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Best for those people already involved with making music for games.
Beep looks at the history of how sound has been used in arcade gaming. It reviews the experiences of the people who had to make the decisions, both technical and creative in order to get the best user experience they could from the hardware that was available at the time.
It uses an historical narrative starting with sound in arcade games even before electronics were used. It drills through the various platforms that became available to the industry as the technology and industry evolved. It interviews the very people who created some iconic games.
The film is divided into parts covering the various levels of computer hardware. In these parts, there seem to be two difference kinds of sequences.
At first, they briefly describe the era in question with some slides and graphics, then are a series of in-depth interviews with the people who worked on the games of that era.
These interviews are about 98% of the documentary.
The problem that I had, however, was that it seemed to be oriented toward those who had a deep knowledge of the games of these periods, the music that was in the games and which of these people worked on which games. The interviews are personal accounts of these creators experiences.
The presentation could have been greatly improved with some editing.
Greatly expand the "intro / explanation" parts and provide some recognizable examples of the titles and how the music / sound of these games fits in with the interviews which will then be shown.
THEN, and this would be so easy, as the interviewees are shown talking, include in their "title" the games they worked on. This was perhaps the most frustrating part as I was tempted to just watch this on my PC and google stuff as the video played to look up these people and what they worked on. We needed to see more screens of the games played and examples of their music. There were some. I needed more.
In the end, if you're NOT actually in the business of making music for video games watching this doc is like finding yourself in the middle of conversation between two people deeply involved in a hobby and you're NOT into that much.
So while the subject and the interviews are interesting, the lack of other information to give it context makes it too dry for people outside of the business. I stopped watching after about 20 minutes.
Louie: So Did the Fat Lady (2014)
One of the top 10 TV Episodes of All Time (of any show)
I've seen many feature movies with "big" stars which didn't live up to the quality of this episode.
Louie CK is pursued by an overweight girl working in the comedy club he's working in. Turning her away time and again, he ends up getting to know the girl and in return, the audience is treated to what is probably some of the finest dialogue and believable acting that's ever been on TV.
Louie CK got the Emmy for Writing for a Comedy Series in this year. This was, IMO, the reason why.
The other episodes in season 4 were outstanding but seriously, if they had held this episode back and built a movie around it to feature the last 20 minutes of this episode, that movie would have probably won an Oscar.
I recommend you go out of your way to see this.
The Addams Family (1991)
Beautiful, but boring. Humorous but not funny.
TV show was so much more *funny* than this, with slapstick jokes and sound effects. This movie loses the plot and tries to create a world different from the one which was created as an idea for a single panel comic and in a different time where the novelty has worn off.
The comic and the TV show were both products of a day when people were learning to break out of the conformity of the 50's and early 60's. "Goth" hadn't become an industry yet which stores in the mall catered to.
The TV show was *funny*. It wasn't "subtle". You didn't have to listen closely to the TV show to "get" it.
For example, there was a weekly sequence seeing "regular" people left running out of the house frightened for their lives, often using under cranked film (fast motion). (not unlike the stock joke of the Casper cartoons) In this movie, however, the house guests are about as weird as the Addams. There was no "contrast".
On TV, Jackie Coogan's Fester provided pure over the top belly laughs with a vaudeville like cadence. With his light bulb and self-destructive, one-man-three-stooges tricks (his regular headache cure gag), adding the sound effects made us all laugh out loud on a weekly basis.
And let's not forget the fact that the original TV show actors defined those roles, esp Carolyn Jones and the guy (pardon me) who played Lurch. In this, however, Lurch dropped into the background. "Thing" had a much bigger role (thanks to CGI, we completely lost "the box" which was kind of the joke). To be sure, Angelica Houston was very good, but I thought they played up the sex/romance a half-note too much for what was really a kids show.
Lastly, as a point of art, the TV show was in black and white, which was fitting for the macabre theme. This movie, however, was a lush production and the attention to detail was fantastic.
But furniture doesn't make me *laugh*. (although I remember the laugh track on the TV show tried to make us laugh at it) Often, movie adaptations of TV shows will take some lingering question from the TV show and actually address it. Like, where did Gomez and Morticia meet? What exactly is "Thing"? (who is way overdone in the movie, thanks to CGI) So many missed opportunities.
Instead, they create an story about Fester which was never part of the TV show, introducing a main character (the lawyer) which wasn't part of the original show, and again, focus on a very well done set design (yawn) to weave a story (the vault) which only takes you farther away from the characters you fell in love with or any real jokes.
Perhaps it's because we have so many more choices today that "humorous" doesn't cut it any more.
Interesting and pretty but outside of the pre-title sequence gag, simply not funny.
