaty fanboys all out for themselves. I don't want to have to sit in line and wait for a panel I'll never be able to get into.

So I'll stay home and remember fondly of the times I went to SDCC when it wasn't sold out within weeks of tickets going on sale.

But I hear WonderCon is a cool place to hang out...

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST: The End

As expected with a show ending there was no way the writers were going to make everyone happy. And this show is no exception. The camps seem evenly divided for the most part and like always the ones that weren't happy with the ending are the most vocal. They spew their venom onto the interwebs with a passion that was once reserved for the show itself when it was running full steam ahead.

I'm not going to be one of those guys.

The evening was a good one for the most part as I gathered with friends and filled a living room to max capacity and settled in to watch the final episode. We watched as the folks on the island battled the Locke-Less Monster and really fought to get through what seemed to be an impossible task of finally getting free of the island once and for all. We witnessed the coming together of loved ones in the flash sideways as the people there came to realize what they were all there for. You would have thought seeing the memories flood back for all the characters would get old but for me it was wonderful each time.

In the end the show was over and the room was silent. Then came the hate. The room was filled with people complaining about questions not answered and characters not seen and within the time span of a few minutes it seemed all fun had been drained from the room. With the realization that there were two among their midst that actually enjoyed it they turned on us with a barrage of questions about why we enjoyed it with none of the answers being accepted but rather pushed aside and scoffed at. It was then that I realized that there were two schools of thought for the fans of LOST.

There is the "Question Fans" that watched the show only to get answers to queries posed during the run of the show. This quest for answers drove their fandom and kept them tuning in week after week hoping each episode would give them some sort of answer to a burning question deep within them. Where did the Polar Bear come from? What is the Smoke Monster? What is so special about Walt? What's with the big egyptian statue with the four toes? Tell us what we want to know!!!

There is no way that these people were going to be satisfied with the final episode. The Powers That Be had already stated that not all the answers were going to be revealed. They were going to leave some of the mystery hidden on the island. The island is a place of wonder, magic, and questions. To spill all the answers would take the wonder away and turn it into just another rock sticking out of the water. Besides... a lot of the answers to the "unanswered" questions are out there if you just pay attention and think about it.

Then there are the "Character Fans". These are the people that have followed these lost souls on their adventures and have found friends. They followed the leaps to the past and the future with rapt attention as the lives of these people unfolded and we discovered what makes people the way they are and why it's important to not judge other by stereotypes and looks alone. We all have stories and these were more important to these fans than questions about how the island works.

The division comes with the realization that the writers and creators of the show were of the "Character Fan" variety. They loved these characters and felt that their lives and stories where the most important thing on the show and that's how they tackled the end. They finally gave these poor beat up people the happy ending they deserved. They showed us that despite the fights, sadness, and intense situations these people went through together... they had all become friends. A family. A family that we as fans had grown to love as well. And I like the fact that they all were given the happy ending they deserved.

Was the episode perfect? No. I had a few things I would have liked to see but in the end I felt it was a good way to go out. It was a fun adventure and one I will be taking again when I watch the series again someday.

Oh... the polar bear was brought to the island by the Darma folks for the animal testing that they had been doing. When Darma stopped operating the thing was either set free or escaped. This question was answered years ago so people really need to stop asking about how it got to the island. Sheesh...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Lazy Day of Movies...

One of the super rare occasions is coming up in my life where I will be able to sit on my butt and watch movies all day uninterrupted. It hardly ever happens and when it does I sometimes lose my focus and other things get in the way of getting through the pile of flicks I line up for the day.

This time that is not going to happen.

I'm getting a list of movies and food ready for the event. I'll have everything I'll need to get through the movies without leaving the house or falling into the trap of video games or computer work that usually spells doom for the day.

The first thing I'm going to do is turn off the computer and close the door to the office. I will restrain myself from going into that room for I know that what lay inside is nothing but distraction and loss of time.
Food is the next thing on the list that I need to acquire. It's going to be a mix of junk food and stuff that's not going to make me want to hurl if I eat too much in one sitting. Pizza is on the menu for the big meal but chips, dip, cookies, yogurt, fruit, and ice cream for the end is also being served up. The trick is to space all this stuff apart so you don't get sick and so you have room to snack on all this stuff without filling yourself up right away.
The stack of movies is all ready and it includes titles from all genres and decades. Most of it is stuff I picked up when Hollywood Video went belly up but some of it is saved to the instant watch on the ol XBox. I'm hoping to get through 6 to 8 movies and I wouldn't put it past me to manage ten in one sitting. As I said... this chance to veg comes around once in a blue moon. I need to make sure I get my fill before the real world crashes back around me.

