Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Come and play with us, Danny

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Man, I think I came across one of the coolest things I have ever seen today. I was in a nondescript Z Pizza joint in Franconia, and the pizza wasn’t too terrible as extra-NYC pizza goes. That said, I will forever remember this place not for the pizza, but rather for one of the coolest wall decorations I’ve ever seen. What’s more, I had my son, daughter, and flip cam handy, and what’s to follow may prove to be one of my prized possessions over the course of time.

The Car: a ds106 mashedup production

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The last week or so in the digital storytelling class has been a blast for me, particularly because right now we’re playing around with mashups with everything from film to video games to music to the fine arts. The assignment was due Tuesday, but I had a hell of a week so this one got done a little late. And to the ds106ers credit, almost all of them had theirs done and submitted well before me. What’s more, so many of them did amazing mashups—the video section of this course went better than in the Spring, but it still needs work. But to the class’s credit, their imaginations made it seem like an unconditional succes. As for my mashup, as always it was very fun to do, if not painstaking. I like the detail work in mashups, matching up dialogue and interpreting and reworking one film to visually conform to another, completely different one. I was inspired by a series of 70s and 80s horror film trailers. When I saw the 1977 trailer for The Car, I immediately knew I could cut up Cars (2006)—which I had seen over 30 times with my son a couple of years back. It helped that I knew the film inside and out. It’s by no means perfect, but I think it begins to accomplish my main objective: make Lightening McQueen a car from Hell. And even if it falls short, I do think I’m getting better at both the quicker action edits as well as the pacing. It’s hard to capture a narrative in two minutes, and playing with film trailers for mashups is a perfect assignment in this regard. And having finally finished the assignment, albeit late, I’m thrilled to have returned to and finished some “creative” video stuff—it has been too long.

Hometown on the Big Screen: A Prologue to my Screencast

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Traintracks…The Amish…A shooting during a pee-wee t-ball game…The Orthopedic Capital of the World…Rick Fox (yes, the NBA basketball star)…all will be mentioned in my pending Google Streetview Screencast.

In the meantime, as sort of a prologue, I’ve posted a movie trailer for a very “Breakfast Club”-esque (ripoff) documentary that was filmed in my hometown, Warsaw, Indiana. It competed at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Directing Award in the Documentary category. Paramount released the movie the summer following the festival. It never showed at a theatre in Fredericksburg, but I remember it appearing at theatres in D.C. and northern Virginia.

I was long-gone from Warsaw during filming, having moved to Fredericksburg about 10 years before the film was shot, but I knew some of the kids and their families who were profiled. Some scenes were shot in the high school where my mom taught, and some kids spent their elementary school years with my dad as their principal. My family watched the movie together once it was released on DVD and at various points in the film pointed at the screen screaming, “OHMYGOD THAT’S _______!”

It was an odd feeling to watch the small town where you spent half your life depicted in film with a national release. The movie itself wasn’t that great-typical teenagers complaining about life-but I’ve embedded the trailer below.

Warsaw’s city limits appear at 4 seconds into the preview.

Here’s a picture from the trailer that shows why I will never relate to people who say there is nothing to do in Fredericksburg.

(Warsaw’s City Limits)

“American Teen” trailer:

The Best 22 Horror Movie Trailers from the 70s & 80s

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Image of The Car PosterWhile working on my mashup for Digital Storytelling (ds106) I found working through trailers on YouTube was the easiest way to come up with ideas (which I must admit was pretty difficult). I stumbled upon a 4-part series that collects the so-called “best” 22 horror movie trailers from the 70s and 80. And if you are familiar with the bava, you’ll know why I really couldn’t resist. Not only did I watch them through (and I’m glad to say the only two films I haven’t seen are Shock Waves (1977) and The Beyond (1981)), but I asked myself which of the following twenty two film trailers are actually scary. And so I picked what I think were the five scariest trailers of the lot (in order): 1) Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) Halloween 3) The Omen 4) Zombie 5) Evil Dead.

Fact is, most of these trailers weren’t really scary at all (though The Exorcist is downright high art), but the truly great horror films (namely Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween) are downright horrifying. I mean these trailers probably couldn’t be made today, they give you pretty much everything but the gore. And Evil Dead gives you that, kinda wild. Not to mention that both Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre may be two of the legitimately scariest films ever made.

Here are a list of the trailers in this four part collection:

And here are the coming attractions:

The Wild Bunch and a near perfect opening scene

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

While procrastinating on the mashup I promised ds106, I actually came across a decent quality clip of the opening scene of The WIld Bunch. For me, one of the great opening scenes in cinema, and a shame this version cuts out the earlier credits featuring kids burning an army of ants and several stinging scorpions that have been engaged in an internecine battle to the death (kinda like what we see at the end of this film with the wild bunch).

Enjoy this clip, and if you haven;t seen The Wild Bunch, I would not only recommend it, but also a tour through some great Westerns (maybe I’ll follow up that with a list of a few I have in mind in a post soon). When I was in college, I found the Western film genre to be one of the greatest discoveries of my time in school. So rich in every way, narratively, politically, aesthetically, and cinematically.

Anyway, I’ll shut up now.