Film NoiARRRRR excerpt

Yo Ho

NoiARRRRR, my film noir/pirate/buddy cop mashup film, has hit a snag: I’ve been too busy with this semester to plan out the entire thing, and it needs to be filmed by the end of this month. There’s not much time. It’s looking likely that I’ll have to rewrite the thing into a spoof trailer, rather than an actual film, and try to get that shot.

Regardless, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give you the first scene. Here’s the excerpt.

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Film Review: Pacific Rim

PacRim

Pacific Rim is a should be a classic example of the best of the ’10s films in a few decades. It probably won’t be, since it didn’t have terrific box office returns. But it exemplifies everything a big summer movie should be: great action scenes, naturally, but also fun characters, teamwork, an easy-to-follow but still gripping plot, and a sense of high stakes. In short, it’s a fun time. Continue reading

Film Review: Furious 6

fast-6-cast

Furious 6, the sixth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, does what The Lone Ranger refused to do: it creates heroes who unironically stand for the right thing, all the time. It also proves that a such a moral-driven movie can still be a lot of fun. Albeit by ditching reality for a ton of big action.

The plot doesn’t make a lot of sense. But there are a ton of cars.

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Film review: Point Break

All that trouble to become president just so these guys can make fun of you.

Actions films aren’t really serious cinema, any more than westerns and romances are serious literature. I’m not knocking any of them, just saying that the genres in general demand such titillation that they crowd out that other stuff like drawing the audience’s empathy through setting a believable stage for the tale. Some action films, like the first Die Hard, are well-written enough to rise about their genre. Point Break doesn’t. That said, it’s still a lot more fun than a generic action flick, since there’s so much love in it. It’s one of the best of the 80s and 90s action movies, full of the kind of creativity and fun that distinguish it from the far more soulless action movies we get nowadays.

The film continues the proud tradition of cheap 80s action movies — the so-broad-it’s-vague title, the poorly paired law officers who learn to appreciate each other, the surly boss, the charmingly fake blood — and mixes in one vital element that keeps the whole thing fresh: an obsession with surfing. It’s not just about surfers, it’s about Keanu Reeves’ special agent Johnny Utah unexpectedly gaining a love of surfing while tracking down bank-robbing surfers just as obsessed with it, ending as he quits the force. Scenic shots of the surf start the film, end the film, and show up a ton in between: we’re meant to love surfing just as much as our heroes. Since the film gives itself over so much to Patrick Swayze’s character’s notions of surfing as a way of life, it’s possible for a viewer to get just as swept up.

The supporting actors give the movie a lot, too: Gary Busey is cranky and unhealthy as Utah’s partner, and John C. McGinley makes a particularly sarcastic surly boss. Lori Petty has an entertaining voice. The sense of fun about the film is inherent in the script, with a scene where Keanu gets a sandwich while on a stakeout and manages to miss a bank robbery looking like something out of a straight comedy. I was further amused that the fact that one of the bank robbers enjoys mooning people turned out to be a major plot point, played for drama. Add the sky diving and the fact that the robbers use rubbery caricatured masks of formers presidents and call themselves “the Ex-Presidents,” and you have a quirky, genre-bending action-thriller-extreme sports film. It might not be timeless, but if you enjoy action films, it’s up there.

point-break-skydive.

Film Review: The Three Musketeers (2011)

 THE THREE MUSKETEERS

The Three Musketeers is reminiscent of The Prince of Persia: there’s more action than plot, and no one really cares about the alleged time period the film is set in. In this case, the period is 17th Century Europe, and the plot is that the musketeers must stop the French Cardinal’s schemes to provoke a war, blah blah blah, there’s a fight on a couple airships. With explosions.

If you like mindless action movies, you’ll probably like this one, but don’t hold out any hope for character development or dialogue.

Athos quotes a line from The Princess Bride (the “anyone who says otherwise is selling something” one); the Duke of Buckingham quotes Sherlock Holmes with “the game is afoot”; and the King of France even drops one of the most famous movie lines ever when he calls the musketeers the “usual suspects.” Blatant references to movies that won’t exist for another two hundred years are anachronisms, and unlike the airships, they aren’t even cool ones.

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Looking and Leaping

Today I’ve got a special treat! I’m actually posting about my life, rather than reviewing something. Surprise. You have last semester’s class to thank: this is an assignment in which I had ten minutes to write an anecdote about my family.

That's a stairway, all right.

Everyone in my family uses eye correction. All eight of us. Sixteen, if you count individual eyes. My youngest sibling, Isaac, was one of the last to be diagnosed, and also underwent the most dramatic change as a result.

Isaac, my other brother Eric, and I all enjoyed jumping down stairs as kids, and Isaac would always launch himself gleefully down the entire carpeted flight with abandon, covering 12 steps in one leap despite being half as big as I was. When Isaac got glasses at age 7, this practice stopped. He abandoned his abandon.

Once Isaac saw his path a little more clearly, even though he has always brushed himself off after every past jump, he chose to play it safe. I’m not sure if there is a pat moral to this story, really. He may have missed out on something he considered beyond his ability, but to be honest it probably was. I mean, that sort of jumping can give you a lot of joint problems later in life.