How do you set up for a day of movie watching?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Comic Book Movie News...

It's no secret that I am a comic book fanboy and as such I follow the news surrounding comic book movies intently. I had write about a few things happening in Hollywood regarding comic flicks that have popped up over the last couple days...


Why not? He's used to dealing in worlds that aren't quite reality but feel real on screen and he has a good knowledge of comics and what makes them good. He's a fanboy like the rest of us but knows how and when to blend what is in the pages of the books to what's being seen on the screen. I think he will be able to satisfy the majority of the fan community while making a movie that allows the non fans to have a good time.
I hear now that he's even going to give a polish to the Captain America script as well. I'm all for that one too as that means a little more unity between the Cap movie and the Avengers flick.
I've said it before and I'll say it again... Marvel knows what they are doing when it comes to their flicks at the moment. They understand that while their characters are strong... they are mighty when together.
If only DC could figure that out we would have some great summer movies to look forward to.


It's being reported that Sony isn't happy with what they have seen of The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogan. One of the comments made is that they don't think he looks anything like the action hero.

Um... Duh.

Fanboys around the net have been saying this for the last year or more since we found out Rogan was the man in the suit. He's a comedic actor who at the time was a little over weight and not known at all for being active in his flicks. Sure, he's lost a lot of weight and even I will admit he looks a lot better in costume than I thought he would but in the end I'm not sure that will save his performance.
Another aspect of the film being called into question is the campy nature. Duh, again. Sony ordered a comedic version of the film and cast a well known comedian in the title role. You got what you asked for guys.

With such a luke warm response by the studio I'm curious to see how they go about the marketing and release of the film. Worse case senario is that it heads straight to DVD. Best case is that the studio hopes Rogan's name is enough to sell the movie and goes full steam with it. I see it maybe landing in the middle with a limited marketing campaign and a release in a random part of the year. One thing is sure though... Sony needs to shut it's trap about how terrible the movie is or else no amount of marketing will sell this film to the fans online.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Midnight Culture...

Over the last couple years the city I live in has been a lot better about doing midnight showings of the latest and greatest Hollywood has to offer. I've been going to a lot of them and I've noticed a thing or two about the culture of the midnighters that is different from when you go to the theater any other time.

For the most part we are all making a sacrifice. It will either be a job, school, or early rising kids. Whatever it is... we are going to be losing sleep due to us going out to this movie. Energy drinks and coffee will be drank. Snack food will be consumed in the late hours throwing off peoples eating schedules. Chaos will consume us all.

I usually show up an hour and a half early to make sure there isn't a massive line beginning to form. I like to get good seats and if that means sitting on the floor for extra time so be it. This isn't usually a problem for some of my friends as they show up way later and get to jump right up front with me. That brings up a question of line etiquette but we will get to that later.

Last year I can think of only one movie that had a line. I think it was for G.I. Joe. No... it was for Wolverine. Anyway... the rest of the time it was clear of lines and I would wander over to the local coffee shop with the friends who had tagged along and we would sip coffee and chat about movies, comics, movies, and life. This is one of the reasons I like hitting the midnight showings because there is a lot more chance of hanging out with friends than usual. Most of the times I go to a flick with a friend we show up on time for the movie and then the flick starts and when it's over we go home. There isn't much of a chance for conversation. But with the midnight flick there is time to kill and hanging out to do.

Next we come to the two different types of crowds one sees at these late night viewings. You either have the fans or the masses.

The fans are folks that love the genre or the series of films (if it's part of a series) or just film in general. These people have a good time with the event and will even chat you up in line. These are some good folk who are here to join together in something we all like and have a passion for.

