Compare & Contrast

Our first production assignment in film school was to film and edit together a silent short, then give it a soundtrack that completely altered the emotional response of the viewer. It was a demonstration of the equally-matched emotional power of picture and sound. It was a challenging exercise.

Today, I present you with two videos, both of which use nearly the same soundtrack, but with different pictures. This inverts the exercise. Watch them both, then

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Photo of Movie Pirate on Drudge?

I'm looking forward to James Cameron's Avatar just like everyone else. But when I saw this photo on a Drudge Report headline about the film, I got a little upset.

Photo by John Shearer, Getty Images, 2009

Is that person in the aisle seat of the second row videotaping the movie off the screen? Am I the only one who sees this?

Never ever ever videotape a movie in the theater. That's called stealing, and

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Zombieland, Paranormal Activity, & The Informant!

Being unemployed, I can go to the cinema on a Tuesday morning and see three pictures in a row. This is precisely what I did this week. I saw three films. The theater was also playing Michael Moore's latest barf-fest, but I decided that I've had nothing to say about Michael Moore for years now and wouldn't want to ruin a good thing.

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<em>Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince</em>


I did take time out of my absurd schedule to go see Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince at midnight on Wednesday. Which reminds me how irritating it is when I go buy a ticket for "12:00am Tuesday" for a 12:00am Wednesday showing. That people and movie theatres cannot figure out the midnight thing confuses and infuriates me. I know movie theatres count midnight showings as part of the business day preceding,

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Beware Spoilers!

My sister and I went to see wall·e this afternoon.

After the extraordinary success of Ratatouille, I had high expectations for Pixar. Pixar has consistently offered excellent films with lovable characters, engaging stories, and exquisite imagery. When Disney bought out the studio, I was seriously worried that their independence and creativity would suffer -- Disney's in-house animation projects had been famously bad up to that point. Home on the Range and Brother

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Indiana Jones Jumps the Shark

Spoilers, as usual.

The sum and substance of my Indy IV experience consisted of me repeatedly chanting at the screen:

Please don't let it be aliens!
Please don't let it be aliens!
Please don't let it be aliens!

Guess what?

It was aliens.

Each of the first three films had a supernatural element--The Ark melted Belloq's face, the Shankara Stones burned through Indy's WWII Mark VII British gas mask bag, and the Holy Grail healed

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<em>Iron Man</em>

Oh well. At least it wasn't awful.

Two words spring immediately to mind: formulaic and shallow. Not that there's anything wrong with being formulaic and shallow - indeed many formulaic and shallow pictures nonetheless rake in the big bucks - but formulas become predictable, and predictability kills immersion unless the characters are interesting enough. Here, they weren't. They just weren't developed enough to make me care.

Batman Begins follows much the same formula, but in

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Why Laserdisc Still Rocks

Some movies just aren't available in any other format. I once had a roommate who had a large collection of movies on laserdisc that were either unavailable on DVD or were otherwise greatly superior to the DVD versions. Among them was The Cheap Detective, written by Neil Simon and starring Peter Falk, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Stockard Channing, Sid Ceasar, Dom DeLuise, Abe Vigoda, and a half-score of others in a WWII detective spoof. It

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I am giving serious consideration to not watching the Academy Awards for the first time in . . . counts on fingers . . . nine years.

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Indy IV

The first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is up. They're calling it a teaser, but I don't think it really fits that description, what with having actual movie footage and dialogue in it.

[HT: Flibbert]

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<em>There Will Be Blood</em>

Spoilers, as always.

My sister and I went to see There Will Be Blood yesterday.

Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!, on which the film is based, is little in evidence, thankfully. I do not enjoy Sinclair, because his narratives expect the reader to sympathize with his Socialist views. I am a miserable failure at sympathizing with Socialists.

I was worried that There Will Be Blood would be all anti-industrial in theme, and it mostly wasn't. The

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Over-the-Shoulder Boulder Holder

William Gluckin & Co. v. Int'l. Playtex Corp., 407 F.2d 177 (2d Cir. 1969), is an opinion upholding the issuance of a preliminary injunction against Playtex, manufacturer of, ahem, ladies' support garments, prohibiting Playtex from prosecuting a lawsuit it had filed against Woolworth & Co. for selling brassieres manufactured by Gluckin at Woolworth's stores in Georgia. See, what happened was this: Playtex had a patent, and Gluckin (allegedly) infringed the patent and sold the

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Expect subtle spoilers.

I went to see Atonement this afternoon. I was a tad disappointed.

First of all, the movie couldn't decide which story it was trying to tell. I wanted a love story. It was supposed to be a love story. But it couldn't focus on the romance. It spends reels 1-3 and 6-7 on Birony's story of guilt and atonement, while reels 4 and 5 are spent on Robbie's WWII Interlude. It spends

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The Take

This Christmas saw the addition of 53 titles to my DVD collection. Here they are:

  1. 9 to 5
  2. A View to a Kill
  3. Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy
  4. Batman
  5. Batman Returns
  6. Blade Runner
  7. Dial M For Murder
  8. Diamonds Are Forever
  9. Die Another Day
  10. Dr. No
  11. Family Plot
  12. Foreign Correspondent
  13. For Your Eyes Only
  14. Frenzy
  15. From Russia with Love
  16. Goldeneye
  17. Goldfinger
  18. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  19. I Confess
  20. License to Kill
  21. Live and
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The Golden Compass Preshow

Before watching The Golden Compass, I got to sit through lots of ads and trailers.

Citizen Soldier

The National Guard has a new and appallingly bad recruiting campaign, featuring a (commissioned?) "song" and "music video" by allegedly "popular" alternative rock band, 3 Doors Down.

The video, which is over four minutes long, cuts between shots of the band performing on a blasted heath under a tenebrous sky (complete with bad, fake anamorphic lens flare), shots

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<em>The Golden Compass</em>

Achtung! This post is full of spoilage. It assumes you've read the books and seen the film. If you don't want either spoiled, go away!

I was neither disappointed nor blown away.

The film begins with a somewhat awkward prologue explaining the whole parallel worlds slash dust slash daemons slash Magesterium thing. When it started, I was somewhat upset, because I felt it explained too much up front instead of letting us discover these things

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Warners made a boo-boo.

Photo c/o

[Aside: I'm only partially motivated to put this photo here because it already matches my color scheme. Okay, maybe 60% motivated.]

See, Sweeney Todd, the alleged demon barber of Fleet Street, was purportedly hanged at the Old Bailey in 1802. The events of the story (and musical, and film) are based on his life, and can therefore not take place any later than 1802. The Clock Tower at Westminster (which houses the famous bell, Big Ben) did not begin construction until after the old Palace was destroyed in 1834,

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