Friday, November 30, 2012

Les Miserables

While I was home over break I went to the movie theater 3 times.... well i personally lover previews and always have to get to the movie theater 15 minutes prior to the start of it so i can see whats coming out. One of the films that they were talking about was Les Miserables. It was originally a musical and is now being turned into a featured length film. The interesting thing about this film is that they are not pre recording the music before filming the music. They are going to have the actors sing on set so they they can change up their emotions and how they play to role as much as they want. This allows the actors much more freedom with their roles. I am very interested in seeing how this movie turns out and am excited for it to get to theaters!

And to all you haters I finally made a blog post deadline!!!! GO TORI!

Childhood Television Shows

With the recent news that Boy Meets World is being rebooted and coming back with some of the old characters, I started thinking about some of the shows I watched as a child and what I learned from them.  One of the shows that was my favorite to watch back when I was younger was Drake & Josh.  This show involved a lot of sibling conflict which was fun and entertaining.  Watching this show when I was younger, it taught me how to solve conflict with my friends and sister.  It showed me how important it is for family to get along.  Rocket Power was another show I was very fond of in my younger years.  As I was very into playing outside when I was younger (like most kids) this show was a great way to be entertained with other kids playing extreme sports.  This show really taught me how fun being a kid should be and that there are important lessons to learn as well.  As these kids shows no longer air, there are more and more new shows being directed towards kids.  It is important that these shows teach important lessons and don't brainwash our young kids with things that are stupid like honey booboo and crazy moms.

Days of Futures Past

Alright it’s time to let my nerd flag fly. Big news was announced this week when Bryan Singer announced on twitter that both Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart would be returning to the X-Men universe.  They will both be appearing in the sequel to 2011’s X-Men First Class titled X-Men: Days of Futures Past. What this does for the direction of the film is still unknown but with the rumors that Huge Jackman is in negotiations to join the film as well I believe we will see this film bring The original x-men trilogy merge with the First Class Universe. In the comics the story line for Days of Futures Past involved time travel and I would think with the recent announcements and rumors we could see that aspect transfer to the film version. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Big Bang.....again?

Admittedly, I do not watch as much TV as I should for a TV-R  major but I happen to catch a few shows in between classes. Aside from American Horror Story, which is my favorite television show of all time, I watch The Big Bang Theory on CBS. The Big Bang Theory originally aired on CBS in 2007 and has recently been renewed for three more seasons. The show became CBS' highest-rated evening show. I started watching this show for the simple fact that it was always on. After watching about four episodes I realized that I actually enjoyed the show and was pleased by the familiar cast which features Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki. I do not go out of my way to watch this show but I definitely don't mind watching it when it's on. It think the show provides enough comedy to momentarily fill my entertainment void.

The character that attracted me the most to the show was Sheldon Cooper Ph.D, played by Jim Parsons. I was attracted to his character because of the complexity and intelligence he brought to the show, which I usually don't see on CBS. I was fascinated by his obsession with routines and very obvious lack of social skills. His lack of common sense and knowledge of  his surroundings creates a comedic effect of his methodological behavior.  Sheldon is constantly reminding his roommates and neighbor about their human flaws and plays as the nuisance of their relationships. Jim Parsons does an excellent job playing Sheldon Cooper and has won two Primetime Emmy Awards, a  Golden Globe Award, and a Critics' Choice Television Award for his performance

I think that The Big Bang Theory is definitely a show worth checking out if you'r ecruising through the channels on your TV or are interested in some intelligent humor. I am glad that I was exposed to this show and think that it is one of the better shows I have watched in the last 3 years, on basic cable.  Anyhow, check out the clip below of Sheldon.



This past week I watched a movie by experimental "punk nihilist" filmmaker Gaspar Noé called "Irréversible." I was intrigued because I'd already seen another of Noé's films a couple years ago, his mind-bending virtual acid trip of a movie, "Enter The Void." Irréversible was very similar in the way it was shot, complete with disorienting 720 degree camera movements and gritty depiction of urban life. Irréversible even has an ultra low-frequency soundtrack (done by Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk) designed to unsettle the audience. I'd first heard of this film when I was reading A.V. Club's Inventory of "Great Films Too Painful To Watch Twice." The fact that this film was included in this list should tip you off to what kind of movie this is.

"Irréversible" starts at the end, "Memento" style, and works its way backwards. As the film opens we see an enraged Vincent Cassel frantically searching for a man named "La Tenia" through a gay nightclub in Paris. Cassel believes he's found him and engages in a crazy violent brawl. It isn't until later that we find out the source of his fury. Cassel, his girlfriend played by Monica Bellucci, and another friend are at a party when Bellucci finds herself frustrated with Cassel's obnoxious inebriation and decides to leave the party by herself. We see her unsuccessfully try and hail a taxi before giving up and deciding to make the fatal mistake of walking home alone by way of an underpass. When Bellucci enters, she encounters a man who brutally rapes and beats her. The whole thing is done in one shot, lasting nearly 10 horrible minutes. After, the film continues to go back in time, where we see Cassel and Bellucci in their apartment, completely happy and in love. The sickest thing is seeing both of these characters' pure, untouched lives when all the while we know the horror that awaits them.

