Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 11 - Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, The Hobbit, The Guilt Trip and More

This week it's trailers ahoy on the MovieFilm Podcast as Zaki, Sean and Brian take time to ponder several recent offerings including Tom Cruise in Oblivion, Will Smith in After Earth, and the first full trailers for JJ Abrams' sequel Star Trek Into Darkness and Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel.

In addition, the guys share a thought or two on the Golden Globe nominations, recount how The Hobbit nearly made Zaki throw up, and offer reviews of Jack Reacher and The Guilt Trip, all with a holiday-themed movie quiz to wrap things up.

Please feel free to stream it below or subscribe and download the episode at this itunes link. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please send them along to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com, or to our official Facebook page. And from all of us at MovieFilm, we hope you have a safe and merry holidays!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 10 - Lincoln, Skyfall, Star Wars, X-Men!

Four score and seven days ago, Zaki, Sean and yours truly set forth to record what would become the 10th episode of the MovieFilm podcast. Actually, my math may be a bit off regarding the dates but the wording remains relevant because in this episode we discuss Steven Spielberg's recent critical darling Lincoln. We also share our thoughts, both the good and the bad, on the highest grossing Bond film to date, Skyfall. And just to sweeten the deal, we also delve into a wide array of topics including Lawrence Kasdan being tapped to write one of the upcoming Star Wars films, rumors of Joseph Gordon-Levitt possibly donning the cowl as Batman in the upcoming Justice League movie, and casting updates for the (what sounds to be pretty epic) upcoming X-Men film.

As always, you can stream the episode by clicking on this link, or download it by visiting our iTunes page here. We'd also love to hear from you so please send us your questions, comments or anything else you want to share to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com or visit our official Facebook page

Monday, November 19, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 9 - Skyfall, Flight and All Things Zemeckis

Hello, friends! Episode 9 of the MovieFilm Podcast is here! This week is a special episode as Zaki shares an exclusive interview he conducted with Tripp Vinson, producer of the upcoming Red Dawn remake. In addition to that we also discuss potential directors for the forthcoming Star Wars sequel (how long until it doesn't feel weird to type that?), as well as Zaki's take on Skyfall, our thoughts on the World War Z trailer, and Sean's musings on Wreck-it Ralph. Then, after we opine a bit on the film Flight, the three of us share our thoughts on all things Robert Zemeckis. 

Check it out by either streaming at this link, or download the show through iTunes which you can do by clicking here. It's the perfect listening material for your walk around the block or weekday commute!

And please send any questions or comments to us either through the official MovieFilm Facebook page, or email us at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Flight's Turbulant Story Soars

In spite of what trailers would have us believe, it turns out Flight isn't so much a slick drama about an accidental hero with a dilemma, but instead a surprisingly down-and-dirty, intimate tale of an out-of-control addict who won't even let a brush with death keep him from his destructive behavior. Starring Denzel Washington and directed by perpetual crowd-pleaser Robert Zemeckis, Flight is a bit of a risky hybrid: a gritty addict drama made by a filmmaker with blockbuster sensibilities. And for me, it works.

Washington plays commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, whose destructive behavior is made quite clear to us in the opening minutes of the film. After an all night bender of alcohol and cocaine, Whitaker shows up to fly per usual - though to the dismay of his straight-laced co-pilot (Brian Geraghty). When the plane malfunctions, Whitaker shows unflinching poise and executes a radical maneuver that ends in a controlled crash landing that saves nearly all the passengers on board. Waking up in the hospital, Whitaker should be readying himself to be declared a hero, the problem is his incriminating blood - swimming with illegal substances - was drawn at the scene of the accident.

What's interesting is that Flight chooses not to show its audience much of the world reacting to the accident. It instead keeps us primarily at the hip with Whitaker, who chooses to escape the media frenzy by retreating. Though a court hearing looms in the background - with Don Cheadle playing the pilot union's lawyer - the film's focus remains fixed on Whitaker's tug of war with the demons that are poisoning his career, his relationship with his estranged wife and son, and a friendship with a former colleague desperately trying to be an ally (Bruce Greenwood.)

