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Lord Schitsdain "The sage of rage" RSS Feed (Arizona, USA)

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Train To Stockholm
Train To Stockholm
Price: $1.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless waste of time., November 24, 2013
This film was like watching someone's boring home movie. Nothing worthwhile ever happened, and the dialog all felt unscripted and banal. Finally gave up about half way through when it became obvious the glowing reviews were by the film crew and their families. I wouldn't normally review a film without finishing it, but someone needs to lower the rating on this garbage. At least it was free with Prime, but still a waste of time. Most of the film was extreme closeups with a shaky handheld where the widescreen presentation is wasted on a nose or ear, maybe even half a face. I was hoping for better cinematography and some nice landscape shots, but there were so many close ups, it seemed like it was being shot in a phone booth. Skip this one.

Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature-Length Film - Without A Crew - For $10,000 Or Less
Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature-Length Film - Without A Crew - For $10,000 Or Less
by Mike Carroll
Edition: Paperback
3 used & new from $32.87

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One man's journey, September 11, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When a new book comes out, I feel the rating can be a little skewed due to the number of the author's friends that log on to leave glowing 5 star reviews, so I will attempt a less biased review of this book. The first thing that I noticed upon opening the book is how much it reminded me of a home improvement book I have that was published in the sixties. The paper stock is yellowish and the photos are much too small and of poor quality. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these photos add up to virtually nothing. The guy is a filmmaker, not a graphic designer, so I accepted that it wasn't an illustrated guide with glossy full color photos, but it could still contain valuable information. I found it pretty enjoyable once I started reading it as it related his background and the work that went into making his two feature films. He discussed all aspects of the process in a logical order, so it was easy to follow the process. He covered all the bases, but it could have been more comprehensive. The book isn't titled "Everything you'd ever want to know..." so it's not really a problem as long as you realize it's mainly about his personal workflow on his films with general info that will work for everybody most of the time.

This book most closely resembled Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without a Crew" which was a fascinating story, but not really a "how to" book. I'm always amazed when people recommend that book as being the only thing you need to read to make a movie. Rodriguez's method for capturing sound would sink most movies all by itself, so it's not exactly sound advice, no pun intended. This book is actually more helpful in explaining the processes involved start to finish, but it's still pretty autobiographical. I guess it's a nice balance of one man's story and practical advice. If you are just starting out, there is some good info to be had, but alot of it is common sense. If you are just starting out, you really have no business attempting a feature length film right out of the blocks, and after making a number of shorts, most of this info will already be in your bag of tricks. The author did persuade me to look into lav mics as my next purchase rather than a better shotgun mic. He states that most dialog in Hollywood productions is captured with lavs and the shotgun is capturing mostly location sound. Beginners on a budget will make do with the shotgun, but I think he's convinced me it's time to invest in lavs and a zoom H4N.

The most interesting part of the book for me was actually the discussion of entering film festivals, which is odd since I am a realist and have no visions of Cannes dancing in my head, but it may be an eye opener for some. The author states that there were 9000 entries for Sundance in 2008, so it's stiff competition out there if you are in it for the money. He describes what is needed in your press kit and ways to promote your film. He emphasizes having a website, registering your name, dvd distribution as well as electronic downloads to generate sales. What would be nice to know is how effective all this effort has been for him. I know it's tacky to talk finances, but after spending thousands of hours writing, shooting, editing, travelling and promoting, updating your website, designing packaging and dealing with sales, is there enough financial reward to make it worthwhile for most people? Maybe that info would tend to thin the herd a little bit.

It got a little tiresome hearing about "Year", "Nightbeats", and the author's love affair with a film called "Wonderland". I've never seen any of these films, so I had no frame of reference for any of the citations. I will try to watch them in the future, even though they don't sound very interesting. A spanish language action film isn't my cup of tea either, but I bought a copy of El Mariachi to see the final product. I love the passion of filmmakers that can give us Eraserhead, El Mariachi, Primer, and Ink with their own talent and finances. It's amazing that Hollywood can spend $50 million and have a box office bomb. What's more amazing is that filmmakers like the author can Macgyver together a feature film, or two, on their own dime. That's a huge accomplishment, regardless of box office success, so my hat is off to the author for his films and book.