The film has been deemed by many people to be unwatchable because of the violence and plain horrible scenarios it depicts. However, as hard as this movie was to sit through, I thought it was extremely well done and very interesting. As Roger Ebert pointed out in his review of the movie, the film forces us to think about the fragility of life. He says, "What a slender thread all happiness depends on.. and to know the future would not be a blessing but a curse. Life would be unlivable without the innocence of our ignorance."

Seeing this film, in addition to "Enter The Void," has made me really intrigued by Noé's work. He is a very unorthodox director, and his intent is to make audiences experience film in a new, albiet, disturbing and uncomfortable ways. Noé has been rumored to currently be working on the Brett Easton Ellis penned "Golden Suicides" as well as working with Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives." I'm interested to see what he does in the future.

The Endless Summer

I saw this title on Netflix and was obviously attracted to it from its pretty cover, but I remembered that we spoke about this documentary briefly in class. I also have a shirt that says it, but I had never watched it. So I decided to watch The Endless Summer. I had no idea what it was about going in. I did not even know it was a documentary. At first, I was bored, waiting for something to happen... But then I realized how beautiful it was. Obviously, the whole entire frame of pretty much the whole movie is filled with the ocean and waves. So just staring at it is really awesome. In a lot of the scenes, the sun is at a place in the sky that it is reflecting off the water so magically. The colors are really cool and eventually the narrators voice is soothing.
This basically just shows the technique and the art of surfing, and it follows two surfers on a journey they go on to find an "endless summer". They travel around the world following the season of summer and surf all day long. They show really awesome places and different kinds of waves. The two surfers have such a routine for going into waters they have never been in. It is a classic documentary that I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


There's not much else needed to be said. Anyone who has followed the TV show Dexter knows how intense it is and how it leaves the viewers on the edge of their seat. I watched a few seasons, stopped, and just got back into it so I admit I've been off my game for a while. But I literally cannot wait for the next episode each time the week comes around.


However, this last episode had me a little thrown off. Maybe because Dexter is starting to break out of what we know him to be. His relationship with Hannah has always had me a little iffy, because I was so surprised to see him so willing to open up to someone for the first time the way he does with her. She causes him to do things completely out of his character. For instance, as a result of her being kidnapped by Isaak, he helps Isaak out with his would be assassins, and stabs one of them like it was nothing right in the middle of a shooting range. We all know this is WAY too messy for Dexter's liking.  Hannah is corrupting our much loved character!

I was also very sad to see Isaak killed off. I'm not sure how they would've went about it, but I would've loved to see some kind of relationship come about between Dexter and Isaak. They had a great dynamic and the dialogue between them was always so compelling.

I also wish they would address Deb's feelings for Dexter a bit more. That was a HUGE thing to drop on him and they are continuing their lives as if it didn't happen.

While I acknowledge there are some minor holes/things that bother me about Dexter, it's still a fantastic show. Definitely a great example of the kind of thing I'd hope to work on in the future :)



Hello everyone!
I wanted to share some great information with all the Ithacan's who are searching for props and other free items for films!

Take It Or Leave It, in Clarke Hall in the basement, they have a ton of free stuff! Also if you're looking to get rid of some stuff before moving out of Ithaca soon, drop off your unwanted things instead of throwing them away! It's supported by the Eco Reps on campus! It's a great program and I think we should all support them!

Here's a link to their information

I didn't find a whole lot of props needed for my final projet but, I did find a whole lot of really good set dressing there!
I hope the spread of this information proves useful for TIOLI as well as my fellow art department people in Ithaca!

Game 2:

1: "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too."
2: "I'm King of the world!"
3: "Rosebud"
4: "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers."
5: "Go do that Voodoo that you do so well!"
6: "No dice, soldier."
7: "You idiots! These are not them! You've captured their stuntdoubles!"
9: "Shut the F*ck up, Donny!"
10: "Squirrel!"

Don't cheat!! ;-)

Also here's a trailer for the last movie I watched.
Breathless 1983 by Jim McBride

Meh, it was alright. I'm not exactly sure how this wound up in my instant queue. I watched it anyways and it was alright. If you're borred enough you could watch it and it wouldn't be a complete waste of time.

Almost Famous

Over break I watched "Almost Famous," a movie about a 15 year old named William (played wonderfully by Patrick Fugit) who, as a writer for Rolling Stone, follows the rock band Stillwater in order to write an article about the up and coming band. The movie is semi-autobiographical, based on the life of writer-director Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire," "Elizabethtown"), who really wrote for Rolling Stone Magazine.

William lives with his strict, feminist mother (Frances McDormand from "Fargo") who hesitantly lets him go to concerts, giving the mantra of "Don't Take Drugs!." He meets Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), a  band aid (a non-sexualized groupie) who introduces him to Stillwater. Penny Lane is a manic pixie girl, charming and cute, dispensing wisdom and guiding the hero through the movie.In Stillwater, he meets Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup) and Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee), the two big personalities of the band. He bonds with the band and the band aids on the road, all while getting calls from his mother and trying to wrestle interviews out of Hammond.