The only other character we truly follow is a heroin addict and kindred spirit named Nicole (Kelly Reilly) who Whitaker meets at the hospital. Keeping us in exclusive proximity with these two characters allows this surprisingly effortless 2 hour 20 minute character study room to breathe, entrusting its audience with occasional moments of quiet - and it's this quiet that allows the bigger moments their impact. Of course Denzel sweeping up the floor with his ability to play everything from calm and confident, to sad sack, to a loose canon provides a sturdy anchor throughout.

After losing Zemeckis to motion capture animated films for over a decade - his last live action film being Cast Away in 2000 - I'm happy to report that his brand of storytelling and exacting camera work are back in play without a hitch. Thanks to subtle but powerful technique, alcohol itself almost because a tangible villain. I nearly found myself yelling out loud "Don't do it!" whenever a drink was in proximity of Whitaker. Additionally, Zemeckis shoots his films in a more classical style, free from today's tendency of excessive cutting, which allows the frame to move and explore, revealing information rather than presenting it, effectively turning the camera into less of an observer and more of a silent narrator.

Flight is an expansive, involving, and often times frustrating look at addiction and the wake it can create. Its unexpected weight is what will surprise most audiences I imagine, but it's what also makes Flight worth the trip.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast Episode 8 - The Future of Star Wars

"Star Wars lives!" The Mr. Boy gang was all set to discuss a variety of different topics for the latest MovieFilm episode, then Mr. Lucas dropped his little bomb mid-week, and that changed our trajectory somewhat. So this week, in addition to the answering listener e-mails, debating the role celebs should have in politics, and dissecting the trailers for Gangster Squad and Iron Man 3, the centerpiece of Episode 8 (or rather Episode VIII) is an extended discussion about the impact of Lucasfilm's acquisition by the Disney company, the impending open-ended continuation of the Star Wars saga, and what it all means not only for the brand, but for the film industry, and heck, even for society. We had a blast recording this one, so hopefully you'll have just as much of a blast listening. Stream it below or download it at the link. Send any questions or comments to us through the official MovieFilm Facebook page, or e-mail MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven Psychopaths: The Review I Didn't Write (But Totally Agree With)

Ever have one of those films that everyone you know seems to love up and down, and so you finally get around to checking it out and you're left thinking, "I mean, it was all right...?" One of those films for me was In Bruges. Maybe I just need to watch it again sans the hype and I'll enjoy it from a less anticipatory perspective. But to quote a co-worker of mine: "No you won't."

Which brings us to Seven Psychopaths. I kind of assumed that since the film was from Martin McDonagh, the writer/director of In Bruges, it would probably be a similar experience. Fortunately, I was able to attend a screening of Psychopaths this week and I'm glad I did because as it turns out, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

It's the story of a frustrated screenwriter who can't think of the story to back up his already predetermined title: Seven Psychopaths. What follows is a dark, occasionally gruesome, surprisingly touching at times, shaggy dog story within a shaggy dog story as we encounter the psychopaths our hero meets who foster his imagination, as well as the ones he conjures up for his own screenplay - which we get to see brought to life.  

I toyed with writing a review of the film but I soon read TK's write up over at Pajiba and felt he said almost exactly what it is I would have tried to put into words. So if you're interested, check out his review here

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How The Simpsons Should End

First things first, this inspired take on how to end one of the longest running television shows in history was not my idea. I was browsing Reddit one sunny afternoon when I stumbled across a post written by LittleMonkey69 (ah, the internet.) He was responding to the question "How Would You Properly End The Simpsons?" What I read was a rough but poignant premise for what I agree would be a satisfying farewell to this monumental fictional family - who have been continuously serving up brand new adventures for over 23 years and counting.

Here is the original (unedited) text:

The show begins with the family watching Itchy and Scratchy. They announce that the show is coming to an end and the entire family gasps in horror. They then announce that the last episode will be aired in a years time, and until then, a contest will be running; this contest will offer the winner the chance to write what will happen in the finale. The entire Simpson family applies.

