Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Battle Los Angeles [2011]

Essentially, BLACK HAWK DOWN meets an alien invasion. We follow a group of marines into the war zone - to rescue refugees hiding in a police station before Santa Monica is bombed to stop the alien invasion.

It was pretty good – though some of the action was incomprehensible because of the shaky cam – but you’ve got to use the camera to do that in modern intense war movies these days (I guess). I wish they would use camera angles and lighting to create that suspense rather than shake the camera all around leaving the audience more confused and disoriented than the marines. The smoke from the city burning was good enough to create tension and confusion with the audience – the shaking of the camera was just unneeded cheap tricks.

Aaron Eckhart was excellent in the “I’m one day from retirement” marine role and his subplot was interesting – lent enough depth to his role. The rest of the cast did their job – by staying in formation, shooting, panting, running, dying and stuff – standard stuff – don’t need to be an acting genius in a film like this. The action that you could make out was great – the aliens were interesting, there were some stunning visuals of the destruction of Los Angeles and I liked that the 24-hour news cycle was still going trying to fill in cracks with speculation about the invasion. Overall – it was fun – it wasn’t dumb – it was exactly what it advertised itself to be – a “get what you pay for” action war alien movie.

What I think I really liked - was there was so much noise and explosions happening in the background that they can take this one incident and expand it to be a franchise but different squads - different parts of town - different characters... Just show different aspects of the same attack.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The French Connection - Blu-Ray

After typing this up – it’s more a product review than a movie review – so you’ll be warned.

I liked the movie quite a bit – but the blu-ray print was so awful that it seriously detracted from the film in such a way that I’m left thinking about the digital noise more than the story. Apparently the director added digital fuzz and filters to lend the film a grittier look for the blu-ray – which distracted me quite a bit. There was a scene where they were tailing someone – and they showed a shot outside their window and it was so fuzzy and grainy it took me right out of the moment. Then another scene where Popeye was across the street from his tail and he clapped his hands together – and they showed a close-up of that – and it looked like a big gray and black grainy mess – and I had to sit and think what that was all about. I couldn’t tell you about how the color filters affected the film – because it was my first viewing – but I almost felt like I was watching a bootlegged VHS copy it was so dark and ugly.

This is not how you release a “classic” on any format – it was pathetic. I don’t care if you want your film to have a different look – it’s a slap in the face of all the people who worked on the film – who have watched it and hold it up as a classic and even first time watchers who don’t want to see a bunch of disgusting digital fuzz and just watch what everyone keeps talking about. Put your fucking Ego away – and make a different film with all the elements you wanted – and leave the original alone.

The film was really interesting though – I loved that car chase under the elevated-train – that was intense – it’s exactly what action movies don’t have these days. I liked that 70’s cop movie feel that just kind of leaves you scratching your head and wondering about it all.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Would You Have Me Do?

Hey everybody, as you could probably tell – my blog has been on hiatus since ending the ABC DVD collection challenge. I decided to take a break because I really haven’t been watching as many movies and my Director’s Roulette game kind of fell apart. I wasn’t really intending to blog for the remainder of the month but something has kind of grabbed me and shook me into feeling the need for a post.

That thing is Netflix.

My blog kind of runs on Netflix – as their wide selection of titles lets me jump all over the genre maps to find interesting things to blog about. Netflix has decided from a business point of view to push people into streaming their movies by putting in 60% price increases on DVD rentals. As angry as this makes me – I get it - it makes sense for a business cost perspective (and if it’s one thing I have grown to appreciate in my job – it is costs and margins).

A while ago – I posted about how their prices were too high for the usage I was getting out of them and that I wasn’t watching the films on my shelves as much anymore – so I cut back. Now, with the prices going up yet again – and me worrying about cutting my personal costs – I’ve decided that I once again need to cut back because it doesn’t make sense to keep paying higher prices for the exact same services.

I was comfortable with cutting back to just streaming movies to my Wii or XBOX - until last night. I went through my queues and found that on my streaming list I had roughly 110 movies that I was interested in that are available to stream – and then I cut all those off my DVD queue and I still had nearly 325 films on that DVD queue that I was going to part ways with.