Final Draft
Final Draft
DVD ~ James Van Der Beek
Price: $5.93
58 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I never knew clowns could be so boring, August 26, 2010
This review is from: Final Draft (DVD)
This movie was surprisingly dull. I kept waiting for something to happen, and it just never got up a good head of steam. I was going to say that it was overly long and could have used some more editing, but I see above that they list the running time as 90 min. I swear it felt like closer to 3 hours. It dragged and dragged. There were random scenes of weirdness, but it never launches itself into any sort of supernatural horror mode. Barely even qualifies as pschological drama. The jump edits and scene transitions were very jarring, I suppose to mimic the characters tenuous grasp on reality, but it just felt like poor editing. I know they were trying to do something different, a clown hitting people over the head with a bag of oranges and staging their deaths to look like suicide, but they should have worried more about making it interesting, not just different. The clown is a complete non entity. He's there, but only as interesting as a department store maniquin. I only give this an extra star because James Van Der Beek at least gives the material the old college try, there just isn't much to work with. This fell so flat it should probably only get one star, but I'll be kind.

Digital Moviemaking 3.0
Digital Moviemaking 3.0
by Scott Billups
Edition: Paperback
33 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Not for us rank amateurs, August 21, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is not really geared towards the average weekend warrior, but alot of the information can still be vital in getting the best image possible out of whatever gear you have. The author shoots for the studios and networks, so much of the discussion is about $100k cameras, cranes, computer automated match moves and compositing etc., but the principles of setting your exposure and checking the histogram to get a good shot should be applied by everyone. He offers some tips that won't break the bank like using filters, scrims and even mirrors to redirect free sunlight to get that shot. He uses analogies of crayon boxes and muffin tins to make it easier to visualize more technical topics like color space, data transfer rates and resolution. This provides a good foundation to help understand the limitations of prosumer grade cameras when it comes to data throughput and compression compared to the studio films using Viper cameras. Just lower your expectations and make the best with what you've got.

Most people can probably skim over the pages on cranes, trucks full of lighting packages and keeping the 200 people in your crew happy on location, or even the pages on $10k jib arms, steady cams and dollies, unless you're in the industry or your name is Rockafeller. He does discuss when it makes more since to rent, rather than buy, so maybe that is in your budget, but I don't think I'm really in his target audience from a production standpoint. I have no plans of having a feature film telcined for Sundance, but if you are, you should read his discussion of film festivals and the importance of getting an image that will stand up to large screen projection before you start shooting. This is a book written by a professional for professionals, which is good, because at least he "knows of which he speaks" and you can trust the information. I'm sure I'll refer back to it from time to time, especially if I upgrade to a new camera so I can make an informed decision with regards to capture chips, codecs, manual settings, and features. Who knows, maybe in the not too distant future I'll be able to hop in my hover-car and fly down to the local electronics store and plunk down 300 shektars on a new Viper 4k prosumer camera with prime lenses. Then maybe the Weinsteins will up my budget $10 million so I can cast my wife Charlize Theron in the lead role of my film "When Pigs Fly".

Bioshock 2 - Xbox 360
Bioshock 2 - Xbox 360
Offered by NYC Electronics
Price: $10.25
252 used & new from $2.60

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Reinvent the Wheel, Just Tightens the Spokes, February 24, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Bioshock 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
When Bioshock 2 was in development, I heard it would have you playing as a big daddy and you would have to protect the little sisters while they harvested adam. This sounds like an entire game of the proving grounds level of Bioshock, which I absolutely hated, so I feared they would ruin B2. As it turns out, my fears were unfounded as this big daddy doesn't suffer from the obscured vision of the suit in Bioshock, and you only harvest adam 2 or 3 times a level. The game is set in new areas of Rapture and features the familiar splicers, art deco stylings, and period music like the first game. In addition to the old splicers, they have added the alpha big daddy, brute splicer and the big sister to make the battles more of a challenge. This game isn't as dark as the first game, and doesn't have as much of the survival horror vibe, but they turned up the FPS action a few notches. When you do enter a dark area, a headlamp on your suit automatically snaps on so you don't have to fumble around in the dark like the first game.