The movie has great performances, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as Will's mentor, and it is a very cute and funny movie. I highly recommend the film and apparently there is a director's cut that expands upon the story and characters. The movie is a love story to the rock'n'roll era of the late 1960s/early 1970s, with great music all through the film, ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to Led Zeppelin.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Over the break I watched Brave with my family after Thanksgiving dinner. It was a cute movie with a good message. I thought that the animation was very well done. Pixar has come a long way with their animation and this was by far one of their best animated films so far. My mom kept commenting how some of the shots showing mountain ranges and ocean bays looked almost real. The one issue I did have with this film was the fact that the scottish accents were hard to understand. I missed many chunks of dialogue and even considered turning on subtitles so I wouldn't miss anything important.  I understand that they wanted to make it more authentic by using real scottish voice actors, but felt that they should have slowed the dialogue down or had the voice actors pronounce their words more clearly. I really liked the story and thought it showed a relationship we haven't seen in a while, the relationship between a mother and daughter. I watched it with my mom and Grandma (Mom's mom) and it was a nice way to end Thanksgiving.

Here is a behind the scenes look at the making of Brave.

Lie to Me

I like this show, courtesy to my guy Barry for putting me on to the show. After my latest addiction, The Walking Dead, I was searching for a new show when my friend pointed me to the show Lie to Me. The show is about a team of people who are specialized in identifying facial and body language to know if someone is lying or not. The idea seems simple but the shows is actually very creative and captures my attention. The creative aspect of the show comes from the writers writing such exciting episodes. Unlike The Walking Dead, Lie to Me doesn't have any things worth noting on how it was shot or the make-up that was used in the show. The shots are normal, and there is no crazy make-up or graphics being used. Whereas in The Walking Dead, the zombies looked beyond realistic. It was very believable and made the concept and idea of zombies realistic. The only concern I have with this show, Lie to Me, is that I will get bored of it because it may get repetitive. In The Walking Dead, the characters were constantly on the run, looking for shelter, food, and constantly fighting for survival  There was always something to look forward to in The Walking Dead and it was interesting to see if they will ever find a safe haven or a cure for the zombies. In Lie to Me, the biggest mystery is how they will figure out who is lying. I still like the show and hope that they do spice things up in later episodes. Oh, and Monica Raymund, she plays Ria Torres in the show, is kind of cute! I may have to tweet her.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Over break I got the chance to see the film Lincoln. I thought that it was very well made, the lighting was great, and the acting was spot on. After the movie was over my parents and I always discuss what we liked and disliked about the film. The thing that stood out to me the most was how they showed all the famous event about lincoln and the civil was, such as his death. Everyone knows that Lincoln was shot at the theater so they decided to show that event taking place from a different perspective. Instead of showing Booth shooting Lincoln they showed his son finding out the news. I feel that it made it much more powerful by seeing his sons emotions then the actual shooting of Lincoln. All aesthetics of the film were amazing and you could tell that a lot of research had taken place inorder to make this movie what it is. I would recommend this movie to anyone and I consider it a must see!!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Post, Blog Post

            In the new James Bond film we see a movie that has surpassed my expectations. I have now seen Skyfall two times and after each viewing felt very excited for what’s in store for the future. Without spoiling anything this movie is very great at everything it wants to accomplish. You can tell from the scale of this film that it took a lot from 2008’s The Dark Knight. If you haven’t seen the last few Bond films then that is okay, cause it does not reference ether one. It makes great nods to the past 50 years of Bond films throughout the entire film. If you do one thing this fall it got to be to see Skyfall. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

John Candy and Candied Yams

For some reason my family, and thousands of other families in America, have developed the yearly tradition of watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while the bird bakes in the oven.  My family and I have watched this movie every year as long as I can remember and I can say that I come from a family of true John Candy fans (possibly the only one).

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles was released in 1987 by Paramount Pictures and was directed by John Hughes, better known for Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and of  Home Alone. Even though John Hughes was responsible for some of the greatest film hits of the 1980s and 1990s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles has held the biggest presence in my life. I have seen this movie so many times I can quote the whole thing and I am forced to sit next to my grandma every year and pretend I still enjoy the film.

The film tells the story of Neal Page, Steve Martin, an advertising executive who meets Del Griffith, John Candy, who must work together to get Neal home to NYC for Thanksgiving. The duo faces all sorts of bad luck along the way as Griffith is prone to bad luck. Page must make it home to his family from Chicago after being on a bad business trip. Page most deal with Griffith's sloppy behaviors as his bad luck piles up. From car thefts to plane delays, Griffith turns a  simple plan ride into a 3 day long trip from hell. They finally make it to New York and Page grows to care for Griffith. The movie ends with them building a friendship from their misfortunes. 

This movie was great the first 15 times I saw it. Candy and Martin are great actors and the story is funny for the most part. The story is like any other holiday movie...a character must overcome a series of unrealistic events to make it home in time for the festivities. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is definitely a funny movie but it is not one of my favorites. It is a good movie to watch with the family and is probably one of the few Thanksgiving movies that is funny. If you haven't seen this movie it is definitely worth seeing since it is directed by John Hughes. It wasn't his best work but it is definitely a least in my house. Have a happy turkey day and may the overeating begin!!!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


One of the best things about coming home on break is having unlimited (& FREE) access to your parents seven hundred some odd cable channels. I've been taking advantage of this all week, and I've since become addicted to a great Showtime show- Homeland.

Homeland stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a CIA officer who's job is to track and find information on suspected terrorists to prevent the next terror attack on the United States. The show also follows U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody, played by Damian Lewis who is finally rescued after being held as a prisoner of war by Al-Queda in Syria for 8 years. Brody returns to the United States a hero, but Carrie is convinced that he is actually a threat to the country after being turned by Al-Queda, and plans to carry out a mission for them.

