Movie Review - Hugo (2011)

Hugo exists not only to entertain, but hopefully to inspire a child's imagination and wonder about the history of film.

It's A Christmas Photoship Miracle

Observe the power to digitally enhance beauty with a dash of holiday spirit.

Funny Beans

Animated short with great visuals, action, and a little comedy.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Movie Review - Hugo (2011)

It is Paris in the 1930s.  An orphan boy named Hugo lives in a train station, maintaining the large clocks as well as repairing a mechanical man (also known as an atomaton).  This atomaton is all that Hugo's father left him after he died, and Hugo believes it holds an important message.  In order to fix this mechanical man, Hugo steals small parts from George Melies' (Ben Kingsley) toy shop, but cannot find a missing key that activates it.  He meets Isabelle (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz), the goddaughter of the toy shop owner, who helps him solve the mystery.

Shot digitally in 3D, Hugo was created as a love letter to its roots.  There are a plethora of beautiful sweeping shots and special effects, but they serve the purpose of presenting an era forgotten by most of us.  There is a striking contrast when observing the creation of films in the past.  There were large hand painted sets and built costumes, locked off camera angles, and physical film cuts used as special effects.  Hugo reminds us when film just started to tell stories with visual effects and the possibilities were endless.  

Leave it to Martin Scorsese to develop a film totally outside of his normal realm.  Hugo exists not only to entertain, but hopefully to inspire a child's imagination and wonder about the history of film.  The new and the old merge together in this picture, showing that even though technology and methodology changed, the awe people felt in the theater was the same almost a century ago.

Hugo is available for stream on Netflix

Rated PG

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's A Christmas Photoshop Miracle!

Observe the power to digitally enhance beauty.

Phantogram - Black Out Days Music Video

Check out the new music video for Phantogram's "Black Out Days".  Their new album, Voices, drops February 18.  Watch it here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Muppets With People Eyes

Have a look at the weirdest, scariest faces of Sesame Street.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Funny Beans

Cinesite, a special effects studio has created its first animated short. It contains great visuals, action, and a little comedy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Stream Burial's Rival Dealer EP

British electronic musician Burial has made his new EP available for stream.  Tracks are below.

Rival Dealer


Come Down to Us

St. Vincent - Birth in Reverse

The first single from St. Vincent's upcoming self titled album is here.  St. Vincent drops February 25.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar Teaser Trailer

“The adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.”

Very little is shown here, but the idea and cast look very promising.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Movie Review - Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

It is Christmas Eve in Tokyo, Japan.  Three homeless friends: an alcoholic middle aged man, a transvestite, and a runaway teenage girl, find a baby while foraging through the trash.  Hana, the transvestite, wants to take care of the little girl as her own, claiming the incident a miracle.

The next day they soon find out that a baby requires care that they cannot supply, so the trio sets out on a quest to find the little girl's real parents.  This journey reunites each of them with friends and family of the past, confronting their most personal internal conflicts and prior wrongdoings.  Were they destined to find this baby?  Was there a higher power involved in their mission?

Tokyo Godfathers was co-written and co-directed by the late great Satoshi Kon, the creator of fine work such as Perfect Blue or Millennium Actress.  Despite the amount of comedic bits throughout, this film has a surprising amount of grit and depressive ambiance.  The streets are cold, unwelcoming, and filled with many struggles just to survive.  Each character's sad past is filled with violence or pain.  They don't get that well along with each other either.  Beauty does eventually emerge when serendipitous events start to draw them closer together, creating second chances and rekindling the hope that everyone's life has a purpose. 

Tokyo Godfathers is available for stream on Netflix

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violent images, language and some sexual material

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Conjecture: Is Tom Cruise Mimicking Duncan Jones' Work?

Is Tom Cruise choosing projects based on the similarity to the films of Duncan Jones?  Take to mind this is conjecture, but there are similarities between Oblivion and Moon, as well as Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow.  If you wish to watch Moon, Source Code, and/or Oblivion without spoilers, please don't read.  

Duncan Jones's first feature length film Moon entails an astronaut named Sam (Sam Rockwell) working on the moon to harvest these special minerals for energy of the future.  Tom Cruise's last film, Oblivion, is about a man named Jack in the future earth maintaining machines responsible for the harvest of resources for the rest of humanity on another planet.