The masses are those people who came to see a movie cause they either had nothing else to do or they saw so many commercials on tv the weeks prior that they flock to the theater in some sort of herd mentality. These folks are usually loud and obnoxious because they don't give a rip about the movie or the people around them. They are there to kill time. I don't like these people. They kill the experience for me and everyone around them.

Oh yeah... the line etiquette...

If you are in line with a couple of your friends and a couple more show up and want in the line with you... let them in. It's not that big a deal. You're going to be saving seats for those folks anyway once you get in the theater so it's not like they are stealing someones seat. But if you are standing in line and a massive group of friends shows up and wants in... nope. Tell them to go to the back.

The same principal is true that you will be saving their seats when you get in anyway but the fact of the matter is that by having this mass squeeze into the line with you... things are going to get a little cramped not only for you but for those around you. Take other folks feeling into consideration.

But I dig the midnight showings. They hurt in the long run as I still have to wake up in the morning but all in all its a good time.

The unfortunate part is that I seem to be seeing a lot more crap at these showings than I used to.

3D War...

I went and peeped the newest entry into the 3D craze last night at the midnight showing of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. I liked the flick fine and had a good time watching it. The 3D looked good but not better or worse than all the other movies I have seen in the format over the last year or so. I'm a fan of the tech but I also don't compare it to the Second Coming, if you know what I mean.

But there is a war brewing out there on the internets over the massive push to have all the big movies in this 3D format. People are vocal over the fact they either hate or love it. With each new blockbuster we get a new wave of hate directed at the studios who they say are just trying to cash in on a gimmick. To this I say... Hollywood? Grabbing for cash? Say it isn't so!!!

Here are a few of the complaints...

IT'S STUPID - The worst of the complaints as it offers no information at all. This one comes mostly from the people who either haven't seen a movie in 3D recently or just truly have no idea how to verbalize a coherent thought.

IT'S BLURRY - True. Some of the backgrounds can be a bit blurry but that isn't due to the tech. It's added to the film to give a little depth perception. When you are focusing on a specific thing such as a character standing in a field then that person is clear as day but the scenery behind that person will be blurry because your eye is focused on the near object. Now in real life you can choose to look past the person standing in front of you and the scene behind them clears as you focus changes. But this is a movie and it just doesn't work like that.

IT'S JUST STUFF GETTING THROWN AT THE SCREEN - Again... these people either haven't been to a 3D film in a while or have been to only 3D horror movies like My Bloody Valentine or Final Destination. In those movies the makers are only concerned with throwing axes at the screen and hoping for a jump from the audience. Other films use it to enhance the visuals and depth to create a viewing experience that takes you into the film as a near participant rather than just a viewer.

IT'S TOO DARK - There are some that feel that the 3D glasses make the screen to dark and that when you take the glasses off during viewing you can see that the colors are much more vibrant. Duh. The people who do the 3D conversion color correct the film so that when wearing the dark lenses you are able to see the film as it was meant to look. This means they ramp up the brightness and colors. You put on the glasses and the lenses dim it down to how it's supposed to look. It's not rocket science. If you went to the 2D version of the same film it would look exactly the same. Just flatter.

The arguments are many and some of them can be written off as just plain ignorance but the tech does have it's flaws. Here's my thoughts on the biggest one...

I love seeing the movie in the theater with the 3D tech. It looks great and it's fun. But when I eventually buy the thing on DVD or Blu Ray I'm going to be getting the short end of the stick as that same 3D tech is not available at my house. Yes... there are 3D versions of these movies that come out but they are reduced to the old school format of the red and blue card board glasses. The colors are killed and the immersive experience is reduced to near nothing.
There is tech being developed to fix this but it isn't here yet and that's going to hurt when it comes time to grab my copy at the local store.

With all that said... I like 3D. I like that it's making the theater relevant again. People are wanting to see these flicks on the big screen and in the new format instead of waiting for DVD and a viewing in the comfort of your own home.

Is it a gimmick? Yes. But all film was a gimmick at some point in history.

Moving pictures? It'll never catch on.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Buying DVD's...