The number of characters and story-lines on this show is ever-expanding, but that's what makes it so interesting. It is necessary to be an active viewer just to keep up with the story and everyone involved in the suspected terrorist groups. A big part of the show focuses on Carrie's struggle with bipolar disorder, which she keeps secret from her co-workers. It is interesting to see not only how government officials and the CIA are portrayed, but also how Carrie's disorder affects her demanding job and personal life. Claire Danes plays this role phenomenally, and has won multiple awards for her portrayal of Carrie Mathison.

I'm almost done with the first season of two so far, and I can't wait to finally be caught up. I would definitely recommend this show.

Boardwalk Empire

Every year since I've been home for Thanksgiving break, I see my highschool friends and my family, and I curl up in front of the television and watch the "Boardwalk Empire" episodes I missed while I was at school. "Boardwalk Empire" is a great crime show about the gangsters in Atlantic City, starting on the eve of prohibition. The show's creator is Terence Winter, who wrote many of the best episodes of "The Sopranos," the greatest crime show of all time.

The show follow Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), treasurer of Atlantic City, who uses his power and money to sell alcohol illegally. The show focuses on him, his protege Jimmy (Michael Pitt), his brother, the sheriff Eli, and Margeret Schroeder (Kelly MacDonald), the woman Nucky is courting. These are the four major characters in season 1, but the cast expands quickly, covering people from all the different sides, including agent Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), the most fascinating character who is a brutal and religious man who wants to bring down Nucky.  The show deals with moral corruption and how far someone will go for what they want.

The show starts of slowly and does hit a few bumps, but every episode has so many great scenes that include betrayal, trickery, shoot outs, murder, and even engaging monologues. The show is currently on its third season, and after watching it for so long, I realize that although the show is fun, it's sometimes hard to figure out which character I am supposed to be rooting for because no one is good samaritan.

The highlight of the show is the production value, which I think is probably the highest of any show I have ever seen. The sets are often grandiose in the attention to detail. Every shot is well done and beautiful and the sound design is phenomenal, finding ways to incorporate music, both diegetic and on diegetic, into the scenes. If you are interested in studying production, it is a great show to watch.

I recommend the show if you enjoy crime dramas or need a fix while "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" are on hiatus.

Want to play a little game?

Hey everyone,
 I've only watched a couple of good movies so far this thanksgiving break. One of them is called "Ondine"! It was produced in 2009 and directed by Neil Jordan, known for directing Interview with a vampire (favorite #113/124 films).  The story is about an irish fisherman who finds a woman in his net and he believes her to be a selke (a water nymph). The story was very engaging and I couldn't stop watching it, it was in a way kind of intimate in the way you get to know the characters and feel for the relationship between them. It didn't place on my fav's list so far but who knows, perhaps years from now I'll come across it again and watch it and decide I really loved it. At this point I did really enjoy it and would recommend it to many.

Anyways, to get to a more interesting point, perhaps. I would like to play a little game! I'm going to post 10 movie quotes and you comment on the blog to reveal what movies they're from!

Here they are:

1: "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"

2: "May the force be with you"

3: "E.T Phone home"

4: "A census take once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

5: "Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

6: "I see dead people"

7: "Stella! Hey Stella!"

8: "Here's Johnny!"

9: "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown"

10: Striker: "Surely you can't be serious."
       Rumack: "I am serious... and don't call me shirley."

Well those should be easy enough! Guess away friends!
Tata for now!

-Lucy Lynne' Hall

Monday, November 19, 2012


I went to see the new James Bond movie in theaters yesterday. I really liked it. The part that I found particularly interesting was the opening credit sequence. In every Bond movie, the credit sequence is always unique and aesthetically pleasing. As the industry has improved its technology, the Bond movies have improved their opening sequences. I especially liked the song used for this film's opening credits,"Skyfall" sung by Adele (one of my favorite artists). Her voice is low and almost haunting in this song and complements the visuals nicely. It also brings out the sexuality in the visuals, which is the goal of every Bond movie: to make sex an exciting and almost deadly mystery that surrounds the main character. I know we talked in class about how important it is that sound match up with video and I think that this sequence is a good example of the mediums complementing each other. The rest of the movie was great. It was action-packed and visually pleasing. I especially liked the use of "fire" to light various scenes. It made for really cool visuals. I would suggest that everyone see it over break! Below is a link to a website that has a clip of the credits.

Skyfall Credits

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You're Trying To Seduce Me Mrs. Robinson, Aren't You?

Last night my roommates and I decided on a whim to celebrate our own Thanksgiving and put ourselves into a food comma with the delicious Italian and Greek options available at the Slovaki House in Collegetown (check it out, if I had a Nick Petrella restaurant seal of approval it would have one). After a couple glasses of wine and more lamb than I'm comfortable admitting to consuming I found myself rummaging through my roommates DVD collection until I found his copy of The Graduate.

I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm about to graduate, maybe this disc will hold the key to all of my unanswered questions" (It doesn't). Couple this with the chance of watching a young, suave, Mr. Feeny and I was sold.

"Just one. Is it okay, if I rip off your head, and roll it down the hall way?" 
- My search for a good Mr. Feeny quote led me to a dark place.

