Monday, August 22, 2011
Hi listeners and friends,
It's unfortunate to have to say this, but it seems this rendition of The Brooklyn Film Theorists podcast has reached a conclusion. As can be expected from your hosts, we parted amicably - our schedules have become too divergent and despite our fondness for each other's company, it was becoming unfathomable to record shows on a week by week basis. Rick and I will surely work together again in some capacity and for the time being, enjoy the twenty five episodes we've put together during the 8 months we were on the air.
Much thanks and love goes out to Rob Christman and Mic Blaque, two talented producers who've put in time, energy and spirit into making these episodes happen.
I'll be taking the blog down shortly in order to rework it visually and make sure all the episodes are up on ITunes in the right order. They should be up permanently in a few weeks. Feel free to drop me a line with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
Check out Chaz's album "A Personal Reference" right here .
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Whenever I go out recently, people that find out that I'm a "movie guy" always recommend JJ Abrams Super 8. Inevitably, I have to tell them that I am not a fan of the film and I already reviewed it on the podcast that I cohost (Episode 21, Super 8/ If I want to Whistle, I Whistle.) As always, the other people become defensive and tell me that they enjoy the film on the level of it being a good summer blockbuster. This line of reasoning is classic Roger Ebert; basing a film's merits around what genre it belongs to. In the case of Super 8, many people, particularly in the Generation X and Y ("millenials") age brackets, yearn for a throwback family adventure film such as Goonies or Back to the Future (which I hope to host an entire podcast about later this summer) that they grew up with in the 1980's. Simply put, Super 8 is not that film. It is entertaining on a summer time mattinee level, but the characters are instantly forgettable, with only Elle Fanning's leaving any lasting impression, which is more a statement on the talented young actress. What sets Richard Donner's Goonies apart is it's hilarious and touching characters and it's tightly wrapped story. There might be an actor in the movie known as Chunk, but the story has no fat to it. It moves along at a brisk pace, walking a tight balance between scenes of emotional discovery for the children and family friendly action sequences.
So the next time you see me out, I'm glad to discuss one of the major passions in my life- films- but please, no more Super 8 arguments. I yearn for the type of coming of age adventure films I loved growing up. And when I see one, I'll let you know.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
The first is on Episode 19, Hangover part 2 and Tree of Life, when I stated that the cinematographer of Tree of Life, the extremely talented Emmanuel Lubezki, performed as a steadicam operator on his films. As my friend and working AC/DP Alberto Mojica pointed out to me, this simply is not true. Lubezki performs much of the handheld camera work himself and uses other people to operate the steadicams. However, he does pull focus from a wireless remote for many of the steadicam sequences.
A second glaring mistake I made is when I claimed on Episode 20, The Brooklyn College FIlm Festival and X Men: First Class, that Brooklyn College needed to create a separate Best Documentary Award for the festival to celebrate the numerous non-fiction films students produce. The problem with this suggestion is that there already is a Best Documentary category and it was won this year by the heartfelt film Deconstructing Your Mother, directed by Ja'Tovia Gary. When I made the suggestion on air, I was making a statement about the nature of documentary filmmaking in general and how it differs greatly from narrative filmmaking, unless of course your are Werner Herzog, but that's a different blog post. When people critique documentaries, they are often quick to allow for obscene camera zooms or poor image quality as long as the overarching storyline tugs on the old heart strings. That's fine, as I am a huge fan of direct cinema, cinema veritae and other forms of non-fiction films. Yet, at the same time I feel if narrative films are to be judged on harsher terms for their formalistic elements, such as sound quality, editing pace and image quality, then narrative and documentary films should be screened and judged with only the other types of films in those categories.
Thanks again and I'll talk to your soon.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
However, I'm not sure if the trailer has enough cuts in it? If the goal was to give the viewer a seizure, then the editor of the trailer sadly failed.
As for the atrocious Led Zeppelin cover, I am doing my best to ignore it and simply revel in Fincher's return to the thriller genre.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This line from, Paul Morrisey's cult 1974 vampire film, Blood for Dracula, exemplifies how Kier delivers the cheesiest lines with the utmost sincerity.