Buying movies is getting to be a hassle these days. I'm low on the spending cash but I'm wanting to get more and more flicks as the weeks progress. Luckily there is a video store closing nearby. That helps a little. It's a bummer that they are closing but I'm getting cheap movies out of the deal so I'm finding ways to cope.
I managed to grab all three of the Child's Play movies which was pretty sweet. I'm getting the other two "Chucky" movies as they were not good at all. I also picked up FX and FX2 which are sweet movies that I recommend if you haven't seen them. I also managed to grab the 80's remake of King Kong and it's sequel King Kong Lives. They were all pretty cheap and are all good for a weekend watch.
Heading over to Walmart scores me a couple movies as well as they are pretty good about having a flick or two worth having in the $5 bin. You just have to be careful as I almost grabbed a Full Screen version of Office Space. I shudder at the thought.
Walmart also has a nice little section of $10 BluRay movies. I've nabbed a few of those over the months and it's help my little collection grow to fill a whole shelf.
Where are you scoring cheap flicks?

Friday, February 26, 2010


With television on dvd being a main course of my viewing diet I have found a rather annoying side effect. Canceled shows. Sometimes I start getting through a season without knowing that the fate of the show is already written.

Usually there is the tale tell sign on the cover. Right on the box they declare that the packaging holds the complete series. That means that it's a dead show and buying and watching it is at your own risk. After all, you may end up really getting into the show and then it ends with a cliffhanger due to the makers not knowing that they wouldn't be coming back to finish the story.

Sometimes they try and trick you though. Instead of putting THE COMPLETE SERIES on the packaging they put SEASON ONE even though the show is canceled. So you think to yourself... I'll get it and catch up and when the new season starts I'll watch week by week. And then you find out that there will be no more show and it ended on that stupid cliffhanger and now you are a bitter tv watcher.

A lot of the shows that met their ends prematurely can be found on HULU which is good. You can watch the shows without having to worry about putting forth the cash on a show that will leave you wanting. This is a plus as I am poor.

This whole thing has happened to me many a time. So I leave you with this... a small list of shows that ended badly or wrapped up pretty good.

Dead Like Me - Lasted two seasons but the end isn't too bad. It works well as the last episode of the series. There are a few questions left up in the air but that's how it goes sometimes.

Journeyman - Not on DVD at this time but the last episode works well to wrap up the first season and the show. I really wanted more and to really get into the mythology they were beginning to set up but the writers strike killed this one.

Firefly - This one speaks for itself. An excellent series wrapped up well with a big budget movie.

Dark Angel - Killed too early. The series ends with the beginning of a massive change to the story and never comes back. Enter at your own risk.

Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - Four seasons but ends on a massive cliffhanger. Be prepared.

The Flash - Only played out for a season but is cliffhanger free and a good time.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I just got comfortable...

Know what I hate? I hate when I sit down to watch a movie, throw the blanket over my legs, get the snack and drink right where I want them, go to hit play on the remote... only to then notice I forgot to put my glasses on. So I throw the blanket off and find the glasses and put them on. I head back to the couch and get all ready again... only to have forgotten to turn off the lights I had switched on to find the glasses.

I seem to go through this dance a lot. You think I would be prepared or at least conscious of the fact that it happens more often than not to make sure I covered all the bases before getting comfy. But no. I never think of it until near the point of no return.

This afternoon as I sat to watch a flick the same thing happened but with the rare twist of the DVD that just doesn't want to be my friend. I sat and got all situated on the couch only to have to get up again and get the glasses I mentioned before. After all the up and down was finished I was watching the movie and getting into it. It's a cloudy gloomy day out and that's always good for a movie. I was relaxing and getting into that zen mood when the dumb movie stopped. Not turned off but froze up on a frame and didn't feel like going on.

Now in these situations I can usually stare at the screen for about ten seconds before I push the play button again on the remote in full understanding that it won't do a dang thing. The machine whirs and clicks as it tries to do what I have asked of it. It tries to work through the scratch or smudge that is keeping me from finding out if Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock really do love each other despite all their differences when I finally break down and get up. I head to the machine and get the DVD out to see what could be causing the problem. It's a little scratched but nothing that I can see would cause the issues. There is a little smudge so I clean the disk off a little and then put it back in the machine.

After a little menu surfing I manage to get back to the spot in the movie where the freeze up was and it plays perfectly through it. So I settle back onto the couch and recover the legs and get back into the mode of Film Zen I had been pulled out of. I'm finding out that good ol Sandy isn't the cold hearted witch she seems to be on the outside when I get another freeze.