While the story in Bioshock felt like "shock and awe", this installment is more of an allegorical child custody battle between Sofia Lamb and Delta. It plays more on the emotional elements rather than gut punching you with another plot twist like the first game. It may not be on the level of B1, but it's still alot more story than most games out there and deals with the father/daughter bond and people seeking redemption. The audio diaries return to help flesh out backstory and side plots.

The gameplay is the biggest area of improvement as they fixed a few of the flaws in the first game. The dual wield is a vast improvement over the first. Your Eve auto refills this time around, and in order to manually refill, you push the right bumper in addition to the X button. I must've wasted a couple dozen Eve hypos in the first game by hitting the X button to hack a turret, and end up injecting Eve instead. The research camera is now a video camera, so you just start recording and it automatically switches you to your last weapon and a counter comes up to show how much you are scoring with your attacks. There is a research section in the menu that shows how far you have progressed, and what the ultimate rewards in damage bonuses and tonics will be. This actually made research fun and is a good way to get tonics without spending Adam. One thing that I do miss from the first game is the U-Invent stations where you could make ammo and auto hack tools from misc. items.

I've played this game 7 times now, and replayed B1 twice for comparison. This game plays smoother and feels about the same length. I'm sure I'm getting 10-12 hours out of it, but I hack everything and flush all the toilets. :) I have only had one serious glitch where one of the "Eyes without a face" flashbacks started to play and hung up, and my weapon hand disappeared. I had to reload the autosave. A couple times I had Bots stick in midair and had to fling a corpse into them to get them moving again. Natural camouflage seems kind of spotty too. I also had an audio diary freeze up near the end of one game, which also knocked out the radio, but none of the intercom or other game sounds. One real glitch in 7 playthroughs is pretty good I guess.

This game gets belittled for not having a plot twist, but let's face it, a twist is only a twist once, and any replay value after that initial surprise has to come from the rest of the gameplay. If all it took to guarantee success was a good plot twist, then M. Night Shamalamadingdong wouldn't be guilty of foisting so many crapfests on the public. The developers gave us more of what we loved about Rapture and tightened up the mechanics. There are new areas to explore and creatures to fight, and we get to be a Big Daddy. There is nothing like having a lead head splicer flapping his yapper as he empties his tommy gun into your backside, only to have you silence his pie hole permanently with a brutal drill dash. Good times.

I only play single player campaigns, so I can't comment on the multiplayer.

La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1961)
La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1961)
DVD ~ Anita Ekberg
42 used & new from $13.83

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simply Unforgettable, January 26, 2010
La Dolce Vita (The Daily Vitamin) has some truly unforgettable cinematography. I was immediately struck by the opening scene of the film where we have the unforgettable sight of a woman with hairy armpits waving at a flying Jesus. I will never get that image out of my head. Then there was the unforgettable fountain scene where Sylvia went wading, and despite the fact that the water was barely knee deep, she wore some kind of floatation vest that was stretching out the top of her dress in an unforgettable way. There was also another unforgettable scene, but I can't remember what it was.

Fellini treats us to what seems like a couple dozen nights on the town with the overindulged rich and famous crowd. Yawn. Wild horses couldn't drag me to any of these parties of the comatose, so I found most of the film to be tedious and boring. Of course, that is one of the points Freddy is trying to make. Point well taken, but it felt like being bludgeoned about the head and shoulders for 3 hours. I did learn that the papparazi have always asked the dumbest questions, it's not a recent development.

At one point in the film, Fellini takes on organized religion and improper pruning techniques in an unflattering manner. It seems that two little kids found a grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Madonna burned into it and they buried it, and a magic beanstock grew up in this holy spot. Well, all the self serving religious folk gathered around hoping for a miracle while the kids had fun making sport of them. It started to rain, so the holy people ripped the sacred beanstock to shreds with the hope that they could sell the leaves and stems on Ebay to raise money for a new church on this sacred ground. I think there was a deleted scene where they slaughtered the goose that laid golden eggs too. Good times.

At the merciful conclusion of this epic, we see Marcello's character stagger down to the beach to smell the giant dead ray, which isn't a good idea if you've been drinking all night, so he staggers off to the side upwind and sees Nico making gestures to him from across the water. He can't hear her due to the pounding surf. She seems to be offering him salvation from his meaningless life, but since he's hungover and sucks at charades, he gives her a dismissive wave and leaves to find some aspirin. Nico seems happy though. I think she got into typing school.

I watched this film 3 times and listened to the "expert" pedestrian commentary to make sure I wasn't missing anything, and I came to the conclusion that some films affect people differently, and this one didn't strike a chord with me the way it did with some others. There is nothing wrong with that, since beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I've heard the Texas Chainsaw Massacre called a masterpiece, so I rewatched that and saw it as a low budget crapfest that was rendered virtually unwatchable by the last half hour of screaming, but I would be flamed without mercy by the fanboys if I gave it less than 5 stars. I would recommend watching this film as a piece of cinematic history, and if you enjoy it, great, but if not, there should be no shame in that either. Different strokes for different folks. I just didn't see it as a "Masterpiece" and found it neither that entertaining nor profound.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2013 5:49 PM PST

Severed: Forest of the Dead
Severed: Forest of the Dead
DVD ~ Paul Campbell
Offered by Phase 3, LLC
Price: $8.90
60 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars a new spin on zombification, January 25, 2010
This review is from: Severed: Forest of the Dead (DVD)
This movie tries a new cause/affect, and location for the zombie genre as we are taken deep into the forest to escape from humans turned into zombies by tree sap from genetically modified trees. While it tries a new approach, it still includes most of the typical elements (cliche's) of the zombie genre. These north woods zombies are the slow, lumbering variety. You see, they are lumbering because it's a logging camp and lumber mill and, oh never mind. The action is filmed in the shaky, brittle 45 degree shutter look of "28 Days Later". It also includes the obligatory social/political messages; environmentalism, corporate greed, playing god, sadism, betrayal, love and redemption...too much for a zombie movie like this. The shaky cam quick edits were very distracting and could cause an epileptic seizure. The isolation and scenery are nice, but that is really all that this film adds to the genre, as we are still stuck with irrational, stupid behavior and plot holes. In a logging camp full of axes and 4 ft. chainsaws, these slow moving zombies should end up painting the forest red in short order, but nobody chooses to arm themselves and get aggressive. There must be at least one set of bolt cutters to cut the lock on the main gate so they can make their escape, but apparently not. The virus is instantly contracted through a bite, but people can be covered with blood with no ill affect.

While this film is far from a classic, and doesn't really build any tension or big scares, it is at least watchable, when the cameraman isn't spazzing out. I have seen so many horrible "horror" movies lately that I will grade on a curve and give this 2 1/2 stars.

DVD ~ Dan Byrd
Price: $5.99
113 used & new from $0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars How Much Did Hooper Get For His Soul?, January 24, 2010
This review is from: Mortuary (DVD)
I saw this dvd about a mortuary, directed by Tobe Hooper and figured it must be better than all the other junk horror dvds I'd seen lately. I was terribly wrong. It seems that Mr. Hooper has sold his soul and is only in it for the quick buck now. I guess he figures that he peaked too soon, that he's all out of chainsaw massacres and poltergeists, so he may as well just ride into retirement cranking out mindless, unentertaining crap. This lousy script was about a mother and her two kids that go to live in an abandoned mortuary so that the mom could embalm people while reading the instructions out of a book. There is an organic mold/vine/fungus whatever living in the septic tank because they forgot to put RID-X down their drain,and RID-X and rock salt are the only things that kill the mold/vine/fungus whatever. People start getting infected with this whatever fungus and vomit crude oil. Pretty soon, almost every overpaid actor involved is a crude oil zombie whatever and is trying to puke in the mouths of the 4 overpaid actors that aren't infected. They need to sacrifice someone pure to the well, and oddly choose the little girl rather than Miss Silicone Valley 2002. If you are reading this, you have already wasted too much time on this movie, and so have I, so I won't reveal the good part when it was finally over. The "making of" documentary was interesting though, hearing all the unforgivable actors involved talk about how they brought depth to their characters and love such challenging roles etc. Really? The "Good guys" talked about how their characters were the outsiders and town toughs. A 140 lb. gay guy is one of the town roughnecks? Really? This one was just rushed out to make a buck and isn't worth your time. Skip it.