Gone were all the Jess Franco films – save one. Gone were all the Italian and early American exploitation films. Gone were some classic films that I had really wanted to catch up to such as; Once Upon a Time in the West, Gold Rush, City Lights, Vertigo, Notorious, all the old Universal monster movies, Solaris, The Seventh Seal, almost every Akira Kurosawa film, Broadcast News, Videodrome… And new releases? You can forget those too! So, all the summer movies I said I’d wait until the DVD – can’t rent them anymore either.

My selection of the unique and interesting films that I’m drawn to has dwindled down to nearly nothing. This will in effect ruin the way that I blog – unless I want to pay the premium for having movies delivered to me – which is bullshit.

I have a passion for used DVD shops – and I could set my budget to go out and get a few titles every month and effectively save money – but I’m at the mercy of finding interesting titles to purchase. I’m also not keen on adding more to my library – but that could get me back into the internet swapping community – which has netted me far more interesting titles than I have been able to find at the stores.

Just because Netflix beat Blockbuster doesn’t mean they get to steal Blockbuster’s old company philosophy and jack up the prices at will and mistreat their core customers by putting fees on everything. If history has shown us anything in business the consumer remembers when a company habitually mistreats their customers – and when a young upstart with a fresh face comes in and starts treating the consumer better – there will be no sympathy for the giant who’s suddenly crying out.

Just ask Blockbuster.

Oh wait… You can’t…

Friday, July 8, 2011

The End

It’s over! I can’t believe that it’s over! 27 weeks just flew by! It’s been by far my most heralded and controversial series of entries – either the critics have applauded my use of the alphabet – or trashed me for my lack of any rhyme or reason to how I posted the alphabet.

I do certain things my own way here on this blog – and I’m sorry if the way I chose to use the alphabet in my entries didn’t jive with you. Maybe you’re just not ready to appreciate my groundbreaking movie blog.

Because I can’t juice this series any further – it’s time to give a small commentary track to the series. It will probably be considered just as controversial – but like I said many times before: That’s what makes me to greatest movie blogger on the internet.

The hardest letter to do was Q – I had only had one Q movie in my collection for the longest time QUILLS – until I traded it! Then one Black Friday super deal came along and I picked up the two new Bond films – I did not like CASINO ROYALE the first time I watched it and hadn’t seen QUANTUM OF SOLACE – but I was bored – they were a couple bucks and I wanted some silly action films to watch. Which still only left me with one Q film in my collection – not that QUIET EARTH had not bounced in and out of my Amazon shopping cart for the past year or so. When I finally decided that I was finally going to purchase it – and it went out of print and used copies were suddenly $30!! I looked for it everywhere for a copy hoping any used movie store I ran into might have an odd copy. I even considered other Q films – none of which were ones I felt I MUST have in my collection – not like QUIET EARTH. So, I kept scoping used prices on Amazon until one day someone posted a like new copy for a reasonable amount – and I snapped it up! Luckily for me – they came through and the copy is pristine!

K, Y and Z were also unfortunate letters to deal with – again having had several titles with those letters at some point – my last collection purge lost me my second titles. I went through the closet and found an odd box full of titles, dug through my cult film box sets and rediscovered a film I had been fascinated with but hadn’t watched in forever.

I wrote out all the titles fairly soon after I decided to do this – but you’d be surprised how many last second (and literally – it would be seconds before the post) – titles were switched out.

With the local Blockbuster closing – I picked up a ton of new titles that could’ve made a few of the letters easier. There was also my discovery of Half-Priced Books – and another local used book/movie/cd store in the area – that I stumbled upon a gift card for. Those two stores added quite a few interesting titles to my collection – and was also a great place to ditch a few stale titles – which could’ve altered my project quite a bit.

