cwfilmbuff: (movies)
I saw a lot of movies last year (and if I ever get around to tallying the last quarter I might know how many). I did not, however, see very many that were released in the last month and a half or so, when studios tend to put out their award-bait releases. I've been gradually catching up, but for the moment that means I'm not informed enough to confidently make predictions or pronouncements of what should/shouldn't be nominated. I can, however, list off a few things I would like to see:

FIrst and foremost, I really hope Andy Serkis gets an acting nomination (it was a lead role, but supporting is more likely). There are a lot of people saying it shouldn't count because it was motion capture, but the animation wouldn't be there without his performance. Especially when watching before and after footage, it's clear that every emotion you see in his character originates with him, not the animators.

Speaking of animation, I hope Rango and The Adventures of Tintin get nominated in that category. I think Tintin is the safer bet of the two, but those were the two best animated films I saw in 2011. I'd also be thrilled to see Winnie The Pooh up there, because it really was a great film, but I highly doubt that will happen.

I think at this point Melissa is a safe bet for supporting actress, but it would be great if Bridesmaids was up for screenplay too. Unlikely, but great.

The Muppets deserves to have at least one nod for original song. Either "Pictures in My Head" or "Man or Muppet".

Drive has a good shot at an editing nomination. Hannah probably doesn't, but I'd love to see it get one.

The Tree of Life for cinematography. It's a divisive movie, people ever loved it or found it too pretentious, but Emmanuel Lubezki did some of the best work of his career (and it's a career full of amazing work).

Pixar put out a bunch of short films this year, and I suspect at least one of them will get nominated (if nothing else to make up for the fact that they won't be up for feature for the first time in recent memory). As fun as their shorts were, I enjoyed The Ballad of Nessie more than any of them, and hope it gets recognized.

That's all I'm coming up with tonight. I suspect tomorrow morning I'll have a few more thoughts and a long list of movies to see before the end of February.
cwfilmbuff: (filmmaker)
I'm not big on New Years resolutions. Every year I say I want the next year to be better, but that doesn't have much to do with when we switch calendars, I just like the idea of life consistently improving.

But yesterday I was watching a youtube video of [livejournal.com profile] esyla performing an original song, after which she plugged her band's kickstarter, which got me thinking.

I watch a lot of movies. Between tickets and blurays I think it's safe to say I spend a good portion of my disposable income on film in specific and entertainment in general. There are a lot of people I know who work on independent creative projects, be it movies, music, artwork, writing, crafts, comics, etc. There are even more people whose work I enjoy because they share it online for free. So I just put two and two together.

My official, quantifiable, resolution for 2012 is this: With each paycheck I will support an independent artist.

This will include my friends, but not be limited to them, or even people I know. I will just find someone whose work I like and make sure a few of my dollars go their way. I was planning on starting with the kickstarter I linked above, but amazon's got some problem with my account and won't let me pledge at the moment. That's OK, there will be more paychecks between now and March.

So instead I used part of my first check of the year to buy a solo project by one of the band's members: Nothing is Ruined by Aaron J. Shay.

Oh, that's another part of it. Since so many of these people depend largely on word-of-mouth, I'm going to post recommendations when I find something really good. I listened to Nothing is Ruined on my way to work tonight, and it definitely qualifies as really good (especially Ragnarök Song). You don't have to take my word for it, you can click on the link and listen to the tracks for free if you like. And if you want to buy a digital copy, you can name your price for as low as $1 for the whole thing (or as low as $5 for a physical CD, and you still get the digital copies to listen to while you wait for shipping).

So in summary, going to be making an effort to support independent creative types, and when I find a good one I'll tell you about it. It's going to be a good year.
cwfilmbuff: (Default)
People who celebrated birthdays yesterday, November 29:
Louisa May Alcott
C. S. Lewis
Joel Coen
Don Cheadle
& Zelda Grace Ward



11:48am, 8 pounds 2 ounces, 20.5 inches, and in perfect health.
cwfilmbuff: (filmmaker)
Meg and I just shot the first of a planned series of videos for Denver Cake Ninja. Shooting went smoothly, even if it tok a little longer than expected. I hope to have it edited in the next week or two (working around work & class schedules), then it can go up online and we can start on the next one.

