Thursday, November 29, 2007

new blog

We're starting a new blog, mainly for BearManor Media. Please check it out at http://bearmanor.blogspot.com/

Meantime, we saw Mr. Magorium last night - and we were the only 2 in the theatre. Was everyone else in Enchanted? Anyway, it was fun. Not as much of an epic as the idea allowed - in fact, being basically a one-set show with not Too many gags in it, there was a cheapness to it that I was a bit disappointed in. Could've been a tv show, in a way. But what there Was of it was good. Not very good, but worth a 90 minute sit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Enchanted pt. 2

I forgot to ask something Very important in my previous post on this film.

If the cartoon prince and princess change into real people after coming thru the manhole - why is the chipmunk still a cartoon?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beowulf

We saw this yesterday in Tallahassee. I thought All viewings were 3-D so I was a little disappointed at seeing the Regular version of this. My wife and I were interested in finding out what the Story was about because it's like Dante's Inferno - it's just one of those old stories you've heard of and wonder about it.

Well, one of the few cartoons we didn't watch this year was Shrek 3, but I think we saw it yesterday. How many of you prefer the old type of animation that was hand drawn? Hands up!

Now, how many of you like the new style?

Okay, now how many of you just don't notice? Perhaps you play video games or are used to seeing this style so much that it doesn't matter to you?

Well, I knew it was going to be like because of the preview which was shown over and Over, as much as a National Guard commercial (the current one - the music video - is Too long; it's 3.5 minutes!! I timed it twice). But the 2 problems I've always had with the Shrek/game type of animation are:

1. Everything and every character looks like it weighs the weight of a rotten pecan. Even when Spiderman is flying thru the air as a cartoon in his films, doing those too-fast flips, he seems to have the heaviness of a small cardboard box.

2. The characters are generally emotionless, all having the same kind of plain faces. Yes, it's quicker to do that animation, but I have to agree with Leonard Maltin (who liked Enchanted a whole lot) when he said that we need a return to classic animation, drawn by hand. Wouldn't that be nice? Or does it matter to the general population? (I mean, I used to like playing those Myst-type games, back when I had time, which are now filled with these characters.)

That said, there were elements I liked about Beowulf. But my wife and I have a rating system between us: bad, okay, good, very good, great. This, we agreed, was okay.

Okay, it might've helped if either of us liked medieval stuff. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Enchanted

I've always believed that the most Important part of the film is the end. The very end. Not the first five minutes, which is what budding screenwriters are told. What the audience leaves with is that final time. Not the start, even if they remember it.

That's what saved Enchanted for me. I had hope for Disney's new fantasy because of the trailer (designed mostly for teen girls though it seemed to me) and the opening animation. We saw it last night for a post-Thanksgiving treat. I liked elements of it, though it didn't milk the "fish out of water" situation enough. Think of the 1st 2 Crocodile Dundee films. Those work for me. Enchanted doesn't seem slow at all in hindsight, but until the satisfying ending, I felt that a bit.

Also, I'm not from the era of Disney fans - and I'm a big one - who think that pissing on a prince's shoe and seeing a chipmunk poop a raisin is funny in a PG-rated family film. Yep, those things got laughs, yep, this is 2007 and body humor is natural, therefore allowed, often. But those things were always natural. When I was growing up (I sound like an old man, but I'm 37 this minute) the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles was played on network tv in silence. Now it's restored to its glowing, original soundtrack of burping and farting sounds. I can think of no better comparison of '80s to '00s than that.

And remember, I like Saw and bloody horror movies, so I'm hardly a prude. But when I go see a kid's film, I like an air of innocence. I guess that's why I keep going back to pre-Little Mermaid Disney stuff...

But as I say, the ending of Enchanted was what we all wanted, it was cute, and it didn't even end on a fart joke, for some reason. Would I recommend the film? No. It's not destined to be a Disney classic, in the same way that no one watches The Great Mouse Detective. There's not enough substance to make it last past a DVD release. Then again, I think Gus is great and who else ever mentions that film?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Disney on Ice



Last Friday we saw Disney on Ice here in Albany, GA. Really good show. It was Princesses on Ice. The first part was a medley of stories, and the 2nd act was completely Cinderella. My wife liked the 2nd part best because of the costumes, and probably because it was a more developed story. But I'm pretty sure she liked the Snow White section of the first half, because that's when we started taking pictures.

We went with my grandmother and mother. Couldn't find our seats - they make it Really hard to find! Disney, if you're listening, you need to do something about that!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

we went to the circus!






Yep, the circus came to Albany a month or so ago and we took all these pictures. I forgot to put them up, but better late than never.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Horrorfest pt. 2


Monday night I tried another one. Carmike's website said it was going to be Crazy Eights, but when I got there, it was Tooth and Nail. Didn't matter to me. I didn't read about any of the films - I like to be surprised. I was just glad it was one I hadn't seen before.