Disneyland: Man in Space (1955)
Shows the power of dreams combined with genius and hard work.
It's difficult to watch this today while keeping in mind that it was all made before the first satellite was launched years after it was made.
While the "Disney Magic" is ever present, and a great job by Ward Kimball, the real star of the show is Werner Von Braun, who gets to show that his technical genius and his ability to coordinate large technical projects was matched only by his personal charisma.
While "The Right Stuff" portrays him as inarticulate and brusk, and a recent History Channel presentation on the V2 portrayed him as an innocent, wide-eyed dreamer, with this film we can see how it was possible for the same man while in his 20's was able to convince Adolph Hitler to spend billions on developing the first ballistic missile, and then later go on to inspire John Kennedy to the point of adopting his dream of going to the moon and all but directly quoting Braun in his now famous speech.
And let's not ignore that this presentation pretty much served as a technical blueprint for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a reference not kept secret by Kubrick.
In the end, I believe this should be shown in schools today, not just as a lesson on history, rocketry and space flight, but to show the power of dreams and how a person who so dedicates themselves can literally end up taking that dream to the moon.
Knocking one off for some seriously dated elements. A cartoon character used to illustrate space flight is seen constantly smoking a cigar. Then there's the music. I find it fascinating how much Westerns influenced the culture of the day, as many of the musical fanfares have Western and Native American overtones which are now distracting.
Like getting little moments stolen from you until you have nothing left.
Sure this MAY contain spoilers, but the thing that will be more spoiled is your time by watching it. It took me a while to realize it was a "PG-13" movie, but then I realized I didn't hear any "naughty" words. This is a teenage bank robbery / hostage flick.
That would explain why people talk like teenagers, and that the cop in charge acts like a teenager, instead of like all of other hostage negotiators you may have seen in all of those "R" rated bank hostage movies. ("R" for "realistic") The biggest problem was that it was trying SO HARD to be funny, or witty, or whatever, and it was just STUPID.
Quick question for those who've seen the film. Do banks have PHONES any more? I believe they DO, but you wouldn't know it if you saw this movie. I just remember one ringing RIGHT AWAY with the cop in charge calling in like the first 3 minutes of just about every other bank hostage flick I've ever seen. I also remember the cop-in-charge REALLY knowing what he's doing, too, you know, like he's taken a class or something.
The thing that I find a real shame about this is that, technically, it was well made - all the pieces where there. The story wasn't really bad, as an outline. The DIALOG was a BIG problem, along with the lack of believable characters, and editing that was too smart for itself by way of "lock, stock and two smoking barrels" whose self-conscience style has infected cinema with its small-screen editing and overlays. Please give me a long shot and some atmosphere! There's one good thing about this film, however, Erika Christensen is HOT, and seriously, if it weren't for her, I would have stopped this within the first half hour.
Don't bother if you're not a 13 year old boy... (minor spoilers)
There are so many problems with this movie, but they can be all explained away when it becomes obvious that this movie was geared to teen-aged boys.
When you get that, everything else in Next becomes understandable...
You can now understand why there is absolutely no detail given for the terrorists' backgrounds, motives, or how they got the bomb, why they're exploding it, let alone how their ethnic grouping suddenly mixes up throughout the movie.
You can understand it because a 13 year old boy would respond, "Who cares?, they're TERRORISTS, it's a BOMB! That's all I need to know!"
You can now understand why virtually no background / history was given on Nicholas Cage's character, along with what the hell was Peter Falk doing in this movie?
You can understand it because a 13 year old boy would respond, "Who cares?, he can tell the future!"
You can now understand how Jessica Biel, who is SMOKIN' in this movie, is able to virtually fall in love with a complete stranger overnight.
You can understand it because a 13 year old boy would respond, "Who cares?, she's HOT, and I'd like for her to fall in love with me too!"
You can now understand the completely unrealistic, dumbed-down dialog, inferior to Fox TV's 24, which bends over backwards so many times to explain obvious things while simultaneously letting great opportunities for intelligence and humor pass by.
You can understand it because a 13 year old boy would respond, "Whaaa? Did they say something? Jessica Biel is HOT!"
And you can also understand why this movie fails to favorably compare not just to other mindless Nicholas Cage action movies, but to other action (and sci-fi, whatever) movies in general.
You can understand it because a 13 year old boy would respond, "What other movies?"
If you're a 13 year old boy, go ahead, Jessica Biel IS hot...
If you're not a 13 year old boy - READ for 90 minutes, play video games anything would be a better use of your time...
I thank you for letting me write this, maybe by preventing you from seeing Next, I can feel I didn't completely waste 90 minutes of my life..
The Gravedancers (2006)
Surprisingly stupid and not that frightening.
I was AMAZED at how BAD this was. I'm not talking about the usual horror movie criticisms. This was POORLY CRAFTED.
One of the MANY movie Gravedancers TRIES to rip off is the very successful Grudge. While the plot of The Grudge was thin and illogical, it was well crafted enough to deliver a scary, jolting, yell-out-loud thrill ride. My experience, however, was that The Grudge didn't hold up to a second viewing.
Gravedancers didn't stand up to my FIRST viewing. I stopped after an hour.
While Gravedancers manages to be thin and illogical, it is also stupid, poorly / over acted and derivative. It borrows so much from other films it's almost like watching a 'straight' version of one of the "Scary Movie" comedies.
But Gravedancers commits the worse crime of all. It's BORING.
Oh, and don't expect gory / creative deaths to be in the works. Really, there is NOTHING here for what I could think to be the target audience. (don't expect the otherwise delicious Josie Maran to be seen in her underwear) Seriously, many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which you may recognize Clare Kramer from) were more intense, and certainly more entertaining.
If you can't do better than a TV show, IMO, you should even try.
Daydream Believer (2001)
Low budget film shows you don't need big bucks...
This film was shot on a shoestring, seemingly with home video equipment. The story is one of a young woman who decides to take a chance and make it in acting in New York.
What follows, however, is not a typical Hollywood story. The film takes you through various stages of hope and disappointment.
The real feature of this film, however, is that in spite of a shoestring budget and occasionally distracting editing, there is not a false moment or character in this film.
Even at this small budget, the film presents supporting actors who may seem over the top for big budget fare, but are spot on for their reality as I have witnessed it in the Big Apple (I'm esp thinking about the woman director). For not flinching at presenting such characters in their full dimension, while not losing reality, this movie deserves praise.
Most of all, we believe and care about the characters, something which many big screen productions fail to do.
The story shows the descent of this young woman who has risked it all to fullfill her "That Girl" dream. Instead, however, she is greeted with one nightmare after the other.
The ending presents resolution, but be prepared for a bumpy ride.
I recommend this film.
Diary of a Madman (1963)
Ahh! The HORLA????
Could the Horla be some kind of code word for... MR. HYDE? This story is a tame rehash of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, only the Horla is some kind of evil spirit that jumps from man to man.
The Diary is read after Price's death to tell the story in flashback of a man who loses his mind and ends up committing murder beyond his control. A bit tame by the standard set by Vincent Price's other work. While Price's turns in a fine performance as the gentle but tormented "Dr. Jekyll" character, the deeds of the Horla are done invisibly. Price's other films present wider ranges and better plot devices than the "Horla" delivers.
This film does present, however, some very nice lighting effects. The color is rich along with the set design and costumes. The production reminded me of other Price classics including House of Wax and The Mad Magician (although this piece is vastly inferior).
Indeed, the lighting is the real star here, as most every shot is lit like a fine painting. I used to be a furniture catalog photographer (ugh!) and appreciated how everything 'pops' out in classic Kodak tradition.
The story is purely psychological, however, and is suitable for those times when the grandparents are over along with your friends and their 6 year old (although they would be bored out of their minds).
It is not a classic.
The "Mystery Men" of 2001!
I suppose one of the problems of dealing with one of these modern (i.e.: digital) special effects movies is that people can be tricked into thinking that "the special effects will be SO GOOD, we don't NEED acting, a story or believable characters and situations!"
Men in Black was an inspired movie. This tries SO HARD to be Men in Black (in a different tailored suit), only it lacks the inspiration and the humor. Sure, Ivan Reitman also directed Ghostbusters, but this movie has NO similarity to that film in plot, location, theme, etc. except for the director. Reitman, however, is NOT an auteur. Why people are comparing it to Ghostbusters is beyond me. This was supposed to be a Men in Black knockoff.
The only thing is that Orlando Jones is no Will Smith and David Duchovny is no Tommy Lee Jones.
Was this supposed to be a funny movie? For the length of this film I watched it asking myself over and over again, "So, they thought THAT was supposed to be funny?"
Remember Mystery Men? Remember how SOMEONE thought people would laugh out loud because of the set design? Did the same people make this?
Seeing ordinary and otherwise innocent people being put in the way of dangerous creatures does not strike me as funny. For some reason, the makers of this film were just BURSTING with glee as they imagined this flying dinosaur with big teeth (and it was not a funny looking dinosaur) flying around a mall terrorizing ordinary people. This was not The Blues Brothers, however. At no time during the Blues Brothers did I feel that someone in the mall scene was actually going to die.
Also:David Duchovny. I am beginning to believe that his monotone "Joe Friday" impersonation represents more than just a small part of his repertoire.