Author Topic: Random Reviews  (Read 180585 times)

mo

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3390 on: June 16, 2017, 03:24:56 PM »
I watched Fury Road again a couple nights ago, and, just to use it as an example, some of the action scenes are built out of so many short shots, and each is shown for such a brief amount of time that it's really not clear what is even happening. I'm sure to the people who put it all together it must appear amazing, and technically, it probably is. It's probably really tedious and complicated, like building an animation (not Harryhausen animation, building graphically). But to watch, it's just a mess, incomprehensible and about as comfortable to watch as staring at a strobe light. I can't help but feeling they're trying to hide some mistake by making it faster and swoopier.

In Fury Road, they speed up some of the shots of vehicles, as they did in the original Mad Max movies, and as they have done since the beginning of film to make things look like they're moving faster. And it's done in an obvious and stylistic way that I appreciate. I think one of the problems is when objects are too close to the [virtual] lens and moving too fast.

I'm sure age plays a factor in enjoying this type of thing. Maybe my eyes and brain just can't keep up with it. Sometimes I wonder if my TV is capable of displaying it. Maybe if you've played a lot of video games with lousy graphics, you're more impressed by this stuff.

On second watching, I was able to separate the effects that annoyed me from everything else and I was able to enjoy it a lot more.
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random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3391 on: June 16, 2017, 05:10:15 PM »
A big thing is that the way this used to be done is that you'd storyboard what you wanted to have happen, right?  The storyboard looks sort of like a simplified comic book rendition of the movie.  Then you'd try to make the storyboard happen, more or less, for the camera, with additional FX done in the studio.  Editing was largely a matter of choosing which shot came out best, controlling the speed of the film, making the lighting match, and so on.

A lot of the FX were done "in camera", meaning using things in the actual view of the camera.  If you watch, for instance, The Living Daylights, there's a scene where they ride horses across a bridge, just in front of tanks and trucks, and then the bridge blows up.  In reality, they rode horses and drove the vehicles over a different-looking bridge in a master shot, and in the foreground was a perfectly placed tiny bridge that looked the way the director wanted.  And they blew up the tiny bridge.  The placement was such that the prop blocks out the real bridge.

Cheap, effective if done properly.  BUT you have to get it right during shooting.  Similarly, in the Roger Moore one where he flies the plane sideways between the closing warehouse doors, only one of the doors was real, and the other was a picture of a door attached to the front of the camera.  Again, really cheap, and, again, you can't fix it easily in the studio three months later.

Nowadays, the FX are mostly CGI, so a VAST amount of 'filming' occurs after the fact, in a studio, where you can play with it endlessly.  Once the models are built, yadda yadda, you can change your mind about which direction Shrek should be facing or how the virtual camera should move around the virtual aircraft, etc, etc. 

And splicing camera shots is digital, not something you do with film stock.  As a result, it's now easier to film a ton of shit and then use that footage like Legos to assemble the actual movie.  Usually the results are choppy and shitty as hell, but they represent a vast amount of work, and that impresses Hollywood people.

But you've probably heard Ewan MacGregor complaining about filming Star Wars stuff in hugely repeating loops of ten seconds or less, sitting or standing on a box in a green room, not even talking back and forth with other actors because the dialogue would be cut together from pieces, too.

It won't be long before we'll have movies where it's all digital performance, CGI characters voiced by Vocaloids.  Free-form animation.  I don't know if it's going to get better before it gets worse.

And, of course, then, too, it's easier to floyd than to deliver.  You can suggest an action or horror scene by doing a lot of fast noisy cuts.  Jackie Chan would take weeks to film a big fight scene, whereas a Bourne film (not to pick on Bourne) can do two days of action gestures, throw it in a blender, add sound effects, and it's done.

mo

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3392 on: June 16, 2017, 06:57:12 PM »
And, of course, then, too, it's easier to floyd than to deliver.  You can suggest an action or horror scene by doing a lot of fast noisy cuts.  Jackie Chan would take weeks to film a big fight scene, whereas a Bourne film (not to pick on Bourne) can do two days of action gestures, throw it in a blender, add sound effects, and it's done.

Yeah, this is basically what I'm referring to.

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As a result, it's now easier to film a ton of shit and then use that footage like Legos to assemble the actual movie.  Usually the results are choppy and shitty as hell...

This is, of course, popular in audio commercial voice-over work now. They want to cram in more words per second, so they eliminate the microsecond between sentences.
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random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3393 on: June 17, 2017, 02:59:46 PM »
OH MY GOD, speaking of which.

OK, so, I'm petsitting for my brother at the moment, and he has some kind of incomprehensible cable with a jillion channels I never heard of before.  Whatever.  But I haven't had cable or seen broadcast TV in years now, and the ads now are a complete assault.  It's kind of funny and kind of sad.

The pace, yeah, is up near those old Micro Machines ads with John Moschitta, and they're SO BAD, almost every single one, that it's a little stupefying.  Which I guess must be the point.  The only ads I've been hearing about are the ones amusing enough to be talked about online, so I didn't realize how horrible they'd become in general.

Also, horrifying, the sheer number of BE AFRAID OF [WHATEVER] ads aimed at old people (seriously, we can't be far from Robot Insurance ads) and how many ads there are aimed at young women where they say You're Tough, You Can Do Anything, But You Probably Smell Bad Because You're A Woman (or something similar) And It's Gonna Ruin Your Life.