Well, that’s a small glimpse of my movie collection – if you want to stop by for a viewing you’re welcomed to.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Z is for... [part 2]

If there's been a zombie apocalypse and you're road-tripping alone though the wasteland, you could do worse than run into Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a bourbon-swilling bad-boy butt-kicker with a really cool car. This is where the careful hero of Zombieland, a kid nicknamed Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), finds himself early in the film, and you can hardly blame him for hitching a ride with this swaggering Alpha Male. Still, they have their hands full not only with gibbering zombies but also with two sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin) who will stop at nothing to reach a Disneyland-like amusement park in L.A. Although Zombieland gets off to a rocky start with Columbus's overly-cute narration (he's got a list of rules for surviving in the zombie world), it settles into an amusing comedy, regularly interrupted by bouts of blood-letting. The road-trip stuff is enough fun that when the movie does arrive at its version of Disneyland, the air goes out of it a little; sure, there's a giant zombie blowout, with entrails flying, but it's not quite the same. Director Ruben Fleischer keeps the gags coming, although the movie is often funnier in its odd little asides (both Eisenberg and Harrelson are expert at this) than in its official jokes. Comic high point: an interlude at the home of a very famous movie star, who plays himself--and we'll leave the spoiler unspoiled, in case anybody hasn't heard about this funny extended cameo. (synopsis provided by

released 2009

directed by Ruben Fleischer

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Z is for...

Closer in spirit to a police procedural than a gory serial-killer flick, David Fincher's Zodiac provides a sleek, armrest-gripping re-invention of the crime film. It surveys the investigation of the Zodiac killings that terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late -60-early -70s; Zodiac not only killed people, but cultivated a Jack the Ripper aura by sending icky letters to the newspapers and daring readers to solve coded messages. But the film's focus isn't on the killer. We follow the reporters and detectives whose lives are taken over by the case, notably an addictive crime writer (a sartorially splendid Robert Downey Jr.), an awkward editorial cartoonist (Jake Gyllenhaal), and a hard-working cop (Mark Ruffalo). Fincher and his brilliant cinematographer Harris Savides are deft at capturing the period feel of the city, without laying on the seventies kitsch, and James Vanderbilt's script doles out its big moments to major and minor characters alike. Fincher's confidence is infectious; the movie glides through its myriad details with such dexterity that even the blind alleys and red herrings seem essential. The well-chosen cast includes unexpected people popping up all over: Anthony Edwards as a lunch-bucket homicide cop; Charles Fleischer as a mysterious suspect; Elias Koteas and Donal Logue as small-town policemen whose districts are hit by Zodiac; Chloe Sevigny as Gyllenhaal's sweet-natured wife; Brian Cox as the media-friendly lawyer Melvin Belli, so famous he once appeared on Star Trek; and the mighty John Carroll Lynch, as a supremely creepy suspect. The film is based on non-fiction books by Robert Graysmith (he's portrayed by Gyllenhaal), although Fincher and co. did extensive research on their own. The result is a propulsive whodunit without (thus far) an ending, but the uncertainty makes the film even more intriguing. (synopsis provided by

released 2007

directed by David Fincher

Monday, July 4, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last DJ

If there should be a day where I am not posting anymore – and you hear the dreadful news of famed blogger cblaze has been brutally murdered – I just want to let everyone know; the Terminator did it.

You know when you realize that you are destined for great things? Of course you don’t. Well, let me tell you it’s a great feeling! Not only was I destined to write the most popular movie blog on the planet – but I’m also going to be the leader of the resistance against the robot army of Apple in the future. I know you’re used to the story about it being Skynet – and it’s cute that you all believe that – but are you not paying attention to Apple?

Anyway – much like the Terminator did in the first movie – it’s going through the phone book searching me out and trying to terminate me – but in these modern times he’s Googling me. What I’ve got going for me though – is my DJ decoy out in South Carolina (yes, someone stole my handle and is DJ’ing under it – but unfortunately for the DJ – it’s my birthright – not just something that I came up with that sounds cool).

Sometimes, I wonder if my blog traffic is coming mostly from fans of this DJ? I also wonder if this DJ is getting questions regarding what I post on my blog? Since the hits on Ewan McGregor are out of control on my movie blog – I wonder if he has a connection to Ewan that’s crossing lines with my existence.

I wish this DJ all the luck in the world – I hope he can live up to the fame that I have already established for my name – but he’ll also sadly be bait for the Terminator.