This time I refused to get up and do the same song and dance as before and just hit the chapter skip button. I do a little rewinding (I know it's a DVD and thus cannot be "rewound" but who cares) and get to the spot right before the freeze occurred. Once again I have been disrupted but it has been fixed. The universe resumes it's slow spin and I once again get back into Film Zen.

But man... I really hate it when that happens. Don't you?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Film Class: The First Week

My first week in my first film class is over and done with. It's not at all what I expected the class to be but it is something I'm looking forward to sitting through week after week.

On the surface it's a film class in as much as we view movies and talk about them. But we really don't talk about the ins and outs of the movie making process. The whole class is designed to help you intelligently take the themes of a film apart and figure out what's going on behind the story. To find out what it's saying about the time period in which it was made and what was the writer or director trying to get across with the things they showed us.

It's a class to get you to look beyond just the visuals on the screen. It's not what I thought the class was when I signed up for it but it's something that I think every film buff needs to think about. I come across a lot of folks who can tell you about the smallest things in regards to the filming, the acting, and even the directing but sometimes they are clueless as to what the movie is really about. What is the story behind the story? Why did the creators feel the need to tell this story?

The first class was the usual intro to what we would be doing as the weeks numbered themselves. Papers will be written, tests taken, and movies watched. The class is going to be mostly focused on the "comedy" side of film. I mean that in the Greek idea of comedy. A story that doesn't end in a sad or low note. The other side of that would be Tragedy. The list of movies we will be handling is pretty interesting. The first one we are going to tackle is DAVE. A good flick I have seen before but it's been a while and I don't think I have ever looked into the deeper meaning of the flick so I look forward to the viewing.

All in all I think I'm going to have fun in the class and I think it will be challenging. I'll keep you guys up to date on how it goes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A New Year

We are flying through January of 2010 and I really want to know where my flying car and our moon colony are. Isn't this supposed to be the future now?

Anyway... we have a new year of films ahead of us and I'm excited for what's around the corner. And I mean right around the corner. Some of my most anticipated movies for the whole year seem to be popping up within the first three months of 2010 and that's a bit of a change from what we have seen in the past.

It's summer that usually brings all the awesome movies and then those are followed up with all the usual Oscar contenders in the last couple months of the year. But not this time around. Hollywood is stacking the front of the year with a lot of big budget flicks including The Wolf Man, Shutter Island, and The Book of Eli. I know a couple of these flicks were meant to come out at the end of 2009 but I would think pushing them out a couple more months to the beginning of the summer flood wouldn't have hurt business much.

Is the winter / spring season the new summer for the honchos in LA? It might be as we haven't seen this type of action in a long time. Not that I'm complaining but I hope they save a few good ones for the rest of the year as well.

And that brings me to my resolution for the year in regards to movie watching. I'm really going to try and see more recent movies as the year passes. I may not make it to the theater as much as I would like but I hope to see the new releases when they come out on DVD a lot sooner than I have been. I've slacked on that bad this last year. I got into a groove of watching documentary films and haven't seem to surfaced yet. I'm just now getting caught up on the Harry Potter movies. Two of those left to get through...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

25 Days of Christmas: Elf

Elf (2003)

"You sit on a throne of lies!" - Buddy

People kept telling me I had watch this flick. They said that it was one of the best Christmas movies out there. They said it was equal to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. They said that even though I wasn't a big fan of Will Farrell I would like him in this movie.

Well... they were wrong.

While it isn't a terrible movie it's not as great as they said it was. It's watchable. I won't watch it again, I don't think.

First off, it's Will Farrell doing the same thing he does in every comedy he makes. It's him being stupid and not noticing that he's being stupid. That shtick got old with me a long time ago. If there is more than that to this guy it's being suppressed by the big money making machine of Hollywood that says that if something makes us money then we need to keep doing that same thing over and over again till it stops making us money. That's Will Farrell... even in this movie.

The story is ok but a little silly. Actually... what little story there is, beyond the crutch of Buddy not knowing a thing, is really weak. We get surface level characters that give us the slightest hint of a personality and then we're back to Will Farrell not knowing something else. I would have liked to see more of him in the department store and interacting with the people there. I would have liked to see more between Buddy and the girl he falls for. But we get first date and then they have a family in less than thirty minutes. Plus... isn't he a little old for her? I didn't see chemistry there at all.