Krusty is in charge of choosing the winner. He falls in love with one of the Simpson's idea and puts it in [the] winners box. He makes a mistake though, he puts all five of their ideas in the box by accident. He goes on his show to announce the winner and pulls out five cards out of the box. Stumped, he reads all five names out, "Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie." 

Flash forward a year later and Bart is in class describing his take on the Itchy and Scratchy finale to Milhouse, while showing us Itchy and Scratchy with Bart's voice-over. He finishes and the class is silent, Edna Krabappel is staring at him and says, "After-school detention." The scene then cuts to the power plant and Homer is describing his finale to Lenny and Carl. He finishes, a bell rings and he gets in a radiation suit. The scene cuts to a supermarket and Marge is describing her take to Helen Lovejoy, she finishes and strolls Maggie in the trolley to another aisle. Here, Maggie sees the unibrow baby and starts describing her take via waving and motioning. She finishes and the scene cuts to Lisa, she begins describing her take to Sherri and Terri. She finishes and picks up her saxophone to go to music practice. She walks in the music room sits down and then sees the time. She realises the show is going to be on in ten minutes. She plays the Itchy and Scratchy melody on her sax and bolts out. It cuts to Bart, he's writing on the black board: "I will not talk in class ever again" he hears a bell, realises the time and runs out. Cut to Homer holding some plutonium at a conveyor belt when a bell rings at the plant and he too realises the time and runs off, dropping some plutonium. Cut to the supermarket and we see Marge and Maggie checking out and running through the exit doors. Cut to a birds eye view of their home and we see everyone rushing to take a seat in the couch. They look at each other, they smile, the Itchy and Scratchy music plays, and it cuts to credits.

It would be pretty difficult to try and top crafting a story around reaching that final moment, am I right? You can find the original post here.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 6 - Looper and Time Travel Movies We Love

Believe it or not, here we are at Episode 6 of the MovieFilm podcast. This week we answer viewer mail, discuss everything from ALF to Taken 2 to the Die Hard 5 and The Lone Ranger trailers. Then, following a brief discussion on the new time travel head-trip Looper, Zaki, Sean and I discuss our personal favorite time travel movies. (I'll give you a heads up, one of mine is Flight of the Navigator.)


You can download the episode here and please feel free to drop us a note at MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Spielberg and Williams: Movie Magic In The Making

My love of movie maestro John Williams' work is a long and storied one. It began with me seeing The Empire Strikes Back as a wee one, then having my mom continually take me to the Wheaton Public Library so I could check out all of Williams' soundtrack LPs.

Eventually, like any of my favorite Beatles songs, I could similarly recognize most of Williams' work from just a few random notes. Case in point, I was just at Hollywood's Magic Castle this past weekend and was taken out of a show for a moment when I realized they were using an obscure portion of score from Jurassic Park.

With that in mind, it goes without saying that the clip embedded below brought me a lot of joy this morning. In it we see Steven Spielberg and Williams working out the now classic, but at the point this was recorded yet-to-exist, score to Spielberg's masterpiece E.T.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Is There Anything Fluffier Than A Cloud...?

I've always found that no matter how I feel, or no matter what I'm trying to explain, there's always a moment from The Simpsons I can reference that probably says it best.

With that in mind, here's how I plan on spending most of my upcoming weekend:

Monday, August 27, 2012

MovieFilm Podcast: Episode 3 - Tony Scott

A new episode of the MovieFilm podcast has been posted! In addition to discussing movie news, the new Jack Ryan reboot and Huey Lewis, Zaki, Sean and I take a look back at the prolific and influential career of late, great director Tony Scott. 

Recording these shows has been a lot of fun and the further we go, the better I think the episodes are turning out (especially technically speaking.) So if you're looking for a fun, film-centric back and forth between movie geeks to listen to on your drive home from work or during your walk around the block, go ahead and subscribe to the MovieFilm podcast over in iTunes and enjoy our latest episode.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Appreciate The Dark Knight Rises

*Be ye warned, there be spoilers in these waters.*

Watching a film that you are anticipating with childlike excitement for the first time is a risky proposition. Personally speaking, you either have an experience like Inception, where you feel like you've just seen cinema furthered, or you get The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - or what I like to refer to as the "there is no Santa Claus" moment of my adult life.

Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises was easily my most anticipated movie of the year so going in I was as excited as I was nervous. I saw it with equally enthusiastic friends on a true IMAX screen and the best word I can think of to sum up the experience would be "colossal." Leaving the theater, after being properly wowed, I knew that I'd liked it, but there were also a few nagging thoughts that popped into my mind. What followed was a week's worth of internet reading where article after article picked apart every last thing they could about the film. I soon found my own opinion of the movie becoming a list of criticisms ending with, "but I still liked it." 

Knowing that the first viewing of a film I've been waiting to love for this long is hardly enough to make a fair assessment, this afternoon I watched  Rises a second time and while there are still a few things I wish were a little different, I found that most of the more frequent criticisms being brought up could either be explained away or I just plain didn't care. It's a movie. Who cares why Bane decided to fly Bruce halfway across the world  to his prison pit. He just did. And it's one of the greatest character moments for Wayne in the entire film.

While the movie still felt like it was busting at the seams, it was much easier for me to navigate and get on board with now that I knew where the map was headed. Even more, in spite of already knowing what was going to happen, I still found myself getting emotionally moved or charged up at all the appropriate moments.What I guess I'm saying is, now that I have the movie I'd built up in my head cleared away and allowed myself time with what Nolan saw fit to present to us, I'm having an easier time appreciating The Dark Knight Rises for the, yes, occasionally flawed, but still entertaining and gargantuan undertaking that it is. 

Okay, now that I've told you I like it, here are the two things I would still nominate for a change/slight tweak for me to be able to completely stand behind this film:

1. The movie should not have begun with the last sighting of Batman being the night of Harvey Dent's death. I get that the Dent Act cleaned up the streets leaving Batman without a lot to do, but I still feel he should have been fighting crime for at least a few more years so that it makes more sense for him to be the battered, bitter person we see at the beginning of the movie. This would add more weight to Batman's legend status in Gotham City, as well as Bruce's spiritual journey.

2. In spite of a few friends disagreeing, I don't mind knowing that Bruce is alive and well somewhere, retired from donning the cape. However, I wish it was for two combined, alternate reasons: A. He's physically unable to do it, having given nearly all of himself to the cause (ie: how he appeared to be in the beginning of the film) and B. Because due to his heroic actions in the third act of the film, we see that Gotham's citizens have risen up for themselves and begun following Batman's lead in reclaiming their city. Bruce told his doomed love Rachel he would only be Batman until there wasn't a need for him anymore. While there will always be a need for a Batman - and we see someone else beginning to take on that mantel at the end - it would be nice to know Bruce only left because he felt he had done what he needed to do to turn Gotham around, and did it until he couldn't any longer. Now that there is an able person to pick up where he left off, we can feel good about Wayne finally having a moment's peace in his life.

Those two things aside, I've really come to embrace the film Nolan's made. It's a challenging, engaging, entertaining spectacle of an experience that, in my opinion, brings this unprecedented take on the character of Batman to a pretty satisfying end. 

I'll leave you now with this cartoon that would have saved you the time it took you to read my ramblings. I think most people would probably agree it does a good job accurately describing the experience of watching a Christopher Nolan film.

(Click to enlarge image.)

Comic created by: Brent Bailey

MovieFilm: Episode 1 - Batman

This morning I, along with my good friends Zaki and Sean, finally made good on a long gestating idea and recorded the first episode of a movie themed podcast we call MovieFilm.

Our pilot episode is a celebration of all things Batman, kicking off with a spoilery discussion of The Dark Knight Rises, then moving on to our reflections on Tim Burton's '89 Batman and beyond.

Though we all enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises, we're a bit tough on it, focusing a lot on a few of our hang ups. Funny thing is, a few hours after we recorded the episode I ventured out for a second viewing of Rises and found my thoughts on the film continuing to take shape. It led me to write a piece on my evolving take on the film which you can check out here.

The three of us had a blast recording this and we look forward to continually putting out what we hope are entertaining and interesting chats about movies and movie making.