The fun part will be making future installments look as good. The raw footage from this is being turned in as a class assignment, so I got to use the school's HD camera, light kit, and lav mic. Shooting on my SD camera with available light and internal audio is going to have a slightly different look, but unless this starts turning a profit I don't have the disposable income to upgrade all my equipment just yet.
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
Devil in a Blue Dress )

Rise of the Planet of the Apes )

The Guard )

Drive )

Beauty and the Beast )

101 Dalmations )

The Searchers )

50/50 )

That gets me caught up through September. Now to see how many horror movies I can knock off my queue in October.
cwfilmbuff: (AudreyKatharine)
Three years ago:


Three days ago:


Happy birthday to my wonderful daughter.
cwfilmbuff: (filmmaker)
Tonight Boulder Outdoor Cinema is showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Which is reason enough to go, but as an added bonus there's a preshow with live music and the world premiere of "Lucha Libre!- El Tecolote vs the Body Thief from Dimension X, an upcoming web series shot here in Denver and featuring the stars of Lucha Libre Colorado (and cinematography by [livejournal.com profile] filmbuff).

So make the drive to Boulder (unless you're already there, then just make a slightly shorter drive), pay the outrageous price of $5 for several hours of great entertainment, and have a damn good Saturday night!
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
Movie 77: Slap Shot
How have I been a fan of both hockey and movies for so long without having seen this movie? Very fun, especially Paul Newman's performance. It didn't seem like his typical role, but he definitely embraced the part and made his character someone you wanted to cheer for, even when he's being less than scrupulous with everyone around him.

Movie 78: 1984
Every time I watch this I'm impressed at what a solid adaptation it is. The movie's not slavishly devoted to the novel, but it sticks close enough to get Orwell's points across. Often there are atmospheric touches that manage in a few seconds to illustrate an idea that took multiple pages of text.

Movie 79: Captain America: The First Avenger
For a movie that has "The First Avenger" in the title, this felt more like its own movie than most of the recent Marvel films (Iron Man 2 especially felt like thin story strung between character introductions for next year's Avengers). It was a lot like watching an old WWII movie, the only difference being that the main character happened to have super powers. Within the parameters of the comic book world it was set in the movie managed to portray war realistically - Captain American couldn't save everyone, people still die in battle, but on the other hand he wasn't the only one getting anything done. So often in superhero movies there's the hero and then there's everyone else waiting around to get saved. Here the soldiers he's fighting along side hold their own, often more impressively than the hero, since they aren't genetically enhanced. A very entertaining movie, and the first one that, based on watching it, actually has me interested in seeing Avengers next year.
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
There's a lot of them.

X-Men: First Class )

Midnight in Paris )

Super 8 )

Kung Fu Panda 2 )

Cars 2 )

Toy Story 2 )

The Thing )

Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party )

The Tree of Life )

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop )

Wet Hot American Summer )

The Last House on the Left )

Escape From New York )

Batman: Under the Red Hood )

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 )

Maybe if I updated this thing more often I wouldn't have to rack my brain (and netflix activity) to remember what I'd been watching.

Less of me

Jul. 1st, 2011 03:31 pm
cwfilmbuff: (Default)
As cliched as it sounds, Meg and I started the new year by resolving to take better care of ourselves. Eating better, exercising more, etc.

Six months later I'm 48 pounds lighter, I regularly feel better, I like what I see in the mirror more than I did last year, and I find myself needing new clothes - most of what I own is at least a size too big.

It's bizarre how accustomed to these habits I've gotten. I can count on my fingers the number of times I've had a soda or cheeseburger in 2011, things that used to be daily staples in my diet. I rarely, if ever, get popcorn when I go to a movie. And I don't really miss any of it. Heck, it's not uncommon for a salad to be a satisfying meal for me - something practically unheard of not too long ago.

I've been cycling too. A couple short to medium rides during the week and a long ride on Fridays, the length of which I increase each week. Today I rode more than 50 miles; last time I did that it was an accident (misread the distance on the map), it took almost twice as long, and it required several rest breaks throughout the day. Today my legs are a little sore, but otherwise I feel fine, like I could have gone even longer.

I realize this is just a lot of me bragging, but it's so unprecedented for me to maintain good habits for a significant amount of time that I want to make a note of it. So I can come back here at any time and say "Hey, look what I can do when I set a goal and stick to it."

Now I want to see what the next six months bring.
cwfilmbuff: (bike)
We have three rules for our daughter: Be kind, be safe, and be honest. So as not to be hypocritical (and so she can't use us as an excuse), we try to keep to those rules ourselves, even when she's not around.

Therefore, although it would have been an honest expression of my opinion, it would have been neither kind nor safe to ride my bike one-handed past the Coors brewery while the other hand extended a middle finger.
cwfilmbuff: (bike)
It was 35 miles, and the farthest I'd ridden so far this year was 20. But it's not the miles that I'm feeling (and will continue feeling for a couple days, I suspect).

There's a pare of the South Platte River Trail just south of Elitch's where the trail is bordered by some brickwork. It looks nice, and in a pinch you can ride on it, effectively making the trail that much wider. I was doing just that, going around a branch on the trail, when I discovered something interesting: there's a gap between the bricks and the trail proper almost exactly the width of my front wheel.

I discovered this when said wheel got lodged in the gap, coming to a sudden stop. The bike (and, incidentally, its rider) continued to rotate in relation to the now-stationary front wheel, and I ended up face down on the pavement. My longest ride of the year so far came with my first injuries of the year.

Nothing major - some scraped up knees and elbows that looked a little better after rinsing them with a water bottle and a lot better after a shower, but all my limbs and chest are going to be feeling the effects for the next few days. As for my bike: one punctured tube (that I had just replaced this morning), a bent water bottle cage, and my front wheel probably needs some attention. It was definitely rideable, but I'll probably want to take it by Salvagetti next week to get a more knowledgeable second opinion.

Thankfully I was already planning on having a nice relaxing weekend with the family (who will be back in town after a weekend in Massachusetts and Ft. Collins).
cwfilmbuff: (Baby!)


It won't be accurate until at least late November, but we let her try it on early.
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
Remember when I said was going to keep track of the movies I saw this year, then didn't write about any for two months straight? Well as hard as it will be to believe for anyone who's met me, I didn't actually go two months without watching a movie. But I want to get to the one I saw this afternoon, so here's a shortened version of what I've watched since March:

Movie 53: Source Code
Not on par with Moon, but between the two films Duncan Jones is definitely a director whose work I will seek out. Some of the most thoughtful sci-fi being made today.

Movie 54: The Tin Drum
Watched this for a paper in my Communication Law class. I'd seen it before, and liked it then, but was so young I completely missed the allegory for the effects of WWII on the citizens of Germany. Not that it was a big part of the movie or anything, just the ENTIRE PLOT.

Movie 55: Banned in Oklahoma
Documentary about the legal controversy stirred up in Oklahoma when a judge labeled it obscene almost 20 years after its release. Even though I agree with the stance the filmmakers took, I would have liked to have seen a less one-sided take on the issue.

Movie 56: Super
This is the movie last year's Kick-Ass wants to be when it grows up, an dark examination of what real-world masked crime fighters would be like that doesn't turn into a generic comic book movie in the third act.

Movie 57: Hanna
Thoroughly entertaining action movie that succeeds because it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is: a fun brain-under-the-seat movie.

Movie 58: Monsters
Impressive monster movie done on a shoestring budget, but the middle drags a little.

Movie 59: Enter the Void
Gaspar Noé really likes tracking shots and strobe effects. Not as disturbing as Irreversible, but also not as interesting or effective.

Movie 60: Bridesmaids
It needed some editing - there are scenes that go a little too long and hurt the pacing - but it's still the funniest movie I've seen all year.