What started as a casual movie viewing experience quickly turned into myself being fixated to the screen, I stopped surfing the internet on my laptop and couldn't look away. The depressing stare of a young Dustin Hoffman paired with the cold soundtrack provided by Simon & Garfunkel gained my attention and kept it throughout the 106 minute run-time (that's exact, I googled it).

I assume you would call the film a dark comedy, although it definitely has a much more lighthearted approach then say Burn After Reading. Aka. Everyone doesn't die at the end. I personally love this style of comedy and felt that The Graduate held an excellent balance of depressing the shit out of you while still making you laugh out loud, something I think is extremely hard to achieve but insanely satisfying when done correctly.

Watch this movie or we won't stop staring you.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who watches movies, because it's simply just a great film. The story is timeless and seems so real that you'll find yourself having trouble looking away from the screen; and hey, those legs don't hurt either...

"But Mrs. Robinson, I thought we where going to play Jenga"
- He probably says this in one of the outtakes, probably.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I've heard a lot of buzz going on about this here documentary so I thought I'll give it a look and I must say, it was a great documentary. Before I get into my opinion about the film, I have to give my opinion on documentaries first. I love documentaries when they are done well, very informative, and unbiased  It's very difficult to shoot, in my opinion, a documentary that isn't, in someway, basis. There are so many complications when trying to shoot a documentary like trying to interview certain people or companies. For example, in Food Inc., none of the companies that they were exposing in the film wanted to do the interview, which is understandable, but on that same notion it makes the film look a little bias in one sided because there is no one speaking for the other side of this issue. I also question why some of the shots, especially in a documentary such as this one, seem like they were taking from a hidden camera? On one part of the fim the narrator actually states that the footage we were seeing is from a hidden camera. If this is the case, how do they not get in trouble for such shots? Questions, questions, questions. Definitely plan on looking more into that.

 Overall, I think t was a good documentary. It informed of information I've never known or even thought of before. It made me question how much does the government actually care about the well-being of it's citizen. It's disgusting how easily they can turn the other way when there is a profit to be gained. I can understand how someone can see this film and change the way they eat. Me personally, i love food and I love eating the things I eat. It just so happens one of my favorite things is a cheeseburger! More then anything, this film made me more aware and conscious of the food industry and how it operates. I prepare and cook my own food daily so I am constantly shopping for food, so this information is very useful to me. Documentary is definitely recommended. 

The Walking Dead

I am currently obsessed with this show! I have watched the first two seasons within like a week. I can't wait to start season 3, so no spoilers please!!
This show is awesome. Great actors, amazing make up for the zombies, great locations (especially the farm), amazing camera work, and lighting. The score for the show is perfect for it.  The amount of extras that they get in full costume and make up is also incredible. There are sometimes hundreds of extras running around in any given episode. This show has a high production value.

The Big Lebowski

A lazy hippie's favorite rug was urinated on, and from there, the story only gets weirder. That basically sets up one of my now favorite movies, "The Big Lebowski." I have seen the Coen Brothers' comedy twice before and after watching it a third time, I now am certain that it is one of my favorite movies.

The movie is about an aged hippie, Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges of "Crazy Heart" and "True Grit") who prefers to be called the Dude, or "his Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino if you are not into the brevity thing." Two men break into the Dude's house, looking for Jeff "The Big" Lebowski, demanding money from Bunny, the wife of the latter Lebowski, and pee on the Dude's rug. After this case of mixup, the Dude gets involved in the life of his rich, sophisticated counterpart. The Big Lebowski, who hates bums, pays the Dude to drop off the ransom for his kidnapped trophy wife, Bunny (Tara Reid from the "American Pie" films). Soon, he gets involved with nihilists, a feminist artist, a pornographer, a high school kid, all while going bowling with the veteran Walter, played phenomenally by John Goodman, and the naive, but nice Donny, the hilarious Steve Buscemi.

The Dude, probably one of the best comedic characters created in the last 20 years, a memorable protagonist, loves white russians, bowling, and relaxing, makes this movie a home run in my opinion. Walter and Donny are great sidekicks. Every character is quirky, giving the movie more life; Walter is jewish and observes Shomer Shabbas and doesn't bowl (or roll as he calls it) on Saturdays, and Jesus (a bowling rival played by John Turturro) talks in the third person and is a registered sex offender.

The movie is a complicated mystery, a modern comedic "Big Sleep," that is always engaging and fascinating. I have seen it three times now and each time I notice new things about the film. It is another classic in the Coen Brothers filmography.

And remember, The Dude abides.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Napoleon Dynamite

When I was home last weekend, I was going through my old dvd collection and came upon what used to be my favorite movie, Napoleon Dynamite. I watched this film at least a 100 times in the three years I was in middle school and could probably still quote the movie from start to finish. The film was released in 2004 by Fox Searchlight Pictures, after being picked up from the Sundance Film Festival. The film was released in limited markets but quickly became a "cult classic." The movie was directed by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess, who later when on to direct Nacho Libre, starring Jack Black. Jared and Jerusha are a husband- wife filmmaking duo who have also produced music videos for The Postal Service. Napoleon Dynamite debuted Jon Heder into the film industry.