 Rock harvesting on Moon

Earth harvesting on Oblivion

*Spoilers Below*

In Moon, Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) slowly uncovers the truth that he is a clone, and was told lies that would last him long enough until the next clone replaced him.  In Oblivion, Jack is cloned as well, and taught that the humans won a war against the aliens, but in fact was being manipulated by them to harvest Earth's resources.

Now take a look at the latest trailer for Tom Cruise's new upcoming film, Edge of Tomorrow and Duncan Jones's Source Code below:

From the synopsis and the trailer, Edge of Tomorrow is about a soldier in a war with aliens who constantly relives the same chunk of time over and over again.  In Source Code, Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a soldier who wakes up mysteriously over and over for the same period of time in a train.  He finds that he is sent to uncover the identity of a terrorist bomber.

In Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise's character meets another fellow soldier (Emily Blunt) and she seems to know all the answers to a way out.  In Source Code, Colter Stevens has an officer named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), who guides him through the time loop to find the bomber.

Tom Cruise and his guide

Jake Gyllenhaal and his guide

You could say that both Edge and Source Code borrow a lot from Groundhog Day, but the funny thing about Duncan Jones's films is that he only made two so far.  They both have the same underlying plot concepts as Tom Cruise's most recent science fiction epics.  Cruise's version of each film injects a high amount of chaos and action.  It's like he's creating Duncan Jones's films on a giant budget with more flash and convention.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Science Fiction Movie Trailer Round Up

Check out three new released trailers for upcoming 2014 blockbusters: Godzilla, Edge of Tomorrow, and Jupiter Ascending.

Phantogram - Fall in Love

New song from Phantogram.  This song will be in their upcoming album Voices, dropping February 14th.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013's tribute to 2013's movies

Here is a huge montage of 283 films that came out this year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Nicest Place on the Internet

Having a rough day?  Check out the nicest place on the internet.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Movie Review - Manhattan (1979)

Isaac (Woody Allen) is an aspiring novelist that currently works writing for sitcoms.  He is currently dating Tracy, a 17 year old girl who is in love with him.  Isaac's best friend, Yale, has a mistress named Mary (Diane Keaton).  When Isaac meets Mary, feelings begin to emerge and relationships start to transition.

Isaac is fresh out of a divorce with Jill (Meryl Streep), his second ex-wife.  Jill left him for another woman, and she is in the process of publishing a book about all their experiences before the marriage and after.  After he meets his best friend Yale's mistress (Mary), he falls for her.  Constantly hinting to his teenage girlfriend Tracy that they won't last, Isaac hopes to find a way to court Mary.

The black and white cinematography of the film is expertly crafted and rich in contrast.  There are shots that are totally abstracted, with just highlights to give way to shapes and subjects.  There is a romance reflected in the images, along with some insecurity and mystery.

On the surface, Manhattan is a romantic melodrama about people drifting in and out of relationships for one reason or another.  Behind the story lies the characters dwelling in their past relationships.  Isaac is in constant hindsight of his former lovers, seeing clearly with appreciation of how great those times were while sabotaging the present.  His friend Yale is the same, not knowing how to see what he has in front of him until it ends.  No matter what they tell themselves, these two men are unable to deal with their current love, always yearning for something they had before.

Manhattan is available for stream on Netflix

Rated R for language

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lana Del Rey's 30 Min. Short Film "Tropico"

Watch Lana Del Rey's 27 minute short film/music video.  Her next album will be titled Ultra-Violence.  Watch it here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

David Ehrlich's top 25 Movies of the Year

Check out this beautifully edited countdown video of David Ehrlich's top movie picks of the year 2013.

- "Duet" by Philip Glass (STOKER)
- "Streetwalking" by Craig Wedren (THANKS FOR SHARING)
- "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" by Skrillex (SPRING BREAKERS)
- "Blue Moon" performed by Conal Fowkes (BLUE JASMINE)
- "London Calling" by Michael Giacchino (STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS)
- "The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 4 in F Minor" Antonio Vivaldi (OLDBOY)
- "Ruth and Sylvie" by Daniel Hart (AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS)
- "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey (THE GREAT GATSBY)
- "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" performed by Oscar Isaacs & Marcus Mumford (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Com Truise - Declination (feat. Joel Ford)

Seth Haley a.k.a. Com Truise, an American electronic musician from New York has released a new song featuring Joel Ford.  Declination delivers his '80s signature with some smooth vocals.

Movies As Neon Signs

Animator/Illustrator Mike Whaite has created some fun gifs that display movies as neon signs.