Movie 61: 13 Assassins
This is the one that inspired me to get back to writing about movies as I see them. 13 Assassins currently holds the title for best movie I've seen this year. It stays true to its samurai movie roots (comparisons to The Seven Samurai are all but inevitable) while never seeming old fashioned or outdated. There are a few definite Takashi Miike touches, but the violence and bloodshed are surprisingly toned down compared to his other films. The first two acts could have easily felt like they were just there to set up the finale, but the characters and situations are so well developed that it's almost as interesting as a political drama as it is an action movie. But as good as the first two thirds of the film are, the real reason to see this is the battle at the end, where the titular assassins face off against an army. It goes from extremely fun action to gritty realism to high drama in turns, and every tonal shift is perfectly timed and executed. If you enjoy a good samurai movie (or a good western, since the two genres borrow so heavily from each other), I highly, highly recommend seeking this one out.
cwfilmbuff: (bike)
So it's mid-May, the weather is (theoretically) getting nicer, and my semester is over. Because I've been making a conscious effort to exercise more (and because there's only so many times one can play through Portal 2), I decided that meant it was time to fix up the bike and get riding.

Read more... )

My original goal for the year was to work up to at least a metric century by the end of summer. Now it's to complete one ride without something on the bike breaking. I really hope it's an attainable objective.
cwfilmbuff: (Default)
Now that my sister's subtly announced it on her blog, I can finally share one of the best pieces of news I've received all year.

I'm going to be an uncle!

It may take some work being as good an uncle as my brother-in-law has been to Audrey, but I think I can pull it off. If nothing else I can be cool uncle Chris who has all the movies at his house. I'm not above bribing nieces or nephews with entertainment.
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
Movie 49: Four Lions
I heard/read a lot of reviews saying this was an entertaining comedy despite it's subject matter, and decided to give it a try. Turns out I have trouble finding suicide bombers funny. There are humorous bits, especially in the first half where the movie concentrates on the ineptitude of these would-be terrorists, but the rest of the movie, the last half hour especially, plays out like an exercise in bad taste with little to redeem itself.

Movie 50: Paul
Watching this I was happy to see that Simon Pegg's writing holds up without Edgar Wright's direction. Greg Mottola does a fine job directing, but the screenplay by Pegg and Nick Frost is the reason to see this movie. Funny, smart, and loaded with references to sci-fi movies of the 70s and 80s, this is a movie written for people who grew up on the likes of Star Wars and Alien. It's not on the same level as Shaun of the Dead, but I got more of the inside jokes and was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

Movie 51: Ink
It's a little too stylized, there are plot elements that aren't explained well enough, and it's 30 minutes in before there's a clear story to follow, but it's still fun to watch and nice to see something shot in Denver get a decent national, if direct to DVD, release. And while there's flashy effects used when they're not needed, when the visuals work, they really work. Especially striking is a sequence building up to the climax, where we see two perspectives of the same event edited together in a way that makes them both more exciting. The "I've worked with that guy" factor was an added bonus.

Movie 52: American Grindhouse
An interesting documentary that uses "grindhouse" to classify any exploitation cinema. I think that's casting a little too wide of a net, but as a look at the history of the genre it did a good job highlighting important films going back to the silent era and providing a context for how and why these movies were made.
cwfilmbuff: (movies)
Movie 46: Rango
The story's a little thin at times (especially the parts not taken directly from Chinatown), but the animation, humor, characters, and movie references more than make up for it. Very entertaining from start to finish.

Movie 47: Easy A
I was curious about this but missed it in theaters last year. It was funnier than the marketing made it look, and Emma Stone consistently gives strong performances, but the writing is clumsy in its attempts to make a light teen comedy about topics including prostitution, adultery, and sexual assault. Taken more seriously it could have worked well, but as it was it didn't quite work.

Movie 48: The Killer Inside Me
A standard noir detective story told from the killer's point of view. Casey Affleck gives one of his best performances as the affable sociopath, and the movie has a lot of great scenes. Unfortunately they're too far apart and everything in between tend to drag. With some tighter editing and about 20 fewer minutes this would have been excellent; instead it's got a lot going for it but not enough to work as a whole.

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Chris

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