He gets brought into the family very quickly and everyone but his father loves him within minutes. The change of heart for James Caan is rather fast as well. This whole movie felt pretty rushed to me and that's probably due to there not being much there in the first place.

Like I said... it's not terrible but it's no where near the top of the list when it comes to Christmas movies.

Jingle All the Way is far superior to me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

25 Days of Christmas: An Update

Well... I tried. I had to skip a couple days and on top of the internet issues I was having this weekend I feel that my challenge has come to an end. I tried... and I failed.

I still have some reviews to post that I collected over the weekend and I will get those up tomorrow so it doesn't feel like a total loss. Sorry if I didn't get to a movie you were really looking forward to.

Coming up tomorrow... I finally watched Elf for the first time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

25 Days of Christmas: Day Sixteen

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

"You've been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you." - Clarence

I didn't see this movie until I was 22 years of age. I'm not sure why it never crossed my path before then. I was alone that Christmas. My wife was deployed away from me for six months and Christmas happened to fall in there at some point. I had been asked by a friend to come over to his house for Christmas dinner and to hang out a little before that and when he heard I had never seen the movie he put it on and made me watch it.

My first thought upon finishing the film was... that was a really long movie. But not in a bad way. I didn't know we would get to see so much of the life of George Bailey. I didn't know we would get to see his childhood and his young adult days. We traveled with him all the way to his marriage and into his gray hairs. It was a good trip. One that it took George a visit from an angel to see.

I knew the story. I had seen countless copies through out my life. Someone on the edge gets to see what the world would have been like if they had never been born. I remember Bevis and Butthead doing an episode like it and the angel was telling Bevis that maybe it was best if he really hadn't come into the world because it would have been a better place without him. An interesting twist.

I like the movie. It's not one I feel the need to watch every Christmas though. Maybe every couple of years here and there. It's not one I want to abuse and have it become another Christmas Story for me. I don't need another movie ruined by over exposure.

The acting is great in the flick but that's almost a given since we have Jimmy Stewart giving life to George Bailey. He is one of the most consistent actors that has ever graced the silver screen. It doesn't hurt that he is the star of my favorite flick, Rear Window, either.

I recommend seeing this one of you haven't already. You may have seen the ending all over the place or seen other versions of it but trust me. It's the journey George has to go on... not the destination that is important.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

25 Days of Christmas: Day 15

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

"Don't you know a kid always wins against two idiots?" - Kevin

Once again, Kevin is on his own. It's up to him to fight the bad guys and save Christmas for us all. Well, I guess it's not for all of us but it is for all the boys and girls that will be getting the cash the returning thieves are trying to get their hands on.

The family is heading to Miami for the holiday's and Kevin isn't too pleased with the situation. He wants to stay home where there are Christmas trees. It's a little silly but he's a young guy and the thought of no Christmas tree during Christmas is something that he just doesn't want to wrap his head around. So once again the family is late in getting to the airport and Kevin gets sidetracked and ends up on a plane to New York. Once there he finds himself alone and holding his dad's wallet with all his credit cards.

One hotel room at the Plaza later and Kevin is having a good old time riding in limos, visiting toy stores, and running into the two bumbling thieves from the first flick. Ok... that's not good times. But the ensuing chase and torture of the two thieves is fun.

It's pretty much the same movie as the first flick with Kevin in a different location. It's the same bad guys and nearly the same ending with Kevin loading up a house with home made booby traps designed to keep the baddies at bay. Once again he befriends a lonely older person that is scary at first but shown in the end to be a caring person who helps him out when he really needs it.

It's the same but I like it. The first movie has some charm to it that I enjoy and this one carries that same charm into the big city. I don't mind that it's a carbon copy much like the Teen Wolf movies. It was good the first time and it's good this time.

There are other movies in the series but none of them featured the original cast and characters and went straight to DVD or cable. I remember watching one of them once but I don't think it was any good and I'm not sure I made it through the whole movie. They managed to capture lighting in a bottle twice and that was the end of it.