Here is another ridiculous scene from an excellent Gus Van Sant film, 1993's My Own Private Idaho, where Kier forgoes all subtly to create a bizarre moment that has typified his acting career.
Simply put, Kier may never be considered an excellent actor in the vein of young Al Pacino or Marlon Brando, but he is a great character actor who will pop up in the oddest film at the oddest moment.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Here is Nick's blog, for those interested.
Artist: Chaz Kangas
You can find Chaz's newest album, "A Personal Reference", right here! Don't be surprised if you find yourself giving it more than a few listen-throughs.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
1) F.W. Murnau's perfect Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
2) Coen Brothers' engrossing Miller's Crossing (1990)
3) Hughes Brothers' raw Menace II Society (1993)
4) Martin Scorsese's virile Mean Streets (1973)
5) Shinichirō Watanabe's cool Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999)
6) Andrew Dominik's indelible The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
7) Spike Lee's heartbreaking 25th Hour (2002)
1) Terence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978)
2) Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros (2000)
3) John Ford's The Searchers (1956)
4) David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986)
5) Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)
6) Jean-Luc Godards' Contempt (1963)
7) David Fincher's Zodiac (2007)
Monday, March 28, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
There is an example of a swish pan used at the 1:38 mark of this otherwise interesting clip (the swish pan is exploited as an editing device from the Cartier advertisement to the "talking head", yet it becomes ineffective in the fact that you notice the camera move and not what the philosopher is stating):
Sunday, March 13, 2011
This is the classic "film within a film", only it's a video within a video. This clip was shot and released in 1981, at the dawn of MTV and is directed by Steve Barron. The director was heavily influnced by Truffaut's Day for Night (1974), an extraordinary examination of the filmmaking process.
Human League - Don't You Want Me by jpdc11
If you can explain this video to me, you are an extraordinary thinker. Although, one reason I love the clip is its ambiguity, as well as its exceptional black and white cinematography. The video was shot, cut and directed by Ian Eames and was inspired by Helmut Newton's photgraphy and Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter (1974).
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
It is also of importance to note that this film features one of the all time great closing sequences that spells out Carol's family back story in one family picture. What would take many writers and directors several scenes, or gasp, flashback sequences to illustrate, Polanski accomplishes with a slow track into one family photo.
The film features imaginative shot compositions and very languid handheld camera movements. With this film, Polanski established himself as the master of the modern psychological thriller and propelled his career into Hollywood. In the hands of a lesser director and lead actress, Repulsion would be the type of psycho-sexual schlock that this film no doubt influenced. However, in the hands of a gifted director with a twisted mind and an actress of unnerving dedication, Repulsion is the classic film I highly recommend it to be.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Word to the wise, this is a solid short, so definitely check it out - "The Rainbow Room" will be screened at the Queens World Film Festival on Friday, March 4th as part of a screening block beginning at 9:15 pm. Details can be found on the festival website: http://www.queensworldfilmfestival.com/home.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Disclaimer: We told you we love to talk, right? So...our Oscar podcast was originally going to include an interview with filmmaker Igor Yankilevich, but we got into the discussion and spent the bulk of our time arguing with each other and reading Robert G. Christman's phenomenal Oscar picks. That said, here at BKFT, we are nothing if not gracious, so look for a separate podcast featuring just our interview with Igor, dropping tomorrow night at the latest.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Before any further discussion on the validity of individual film critics, it is important to note the reach of Rotten Tomatoes, which- in a Los Angeles Times article- reported over 10 million unique visitors in the month of December 2009, and the site’s wildly popular Tomatometer. The Tomatometer calculates a film’s critical ranking by taking the number of positive reviews and dividing by the total number of reviews. If a movie has a ranking over 60%, it is considered fresh and recommended by the site. Anything below is regarded as rotten and the site has clear visual aides next to films specifying its freshness and overall percentage grade. For a reviewer to be included in the ranking process, known on the site as an Approved Tomatometer Critic, he or she must be employed at a Tomatometer-approved publication or media outlet for at least two calendar years. In the case of an online critic, he or she must have reviewed at least 100 films in a two calendar year span and the reviews must have a minimum length of 300 words. One telling option of the Tomatometer that proves that at least the creators of Rotten Tomatoes respect established film critics is the Top Critics option.
