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Showing posts from August, 2012

What Makes A Good Movie - Revisited!

So, when I first posted this blog entry, my mom and I had been talking, a lot, about what makes a good movie: Is it good acting?  More on this later. Good writing? Interesting characters? Nice sets? Good lighting? A well written score? Great directing? Good editing?  (And pacing) Is it the "bits and pieces" or is it the whole darn thing? (The "sum of the parts", as it were). For me, a  good movie  must be 'good' on the whole, otherwise we're talking about a particularly good element. If the movie is crap but the acting is great, then the movie had good acting, but isn't a 'good movie.' And I'm certainly not saying that I can't enjoy a movie that has 'good elements' - I just won't call it a 'good movie.' The two biggest sticking points for me are usually story and acting, although I've also found that effects and production value are pretty close to the top of the list as well. Story  A good

Direct To Video Picks For August 2012: Zombies

Zombies . Regardless of their origin (evil ancient gods, government experiments, comets, voodoo curses, etc.) zombies have always been an easy metaphor for humanity's propensity for mindless behavior. And although zombies are so VERY overdone right now, this month's direct to video picks are all zombie movies. Despite the overwhelming, shall we call it, "popularity" of zombies, I want to remind people that there are still some great zombie movies out there. And there are some 'okay' and 'interesting' zombie movies still being made. After my last foray into video picks got a little unwieldy, I've decided to keep these movie descriptions a bit short so I can tackle three of them. Boy Eats Girl (2005) The Skinny A teenage boy dies, his mother brings him back to life, and a zombie rampage follows. Ah, high school... Type of zombie(s) Good old voodoo. Usually this origin is reserved for tropical island dwellers so it's inter

Two For The Price Of One: Rare Exports & Troll Hunter

As always - I'm warning you that there are spoilers in this blog post. Read on at your own risk. There's something about Scandinavian movies; this completely deadpan sense of absurdity where you're not sure if they really take themselves that seriously or if they just know satire that much better than the rest of us dolts. I've recently had the pleasure of watching Toll Hunter (which was less terrible than I imagined it would be) and Rare Exports (which was very enjoyable and fairly unique.) Both movies seem to benefit from a significantly richer mythologically based culture then we have here in the US; each skillfully tackling our "misconceptions" about fantasy characters - transforming them into terrifying, nightmare creatures. It's as though these movies call us out on our complacency, warning us that the diluted versions of fairytales that we tell ourselves are making us vulnerable and stupid. As a side note, last month's direct to video

What Is Genre And Why Should I Care?

There are terms that always seem to come up when talking about films: director, actor, plot, theme, score, etc. These terms are all self-explanatory; no one ever asks, ‘what’s a director?’ However, there are other terms that are equally common but less clear: genre, sub-genre, auteur, oeuvre, etc. These terms are more abstract then ‘director’ or ‘actor.’ It is entirely likely that someone will ask, ‘what is genre, anyway?’ This question specifically is what I will be answering with this paper. The answer to the question ‘what is genre,’ is multi-layered: genre is a means of classification. Genre is a means of communication. Genre is a means of understanding films. Genre is a means of relating to films. To one person all movies rated “PG” are a genre – possibly one also known as “children’s movies” – while to another all movies with similar topics treated in similar ways are a genre: i.e. movies dealing with frontier life depicted in a nostalgic manner are a genre often kn