The film was shot in Franklin County Idaho, as it tells the story of Napoleon Dynamite, high school student in Preston, Idaho. The movie tells the story of Napoleon as he navigates high school while his awkwardness and old brother Kip create obstacles. The reason why I LOVED this film was because the awkwardness and humor provided by Heder's performance was funny to any teenager. The film is very slow paced and dry at times but has it's funny moments. When I watched this film, after not seeing it for 5 years, I wondered how the hell I ever liked this movie. I still have a Napoleon Dynamite keychain that quotes Heder's famous lines. For the time, the movie was a hit but is now a forgotten thought in many peoples' minds. This "cult classic" was a favorite movie in my middle school and related to all the socially awkward pre-teens. I am glad the Jon Heder has managed to shake this character and move on to more "serious" roles in Blades of Glory, The Benchwarmers, and School for Scoundrels.

Have a good break and remember "Vote for Pedro!!!!!!!!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Double Indemnity

"How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?"

Keeping with the theme of Noirvember, last week I watched one of the best old school film noirs out there: Double Indemnity. The film was released in 1944, and was directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by crime novelist extraordinaire, Raymond Chandler.

The film stars Frank MacMurray as Walter Neff, an insurance salesman, and Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson, a housewife who seduces Walter and convinces him to help her kill her rich husband after they've tricked him into buying insurance with a double indemnity clause. "Double indemnity" an actual insurance term that states that the company will pay double the amount in the contract if the person dies by accidental means. Phyllis' plot is to kill off her husband, collect twice the money, and run away with Walter. Or so we think. As the story unfolds we learn that Phyllis is not the oppressed, victimized housewife she claims to be. Instead she the picture of the classic "femme fatale"; beautiful, but a cold manipulator with what seems like sociopathic tendencies. After the deed is done, Walter uncovers Phyllis' secrets and is left to deal with the repercussions of committing murder and getting involved with a dangerous woman.

Not only is the story engaging and the acting spot-on, but the cinematography is another amazing aspect of this film. Every shot is so meaningful and carefully composed, and the lighting is fantastic. Los Angeles serves as the perfect setting as well; picturesque and slightly sinister at the same time, like the classic myth of the "Hollywood dream." I really enjoyed this film, and I understand how it is still regarded as the quintessential film noir.

SFX make up! and other news...

Recently, I was asked to help out with a senior thesis horror film that required some special effects make up! I have done make up before but nothing all that complex. So far this is the most complex make up job I've ever done and it turned out really nicely.

I was specifically asked to create a slit throat on one of the actors. I was intrigued and really excited to figure out the best ways of going about this! First I looked up a few video tutorials on YouTube...

Both of the one's I viewed required liquid latex. I was extremely crunched for time and luckily found out that someone was letting us use their make up. They had liquid latex. HALLELUJAH!

I didn't even get to play with it until I was on set but it was really fun and really useful, you can easily make a scar with this stuff. It's awesome! I plan on getting my own stuff someday. I really enjoyed the opportunity to play with it and the shoot turned out really well! Everyone was really thrilled with my handy work!  The actor himself really got into the character (if you can call being dead/dying a character). 

As you can see above, I also played around with my hand. No, I'm not kissing him!

I'd like to have more opportunities to do this kind of stuff, actually. I think I could do better eventually after figuring out the nature of the materials and such. It's very exciting to be able to figure out this kind of stuff out. 

Also just another fun plug I just recently watched The Game by David Fincher. The film was made in 1997 and in my opinion is very much comparable to the possibilities we have now in epics like this. It was a very mind blowing experience! It was mind blowing in a sense that you are caught off gard a lot  and you don't know what to expect the entire time. It's crazy! But it's not one of those confusing movies that you would have to watch 2,384,903,802 times in order to understand it at all. When you get it, you get it but you'll be surprised how you got there. Go watch it!!! It's on Netflix!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Last weekend I attended the Avid workshop that was offered by an Ithaca graduate.  I had no prior Avid experience and I was really interested in learning the program this semester. The workshop was 10am to 4pm with a free hour for lunch. In those five hours I learned the very basics of Avid. They focused a lot of attention on organization. So much in fact, that we didn't work on actual editing until 1pm. Although slightly annoyed with how little editing I learned, I did finally realize the importance of organization when editing. With Final Cut it is easy to just import and drag files around the timeline. Avid does not allow this. You have to be organized and every edit you do has to have  a purpose, that is just how the program works. Although annoying to get used to, it forces you to be organized which is good when working on a project with multiple editors. The program is set up so it is easy to transfer projects, add comments to edits (a director can give his editor notes without having to meet with them face to face), and the program allows you to manipulate settings to your own preferred look that you can access each time you log into the program.

A really awesome aspect of the program is that it has a script recognition option. This is an expensive plug in, but if you want just one sentence from the hours of video you shot, you can search for it in the script, and it will find the audio/video clip for you. It really is an amazing program. The basic editing that I learned was how to import and convert clips to the avid format so that editing is easy and quick. I also learned how to move clips, trim them, add transitions, effects, and manipulate volume levels. I got daring and began to play with green screen, but that didn't go so well. I would like to learn more about the program, but know it will take time. I think if I were to edit a small project on the program, it would help me to get a better grasp of the program.