I liked the idea of the set-up to Tooth and Nail. The world has torn itself to pieces after the gas runs out. Lack of cars and power ruined everyone. But there are some survivors. In this story, some of the survivors are holed up in a ruined hospital that has no electricity, few drugs, and lots of exits/entrances for the villains of the film - cannibals. It was good, but had there been more action than talk, I would've stayed. I left about 30 minutes before it ended (I think), but there was no one else in the theatre but me!

I would LOVE to read some articles about how this fest got itself such great distribution. This is Exactly what indie filmmakers want. Unfortunately, the choices of some of these films is going to make it hard to have a Horrorfest 2. Especially with the underwhelming audiences, due to lack of advertising really. Was this fest sponsored as a tax write-off? Or was there some The Producers-like plot going on behind the scenes we'll never know about? I'd sure like to know how this good idea got so far.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Horrorfest

I had to try Horrorfest
because I like the genre, and I can't recall another time in my life that a group of indie films were so Easy to get to. I mean, they are playing in All the little towns nearby - Dothan, Columbus and even right here in Albany. Now only that, but they are playing here in the Big theatre, one of 3 of the 16 rooms always reserved for new/popular films. The other theatres are much smaller (so of course I like going to new films when they first come out, for the big theatre experience). That's why even though my enjoyment of this film festival has been mixed, I'm going back a couple more times.

On Friday I did a double feature of Unearthed and The Deaths of Ian Stone. Unearthed was interesting, filled with what we've come to love in our modern films: gore, and attractive young women being terrorized. I didn't care for the cartoon creatures, and there was a vague flatness to the look of the film that tells you you're not watching a major Hollywood film, but then so what?

I'm just glad I stayed for the 2nd film, The Deaths of Ian Stone, which wasn't so much a horror movie as a thriller/fantasy. In fact, the high school or jr. college students talking a lot in the back row (the only other people in the theatre) were at once disappointed when the film began because they could tell it was a British film - as if the nationality means anything. As it turns out, it was the most interesting of the 3 films I've seen so far. One reviewer called it Groundhog Day for horror films. Well, after seeing Doom, I learned not to bother paying attention to film critics' opinions. I thought Doom was Very fun - and that's the Best thing a film can be, isn't it? - but it got lots of D and F reviews. I disagree. And I digress.

Ian Stone was more like one of the latter Hellraisers, in which someone is trapped in the same day all the time - however, rather than waking up in the same place all the time, Ian wakes in a different life every time. So it's more like Quantum Leap than Anything else. Hey, we've got a QL book coming out next month! :)

Well, the loud kids left about a half hour before the film was over, and I finished it alone. Good movie.

Then last night I saw the 10 o'clock show of Nightmare Man. Well, sir, I know how difficult the indie film biz is. Because you never have the budget you want. So many of the movies, including Nightmare Man, end up looking like student films. This one had gore and plenty of sexiness, and some interesting bits along the way. It's just difficult getting away from the Look of the film - was it shot on video? I hate judging books by their covers, because people do it to our stuff all the time, but there is a reason for it, I realize. To me, the most important way to get Into a film is have good cinematography and enough variety of camera angles. Editing will only take you so far. A picture needs to be viewed from many angles to appreciate it fully, I think, and the same goes for a movie. Well, Nightmare Man was a good try, but, well, again, there were only 4 people in the theatre for this movie, and the young man/woman couple walked out of This film about 20 minutes before it was over. I don't blame them. But I was fascinated, to be honest, to see something like This on the big screen. This is usually the kind of film you'll find bundled in one of those dvd sets - 13 films on 3 dvds for $7.99. So paying $8 for a ticket to it - well, I wasn't about to walk out on it. Besides, there were some Good things about it. Mia, the true lead of the movie, was fun to watch, and some of her dialogue during the terror moments was super.


Yes, I'll be going back before the Fest ends on Sunday. Indie needs our support. It REALLY does. There are jewels to be found.

I would love to publish a few volumes of indie film scripts - one of award-winners, one of horror/terror. There are a lot of blooming, brilliant minds out there. But without rewarding them in Some way - like going to see their films - how are they going to make it? They will wait tables, work at Walmart, and we'll All lose the next Saw, Star Wars and Casablancas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

in Japan












More pictures of us in Japan! Good, traditional Japanese food. Kyoto Station (subway and train) which has an incredible amount of people and shops. Go underground here and you can get lost in the wide halls of commerce - and you'll go broke with choices...

Above on the right: my wife and I on the ocean's coast which we visited with her parents. It rained, but my God it was an incredible site. More on that later.