Man Bites Dog (The Criterion Collection)
Man Bites Dog (The Criterion Collection)
DVD ~ Rémy Belvaux
Offered by westcoastmedia
Price: $19.49
14 used & new from $15.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is Spinal Tap for Killers, January 12, 2010
I was initially disturbed by the violence at the start of this film, until the killer started describing his formula for adding ballast to dead bodies to keep them from floating to the surface, and mentioned children and midgets. Midgets? Just how many midgets has this guy killed? Seeing that it was going to be a satire, I was able to unclench and go along for the ride. It turned out to be a pretty good ride, burdening me with guilt for actually laughing. I thought the humor and social commentary was actually pretty clever. The killer, with all the tact of Borat, touches on a number of social issues like racial stereotypes and homosexuality as he goes about his chosen "vocation", which he has down to a science. I think the biggest satirical jab may be directed at the filmmakers themselves, as we see the depths to which they will sink in their desperate desire to make their first film and run out of money. The killer basically becomes the producer, and the filmmakers his accomplaces. At one point they encounter another film crew following the exploits of another killer. These guys are not Auteurs filming on black and white 16mm, they are voyeurs filming on video tape. Video tape, indeed. Off with their heads! While this is probably the darkest of dark comedies that I have seen, the surreal ridiculousness of some of the scenes tempered the violence and made it a very watchable movie. I will probably rewatch it to catch some of the more subtle satire.

Ripple Effect
Ripple Effect
DVD ~ Forest Whitaker
Offered by SourceMedia
Price: $4.78
68 used & new from $0.01

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 101 Atrocious Hats, January 12, 2010
This review is from: Ripple Effect (DVD)
Once again I am ripped off by a group of well known actors cranking out a personal vanity piece to cash in on their names without delivering a solid product. There is very little production value, the editing is choppy, and the sound is pretty bad in spots. Very low budget garbage. There are a few parties of the overindulged at mansions to try and class up the joint, but the movie is more preachy than entertaining. The script is overly verbose and unrealistic. Minnie Driver is supposedly married to Forest Whitaker,(riiight) and even though she doesn't seem to have a compassionate bone in her body, she has selflessly devoted the last 15 years of her life to caring for her wheelchair bound husband, even though she was already cheating on him before he was struck by a car and paralyzed. In return, he accompanies her to a bar every night so that she can sing and play guitar until she sees someone that she would like to have sex with, all with hubbies blessing and complete lack of jealousy, even though he was planning to kill her before he was hit by the car because she was cheating on him. She claims she has to wipe his butt for him, even though his arms are in perfect working order. Not sure what that's all about. The director's character, funny hat guy, cries when his wife tells him to move out because he won't be able to see his daughter, the same daughter he constantly ignores as he feverishly works to get financing for his ugly clothing line. The movie is practically a runway fashion show with every scene involving a wardrobe change in order to "show off" the different outfits. There seems to be a little "one hand washing the other" with the wardrobe person providing services in exchange for a film credit and product placement.

I can't believe Forest Whitaker bothered to be a part of this, but I doubt the rest of them had anything better to do. It's basically just self promotion posing as a film with a message. The message seems to be; the first step to atonement is to forgive yourself, every cloud has a silver lining, don't neglect your family, Minnie Driver is still hot, do a good deed and you will make Donald Trump your bitch, some people wear funny hats, and Minnie Driver is still hot. Did I mention Minnie Driver is still hot? They must've gotten as bored as I was at the end, or ran out of money because they just showed some still shots of the happily reunited family and as the credits rolled, they inserted an entertainment news report on an unlikely teen idol wearing one of the Atrash replica army jackets that had been given to him by the designer's wife, leading to booming sales and a happy ending. We don't know how Minnie took the news about Forest wanting to kill her, so he may or may not be wiping his own butt now. Oops, ***this review contains spoilers.***

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