For anyone interested in learning Avid,  here is a useful tool to use when editing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and Geeks is a show based in the early 1980's that deals with the typical teenager's problems. This show has a knock out cast featuring young James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, Busy Phillips, etc. The show is divided into the under class men and the upper class men and their collective and individual struggles but in school and home life.
Freaks and Geeks was Judd Apatow's first major hit show. Along with being Apatow's first success it was also James Franco, Seth Rogan, and Jason Segel's as well. This show is a cult classic, though it only survived one season. What makes this show such a knock out is it's plethora of timeless themes, stands on it's own as a period piece, and possesses unique and organic characters. Also, the writers did an excellent job of capturing those awkward young adolescent encounters that bring you back to your time as an awkward teenager.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Star Wars The blog Post Strikes Back!

What’s better than a Star Wars blog post? A second Star Wars blog post nobody wanted, and this is abut who should helm at least the first installment of a brand new trilogy. First off the bat is George Lucas’s best friend and Indiana co-conspirer Steven Spielberg. He hasn’t touched upon the genre of Sci-fi fantasy in a while and is one of the greatest directors of all time. But he has basically taken his name out of the running wit these comments "I've asked [Lucas]. He won't let me do one. I wanted to do one 15 years ago, and he didn't want me to do it. I understand why - Star Wars is George's baby. It's his cottage industry and it's his fingerprints. He knows I've got Jurassic Park and Raiders. But George has Star Wars and I don't think he feels inclined to share any of it with me." Next up in line would be LOST’s very own J.J. Abrams, he has already shown us he can reinvent a great sci-fi series with his reboot of Star Trek. A lot of us in the nerd community think he would be perfect to do the same with Star Wars. But probably my favorite right now would be Brad Bird. Yes the Incredible’s director has proven himself when it comes to filming a great live action movie with the recent Mission Impossible film. He is very open about his love for Star Wars and he is this nerds pick to helm the start of something really great. 

Larry David

One of my favorite television shows to watch is Curb Your Enthusiasm.  This show created by Larry David, stars himself as a version of himself.  The whole show his based on his life and similarly to his previous show, Seinfeld, is about nothing.  Larry is always in normal situations that everyone has been in, but he makes these situations funny.  The way Larry reacts to these normal situations is what makes the show funny.  He does what everyone is afraid to do, what is socially unacceptable.  But that is his character.  He is rude, disrespectful, and does not give a shit.  One example of this is when he is in an elevator and it is a very funny scene.

Larry touches on what people are afraid to do or afraid to say.  To me, it is a relief because at times I wish I could do or say what he says.  Most of the show is improvisation which I think speaks on how talented the cast is.  This is a show that you can watch any episode any time and still be entertained and laugh a lot.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Despicable Me- Part Deux

One of my many summer jobs is a babysitter for two very young children who love to watch movies. I saw an array of cartoon and computer animated film this summer but one that I really loved was Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me, starring the voices of Steve Carell, Miranda Cosgrove and Jason Segal. The movie tells the story of Gru (Carell), a criminal mastermind, who spends all of his evil time stealing the World's greatest places, including the moon and The Great Pyramid of Giza. During his plan to steal the moon, three small orphaned girls fall under his care. The movie shows Gru's transition from an evil super-villain to the caring man the small orphans know and love. I love this film and thought that voices of the characters were well casted, the animation was excellent, and provided a story that worked for all ages. I think I enjoyed this movie more than the kids did. Here's one of my favorite scenes....

This summer, Despicable Me 2 is being released, featuring characters from Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig, Steve Carell, and Russel Brand, as well as many others. I am super excited to see Despicable Me 2 and will probably be the only person in theatre older than 10. The sequel focuses on Gru's right hands the minions and tells the story from their perspectives. Check out the trailer below.....

Best, Brie

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


"Film Noir is the flip side of the all-American success story. It's about people who realize that following the program will never get them what they crave. So they cross the line, commit a crime and reap the consequences. Or, they're tales about seemingly innocent people tortured by paranoia and ass-kicked by Fate. Either way, they depict a world that's merciless and unforgiving." --Eddie Muller

It's that time of year again where the weather gets chillier and the days get shorter. While many of us are sad to see the fall (and the sun) go, its the perfect time of year to curl up with a good movie. Let me present to you: Noirvember.

Noirvember is an annual month-long challenge that urges film lovers to watch a noir film every day of November and share thoughts on Twitter (#noirvember), Tumblr, and Facebook.

There is something about noir films from the 40s, 50s, and 60s that I just love: all the characters have serious style, being shot in black and white elevates the air of mystery and suspense within the story, AND some of the best filmmakers (John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles) also came out of this era. This is definitely one of my favorite genres, and I plan to check at least a few classic noir films off my list this Noirvember.

Here's a few lists some of the best noir films:
IMDB's top rated noir films:
250 Quintessential noir films:

"Welcome to the Layer Cake"

Before he was James Bond, Daniel Craig played a business man in "Layer Cake," a movie about the British crime underworld. The movie is directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass," "X-Men: First Class).

Daniel Craig's character buys, cuts, and sells coke. Although he works with gangsters, he considers himself to be a business man. He does not believe in gun use and lets his associates Morty (George Harris) and Genen (Colm Meany) work the violent side of the business. 

Although he wants to retire at a young age, the protagonist is asked by his boss, Jimmy to find the missing daughter of his associate, Eddie Temple, played by the wonderful Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies). He also needs to organize an ecstasy deal involving drugs stolen from Serbians. Soon, Craig's character gets way in over his head as he has always believed to "make a  plan and stick with it" and "to quit while you're ahead," which could be considered his two personal mottos.