Stream or download our first episode through the player below or over at moviefilmpodcast.podbean.com/

Monday, July 16, 2012

MovieFilms Podcast: Testing One, Two, Three...

My friends and fellow film fans Zaki Hasan and Sean Coyle, along with myself, decided to finally make good on an idea we'd been kicking around for a while and see what would happen if we recording our film-centric ramblings and release them as a podcast. We call it: MovieFilms!

Typically we would be looking back on a particular film and offering a little history, trivia, and our personal connections with it. But first, as a test, we decided to just record Zaki and I (Sean was unavailable) introducing ourselves and riffing about everything from the biggest hits/flops so far this year to Oliver Stone's J.F.K. 

Frankly, I feel like it wasn't a bad first effort and I look forward to polishing it up a bit, getting Sean in the mix, and working toward a fun and (hopefully) entertaining regularly scheduled program.

For now, the link below will lead you to the test Zaki and I made. Feel free to download it and check it out during your morning commute, your walk around the block, or let our nerdy musings lull you to sleep at night. We'd love your feedback!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comic Con 2012

Thanks to some friends at work coming up with a last minute ticket, this past weekend I was able to make my first trek down to the annual San Diego Comic Con. In the interest of not standing in a line rivaling the exodus from "The Ten Commandments," we decided to avoid the big studio panels in Hall H and instead scoured the convention floor. 

As often happens, I regret not taking more pictures. But alas, here are a few that were snapped. Click on them to embiggen.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Brian Hall's Excellent Road Trip Adventure!

Coming up on a year ago, during a time when I was unemployed, I decided I needed to do something I wouldn't have been able to do under normal circumstances and hit the road to check out a destination I'd always wanted to see -- Mount Rushmore.

Sweetening the deal further, I added Reno, NV as my first pit stop because thanks to perfect timing, my good pal Zaki Hasan was having a book release party there. At that event I met people who told me I had to see the monument Crazy Horse in South Dakota, which is on the way past a personal favorite movie location I never thought I'd see in real life, Devil's Tower, WY. I would go on to add welcome visits with my good friends The Trendas and The Thorwalls, who each offered lodging in Colorado and Arizona -- the former being home to the Budweiser brewery, another impromptu stop I added to my travels. 

While driving, I would occasionally pull out my camera and video what I was passing as a sort of a visual journal of what I saw. Recently, I finally got around to editing the footage into something coherent, set it to music, peppered it with moments of me talking with my doppelganger, making it into something I now like to call: Brian Hall's Excellent Road Trip Adventure! ©

It's a little lengthy but if you're interested and have the time, feel free to see what it is I saw on the freeways of the Western half of the United States.

Brian's Excellent Road Trip Adventure from Brian Hall on Vimeo.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Adventures of Brian and Tico

I always look forward to hanging with my good chihuahua friend, Tico. But no matter what grand plans I think up for the two of us, he usually has other ideas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Moe, Moe, Moe..."

If I didn't live in an apartment, this would definitely be my lawn mowing uniform.

This shirt is available at shirtoid.com.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rock of Ages: Nothing But a Good Time, For Better or Worse

A few years back some friends invited me to see a Led Zeppelin laser light show. I sat just a few rows away from Christian Slater. True story! What followed was an ipod shuffling of the band's greatest hits as lasers strobbed and created rudimentary images of wizards riding horses across the planes. Walking out, my friends complained that the show was lame. I didn't protest but I couldn't help thinking, what were they expecting? We went to a cheesy laser light show and that's exactly what we got.

What I'm getting at is that Rock of Ages, director Adam Shankman's big screen adaptation of Broadway's version of 80's Guitar Hero, is basically a two hour laser light show. It's cheesy, has no depth - whatsoever, not even accidentally - but occasionally there's some fun tunes and pretty things to look at.

The movie opens with Sherrie, (Julianne Hough) a bright-eyed girl fresh of the bus from Oklahoma arriving on Hollywood's 1980-something Sunset Strip. Her dream is to become a singer and it isn't long before she meets-cute with another singing hopeful, Drew (Diego Boneta) who gets her a job at a club that's the epicenter of rock on the strip. The joint's owner, played by Alec Baldwin, is hosting the swan song performance of a huge rock band called Arsenal, headed by their comically zonked-out lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise.) This must see performance should help Baldwin's character reconcile the rent he's struggling to pay, thanks in part (I think) to a group of anti-rock mothers led by a Tipper Gore inspired caricature played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. I say, I think, because as much as the mothers sing and kick in the air, they never really seem to pose any sort of tangible threat.

With that in mind, the only real drama in the story come from a misunderstanding so thin and contrived that it makes the similarly silly misunderstandings from Three's Company seem as if they were crafted by Tolstoy. 

As far as acting and performing is concerned, everyone here is not only game, but admirably committed. There's Malin Akerman as a Rolling Stone reporter, Paul Giamatti as Jaxx's skeezy manager, and an underused Bryan Cranston as the mayor of Los Angeles. Cruise's turn as Jaxx, it should be noted, is actually a lot of fun. My friend pointed out that when someone as impossible to hide as Tom Cruise can act so ridiculous and actually make you forget he's Tom Cruise for a while, that's a quite a feat. It's just too bad his arc doesn't give him much to do with it.

Additionally, I told some friends who had seen the musical that I was a little disappointed the story didn't even go close to delving into darkness, or even surface level thoughtfulness. For example, at the end of her rope, Sherrie ends up working at a strip club - the cleanest, most colorful and friendliest strip club in town apparently. Oh and it's run by Mary J. Blige who the film spends about 11 seconds showing kicking out an ex-boyfriend or husband or someone who is apparently a problem, but since that's the total amount of time the film spends on it, my sentence here is already too long for me to have even brought it up. Anyway, the club... I was confused because this was apparently supposed to be Sherrie's lowest moment but that was never conveyed in any discernible way at all. It was simply an excuse for another song and some (admittedly) amazing acrobatics by some talented pole dancers.

I was also told that the taming of this story from the stage incarnation doesn't end there. Major plot points that would cast main characters in whole new lights and a more sobering ending have been scrubbed down to essentially a two hour, feel good, let's-not-worry-about-anything karaoke sing along. There are so many potential obstacles for these characters to contend with: rock n' roll's impending decline, the closing of Tower Records and all that implies, studio manufactured pop music's take-over on the radio. The movie does touch on the pop music thing a little but all these other ripe complications and themes aren't even given a moments thought. I'm not saying the movie shouldn't be fun, but isn't the point of a good story seeing characters we like overcoming opposition?

So, still interested in this movie? Do you just want to see some good looking actors sing songs you love? Then I say go for it. And after all my pontificating you may be wondering, so what did I ultimately think of the movie? Well, there's certainly a more interesting version of this movie and that isn't what they decided to put on screen here, but at the same time, I fully recognize that Rock of Ages is just a laser light show. Set your expectations accordingly and it's occasionally amusing and at least pretty to look at. 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom's co-writer/director Wes Anderson has a style that is immediately identifiable. His oeuvre typically involves also-ran's in vintage costumes blocked perfectly in the center of wide angle framing. It's a hallmark that tends to split audiences into those who find it charming and those who find it overly precious. I suppose I should start by saying that I've been a fan of Anderson's since his 1996, low-key losers on the run tale Bottle Rocket, and while I haven't been taken with all of his films, it was to my delight that his latest not only sees his distinctive voice evolving, but that this story also wonderfully benefits from it.

Kingdom is the story of two 12 year old outcasts - Sam, an orphaned khaki scout (think boy scouts), and Suzy, an angsty girl from an emotionally dysfunctional family. After a chance encounter and ensuing pen pal relationship, the pair decide to run away together for a brief retreat. Their abrupt exits leave Sam's
scout master (Edward Norton), a local cop (Bruce Willis), and Suzy's parents (Bill Murray and Frances MacDormand) in a tizzy as they try to locate the children.