The process to become a Top Critic is much more difficult than simply being an Approved Critic and involves working for a highly celebrated media outlet or website and for a longer period of time, but there is also a subjective aspect to the selection process. As stated on the Rotten Tomatoes website, “a Top Critic may also be recognized as such based on their influence, reach, reputation, and/or quality of writing as determined by Rotten Tomatoes staff.” Clearly, celebrated reviewers are celebrated at Rotten Tomatoes. In an interview with Tim Ryan in 2008, one of the creators of the site, Senh Duong, stated one of the largest influences on the site was, “watching Siskel & Ebert. When I was picking a domain name for Rotten Tomatoes, I was gonna call it “Thumbs Up” as a tribute to them.”
So if an aggregated movie reviews site worships established film critics, then why are so many critics considered expendable by their employers? The answer of course is in the beautiful simplicity of the Tomatometer. As stated by every critic of modern cultural times, from Charlie Chaplin to Roger Ebert, moviegoers and the general public simply do not have time to accomplish all the tasks they want to achieve in a day. Do to this modern time crunch (that seems to have been afflicting people since the industrial revolution, yet every generation swears is growing worse with every oncoming generation), people are told they do not have time, or money do to this ongoing three year recession, to read newspapers. To combat this lack of time and wealth, people skim through news and movie reviews online because it is much faster and because it is free. Why should someone spend $2.00 on a New York Times and the 25 minutes reading A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis reviews, when he or she can go on Rotten Tomatoes and view a films’ aggregated ranking in 10 seconds for no charge whatsoever? A response to that question is that it is more intellectually stimulating to read an entire review from a trusted source on a film before or after viewing it. The comeback to that is that a person can easily click on a Scott or Dargis review link on Rotten Tomatoes that takes the reader to the original review for zero charge.
Roger Ebert is right in his original assessment in “Death to film critics! Hail to the Celebcult!” that potential readers are the reason so many film critics are losing their jobs at major publications and media outlets, but his explanation is wrong. People still want critical analysis on films and from authoritative voices, they just want it in a streamlined form that Rotten Tomatoes provides and at an excellent price: free.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Opening music: At Rest - Kevin MacLeod.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to check out the NY No Limits 2011 Winter Series film festival. It was held over at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street), a small but comfortable venue.
I turned up to support my friend Igor Yankilevich's film, which you can see listed below - he will, hopefully be guesting on a future podcast to talk about his experiences making "The Rainbow Room" as well as the feature film "Untitled Chapters", which I worked on.
I also spoke briefly with Rafael De Leon Jr., director of the horror comedy "Waffle". Rafael is a big fan of the French horror New Wave and strongly recommends the films "High Tension" (from director Alexandre Aja, whose "The Hills Have Eyes Remake" I am very fond of), "Inside", and the notoriously controversial "Martyrs" (the mighty Scott Tobias did a great piece on it over at the A.V. Club). Rafael will hopefully be making an appearance in a future podcast - he's a great guy and a director going places, as evidenced by his short.
You can check out the line-up and more over at the NY No Limits site.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
|A visual companion to Todd Miro's excellent breakdown of the orange and teal craze currently sweeping Hollywood.|
In defense of color correction:
Movie posters seem to be catching it too:
|Renaldy Smith in Ethan Donnelly's "Saltwater"|
Besides podcasting relentlessly in the pursuit of truth, justice and the silver screen way, Rick and I make an effort to put in the time to develop our passion for writing. That said, here is my newest DVD review for JustPressPlay.net, an excellent website for entertainment news and reviews. The film is "Nowhere Boy", chronicling John Lennon's younger, pre-Beatle years. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Guest: Ethan Donnelly, director of "Saltwater"
Intro music: "The Man" by Top $ Raz
Check us out at http://bkfilmtheorists.blogspot.com/.