The movie has a good story and it is interesting to see Craig in a role where he is not a violent character, but he has to deal with those who are. I think it is one of his best roles and it is the role that got him the position of 007. Colm Meany and Michael Gambon both give good performances too. Ben Wishaw, who plays Q in "Skyfall" gives a really good performance as the nephew of a low-level gangster. The plot is complicated as it has many layers, justifying the title "Layer Cake," which also refers to the levels in the criminal underworld. The movie has great music and is well shot and what I think is one of the most memorable endings in film.

Here is the opening monologue from the movie.

Films and their influence on society

Recently, I watched a film called Pretty Ugly People directed and written by Tate Taylor. Taylor has also directed The Help (film #97/ 123 films on my favorites list)

and Winters Bone.

Pretty Ugly People I thought was a pretty strange title. I'm not sure I would have chosen it for the title. Mostly because it just doesn't quite roll off the tongue. It's not terrible but it's not great.
  Getting more to my point of reviewing this film, I am not quite sure how it might make certain people in our society feel about losing weight. The character loses weight by a gastric bipass surgery. My knowledge of this surgery is that it is not a surgery for someone who just casually wants to lose weight. You have to be morbidly obese to have this surgery. The character's name is Lucy (weird right?!). In any case she loses the weight and has another surgery to remove access skin. She has the remains of her surgery cremated and she spreads the ashes throughout the film. The plot of the film is that she convinces her old college friends to come on a hike with her up a mountain she's always wanted to climb. Convinced that their friend is in trouble the come to visit her unknowingly having been signed up for this camping trip. The trip reveals everyone's real characters and she realizes that the people she idolized all through college turned out to be very shallow people. In the end they move on to the next chapters in their lives after realizing their serious flaws and changing them to better be happy with who they are.
  The criticism I have of this film is that I wonder if people will think that if they lose weight that all their friends will be unhappy with them. Truth be told, if your friends get mad at the fact that you've done something good for yourself, then they're not your real friends. I haven't had any thoughts of losing weight since I dont really need to. However, if I were more vulnerable and over weight I might think about that possibility.  My Mother lost almost 100 pounds and never lost one friend. Maybe this is because she had good friends to begin with. Maybe that doesn't really happen in real life. I guess I'm just questioning how this would effect someone's motivation to do something good for themselves like loosing weight.

  As film makers we should try to think a little bit about our viewers and how they might feel after watching our films. I'm not sure if Taylor really thought about that or not. It was a decent movie, wasn't one of my favorites but it was alright. I'm excited to see more of Taylor's work though. I enjoyes Winter's Bone and obviously The Help is one of my favorites.

Ta Ta for now!!

-Lucy Lynne' Hall

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


As a huge Family Guy fan, I was ecstatic when I learned that Seth McFarlane was bringing his talent to the big screen. When Ted hit theaters this past July, I jumped at the chance to go. I had high expectations for the film and was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the movie and thought that it had the right amount of humor without taking away from a heartwarming storyline. I felt that outside of the fact that teddy bears cannot come to life, this film was very real and struck a cord with the universal human experience. Watching Mark Wahlberg's character struggle with growing up and choosing between his girlfriend and best friend was something many viewers could relate to. I appreciated McFarlane's writing and thought he did a good job of sneaking in a serious storyline behind all the jokes and gags. Although I found it hilarious, I did find some of the humor a little crude, but went in expecting to be made a little uncomfortable. It is that brash humor that I admire about McFarlane's work. He pushes the envelope to see how far he can go, and then pushes it even further. I like this because I believe humor is something to be appreciated and entertained by and those that get offended and angered by it should shut up, sit back, and enjoy what was created purely to entertain them. Here is the behind the scenes clip that I found pretty interesting. It shows how they used Seth's movements to make Ted seem as real to life as they could.

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Project

I'm really excited for this new project. The idea of using a story that was in the news and making a short film with it is interesting and has the opportunity to be so creative and dynamic because you can approach it at some many angles. My idea of using the story of the Empire State Building shooting can be spun in so many directions. I can write a story of the life of someone who survived the shooting or a bystander, a relative of the shooter, relative or someone who has died in the shooting, a cop who worked that day, so many places I can take this story. I like the other ideas shared in class too, I voted for the the story about the gun in the book, but I'm still debating about doing my own project. I know how difficult it can be to try and assemble a team and do a production, which is why I voted for the story about the gun and the book, which is the story I will most likely do. Im excited for this project and working with other people from the class. Should be fun!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Money, Money, Money

             A long, long time ago, in a boardroom far far away, George Lucas had just sold the foundation for which his career is based off of, for what seems like a small country to Disney. Four billion dollars, that’s how much Mr. Lucas sold Lucas Films and all its properties, those include Star Wars, Indiana Jones, among the more profitable ones. I could talk about what this means for the future of a film franchise that was so ingrained in my childhood, but no I want to talk about what George Lucas is doing with this newfound mound of wealth. You would think that he would go off and buy an island somewhere near Richard Branson’s, but no he’s giving it all back….to education. Here is a quote from the man himself “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race,” Lucas said in 2010. “We have to plan for our collective future — and the first step begins with social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt — as educators, storytellers, and communicators our responsibility is to continue to do so.” A lot of fans give him a lot of slack for “ruining” Star Wars but I see him now in a brand new light, and heck maybe Disney won’t f***k this one up.