What makes this movie special is how endearing the children's relationship is. While the adults are played perfectly by the seasoned cast, at times they can feel a few details away from being fully formed. The children, however, are perfectly nuanced in alternate but similarly appropriate ways that not only endear us to them, but help us understand why they are endeared to one another. Both have interests that seem probably suited to two loners looking to escape and entertain themselves. Watching them share their personal hobbies with one another is one of the joys of the film. Sam proudly demonstrates his scout training, explaining that they can combat thirst by sucking on pebbles - snd Suzy gamely obliges. Similarly, Suzy enjoys fantasy novels and invites Sam into her private worlds as she reads the books she's packed with her aloud to him.

While there's a playfulness in the air of this storybook-style world Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola have crafted - where a pre-teen search party of scouts resemble a cute riff on a rag-tag military outfit - it's a credit to Anderson's abilities that he is able to properly balance the story's occasionally more grounded moments of vulnerability and aggression. Those moments are what keep this otherwise whimsical story of pre-teen innocence and anxiety tangible, reminding us that as much fun as we're having, these kids are carrying real emotional wounds that need tending.

On a technical level, Anderson certainly sticks with his familiar visual voice, including long dolly shots and groups of people walking in slow motion, but it also feels as if he's continuing to find ways to push it forward. There are some fun moments where he plays with composition for comedy that feel confident and not requisite. A cleverly framed moment where we see Bill Murray from the inside of a tent comes to mind.

As a fan of Anderson it makes me happy to not only have another film of his to enjoy, but also knowing that he is still able to craft satisfying stories that he specifically knows how to tell best.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Today's Movie You Should Know: Fish Story

Once in a while I'll come across a film or song that never found its way into popular culture that connects with me in such a specific and satisfying way I'll think, what if I had never come across this? How many other films or songs are out there, perfectly tailored for my sensibilities, that I'm missing out on, or may never get to enjoy?

After lighting a single candle and crying a righteous tear I settle down and vow to share these obscure gems with others who would likely enjoy them as much as me. So today I'd like to share a Japanese film I discovered and fell in love with called Fish Story

The plot in a nutshell (which isn't easy to do) is that an asteroid is headed toward earth and among the many people and factors that could possibly prevent it, the most important may be an obscure punk song from the 1970's most people have never even heard. Honestly, I could say more but that's all I went in with and I had a blast enjoying the discovery that ensued. Obviously this film won't be for everyone - it is subtitled after all and may move at a clip some aren't accustomed to. But for those who enjoy films that are slightly left of center, Fish Story is a playful, inventive, (and most importantly) original, rock and roll, end of the world story that ties everything together in such a way it'll leave a big, dumb grin on your face. It's easily one of the most fun and satisfying movie watching experiences I had last year.

Fish Story is currently available on Netflix streaming and if you decide to check it out, you'll have to get back to me and let me know what you thought.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bullet Bill: A Life Examined

Have you ever wondered what happens to Bullet Bill after he's fired from his canon, set adrift in a seemingly blind but pointed trajectory to nowhere? Thanks to an amusingly epic comic from Brawl in the Family, we no longer need to speculate. 

And so you can experience the story just like it played in my own head, hit play on the YouTube video below, then click here for the artwork and enjoy.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know About Tron: Uprising (But Were Afraid To Ask.)

As Mr. Burns once said, "The only ship worth a damn is friend-ship," so allow me a moment to brag about two very good friends of mine. Zaki Hasan is an award wining blogger who helped author the clever and entertaining book Geek Wisdom. Sean Coyle is a talented filmmaker and has been a resident Disney TV editor for several years and counting.

In a recent explosion of friendships and talent, my good pal Zaki took the opportunity to interview my good pal Sean about his most recent editing gig, which just so happens to be the hotly anticipated Tron: Uprising animated series. You can read the interview and find the first full-length animated outing embedded on Zaki's blog right here.

Insert Clever "First Post" Title Here...

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my blog.

My friends have been encouraging me to start one over the past few years so I've decided to finally give it a whirl and see what happens. The best part is I don't even know what to do with it. The only thing I was certain about was that I wanted my first post to feature a duck wearing a hat - and a quick internet search did not disappoint. 

Those who know me best are aware that I am constantly kicking around random thoughts and scenarios in my head so I guess this place could be sort of like a pool drain for my brain. It could be fun. Won't you come along with me? ...Wait, where are you going?