FFS.

mo

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3394 on: June 17, 2017, 03:38:16 PM »
I have this vague recollection from the 70's that I was promised a future without commercials if I were willing to pay for "cable" TV. Broadcast TV would always have commercials, but this new thingee would be commercial-free. I should have got it in writing.

It is so bad with Comcast now. If you're an advertiser, you can guarantee a viewer will see your commercial regardless of what show they watch if you're willing to pay enough and the viewer has Comcast. If you watch something on-demand, these special commercials play at the beginning of every show, and on some shows, the commercial will play on every commercial break. There are a handful of commercials I have seen a million times. It's really insulting from a viewer's standpoint, even if you weren't paying out the ass for the pleasure.

I will not mention the sponsors, in case those evil bastards have a robot listening.

And I just got an email announcing Comcast cellular phone service.
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random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3395 on: June 18, 2017, 11:40:51 AM »
Best you can do, most likely, is write to the sponsors, say their ad rotation is hopelessly annoying, and say you're going to boycott them and organize a Facebook boycott if Comcast doesn't knock it off.

random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3396 on: June 27, 2017, 10:08:07 AM »
I saw most of Black Mass, a strange 2015 film about Whitey Bulger.  Terrific ensemble cast, including Johnny Depp in the lead role, which is (blessedly) hugely different from his usual Look At Me Being So Weird sort of role.

It's an incredible story, too, and almost completely true.  Mid-level drug-dealing murderous pedophile gangster in South Boston becomes a top-level gangster because (A) his brother is the President of the state senate and (B) a childhood friend of his is an FBI agent who arranges for Bulger to have federal protection so long as he feeds them information (or pretends to) about some Mafia guys in North Boston.  It goes so far that the FBI buddy warns Bulger when federal agents or their informers are closing in, so Bulger can have them killed. 

Bulger was also involved with running guns to the IRA, and he conveniently won millions in the state lottery with a ticket sold at a store he owned.  Go figure!

Frankly, it's a much better story than Goodfellas and was partly used as the inspiration for The Departed, too.

Unfortunately, the film doesn't quite work.  For one thing, it's patterned unsuccessfully after Goodfellas.  A lot of stuff happened over the years (go figure), and frankly not all of it has ever been pieced together, and not everything the feds did or found out has been released to the public, and yadda yadda.  Several people involved in the whole mess (including Bulger associates) have released books, which don't entirely agree.

So even with a Goodfellas-esque narration to try to stitch it together, it struggles enormously to be coherent.  Especially since so much of it takes place in FBI offices, etc, where the narrator doesn't know what occurred.  It also keeps getting sidetracked by scenes of graphic violence apparently meant to either thrill the audience or demonstrate what a jerk Bulger is.  The scenes don't entirely convince, though, and portraying Bulger as just a psycho misses the point, because he wasn't just a psycho. 

I think the film goes off the rails in its attempt to make the FBI the principle villain.  The narrator even says Bulger wouldn't have become a big shot if the FBI hadn't helped him out, which, OK, it made a big difference.  But the film frequently seems to think Bulger was just a homicidal lunatic, which undercuts Depp and makes Bulger less interesting.  At the same time, the FBI guys fight among themselves, but I didn't really feel the sense of things spinning out of control in the bigger picture.

It's a shame, because it's really a striking performance from Depp.  But the movie's kind of a mess.  It really feels like the script went through too many revisions, and like the studio maybe had the wrong idea about what kind of film it should end up as.

mo

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3397 on: June 27, 2017, 01:43:29 PM »
I saw that, but I don't remember much about it. It blends in with several other movies and documentaries.

Bulger was mentioned in that History Channel series on the drug war.

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He later told mobster Kevin Weeks, that while there, he was involved in the MK-ULTRA program, the goal of which was to research mind-control drugs for the Central Intelligence Agency. For 18 months Bulger and 18 other inmates, all of whom had volunteered in return for reduced sentences, were given LSD and other drugs.

Depp also played George Jung, who was also mentioned in that.

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A lot of stuff happened over the years (go figure), and frankly not all of it has ever been pieced together

And probably never will be. Even if it is, we will never know if the version that goes down as historic fact is really the truth. That was part of the issue with that series. However, it's obvious there's an underlying fantastic story there, and maybe the uncertainty adds a bit of fantasy/mystery quality to it that's appealing as well as aggravating.
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random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3398 on: June 27, 2017, 02:14:14 PM »
Yeah.  It's not just that the truth may never be known.  It's also that Bulger and his pals had a shitload of schemes over the years, often at the same time, often but not always overlapping.  Some of them led to a logical conclusion, and a lot of them no doubt went shitwire off into bizarre complications and were abandoned.

Meanwhile, everybody who knows anything about them has one incentive or another to embellish them or cover up details.

What are you gonna do?  :shrug:  It takes a mighty editor to turn them into a straight line.

random axe

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Re: Random Reviews
« Reply #3399 on: July 07, 2017, 03:11:38 PM »
Took me forever to see the whole thing, but I finally finished watching Crimson Peak.

The first half is pretty phenomenal and made me wish it was a series instead of a film.  The second half was only OK, but not bad.

All in all, worth seeing, I think.