Archive for the ‘movies’ 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.

Talking to Your Kids About Star Wars

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Thanks to one of the elite ds106 alum, Modern Selkie, I was turned on to this gem.

What’s odd is that this video really does capture my attitude towards Star Wars and teaching it to my children. In fact, my wife and I are unschooling our kids (which basically means not schooling them in any controlled, formal way), and part of that whole process has been to conduct a yearlong indoctrination into the universe of Star Wars. So I am proud to say that this video is my life right now as a father. Enjoy.

And as a final note, Jar Jar Binks’s name is not to be spoken in the house. Thank you Modern Selkie, you made my day.

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.

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.

The Birds in 6 Shots

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Screen shot from The Birds
Screen shot from The Birds
Screen shot from The Birds
Screen shot from The Birds
Screen shot from The Birds
Screen shot from The Birds

The Shining in 6 Frames

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Riffing off of Tom Woodward’s recent exercise he posted, I experimented with using six film frames to capture the essence of the film’s narrative. It might also be a nice way to think about how the juxtaposition of images make meaning, without worrying about drawing those images. Almost reverse engineering Kubrick’s filmic logic. So, here it is, and I was fortunate enough to find screenshots from Kubrick’s The Shining from this post here. Now to make this an assignment for the Digital Storytelling course to build on the five random images to tell a story, but more on this assignment shortly.

So, which transitions don’t work? I was also thinking about this version: