Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Seymour: An Introduction

This is an introduction to Seymour Bernstein called, strangely enough, Seymour: An Introduction. Directed (and has a small appearance on screen) by Ethan Hawke (who isn't sure if his acting is meaning anything).

Seymour seems to be a likeable enough fellow. He was a pianist growing up, and now teaches piano playing... and has a boatload of cred. A lot of people praise his skills and teachings, and we see some of the teaching in action. We also get some piano playing from his, and he does seem to have lost none of his skills (and he even composes).

This is largely a go-over of his life, and he has some amusing stories to tell. He lived his life as he wanted to, and can't ask for fairer than that.

However, watching this made me want to watch Pianomania yet again.


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Monday, 27 July 2015

Going Clear

It's that Scientology movie that's been making the rounds recently, and while it was a free documentary on HBO, you can pay to watch it as part of the film festival! Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

This is a series of interviews with people who have escapes from Scientology. We also go through the history, starting with L. Ron Hubbard, and going through Dianetics through to Scientology, and new leader David Miscavige. Of course you hear the stories and wonder why people stay there, but they also talk a little about being in a cult like this, with it being the only thing you know. The movie also touches on John Travolta and Tom Cruise as members, and somehow they still are.

I don't get angry about Scientology any more, just get weary. This is crazy, but so many people are into it, that it's just not worth my time any more. And one could easily make comparisons to other cults and other religions. Hey, let's just remove all tax exemption religion status and then they wont fight the IRD! But that's never going to happen, so no wonder L. Ron said 'there's money in religion'.

If you know about Scientology, this isn't going to reveal anything new, but this is a good in depth discussion of it.


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Sunday, 26 July 2015

City of Gold

The New Zealand International Film Festival is here, and I'm taking time out to see some movies. The first being City of Gold.

Jonathan Gold is the food critic for the LA Times, which tells you this is a movie about food, and a movie set in Los Angeles. In particular, he tends to find out of the way places, ethnic places, that you wouldn't think to try to find, let alone think to eat at. Because of him, many small places become quite popular, So this movie also talks about Jonathan himself, and about food criticising, and especially about Los Angeles and what that city is about.

It seems a decent movie, but I felt like there was a message there for the people of Los Angeles, and not really for me. I've been trying to write why not, and it's nothing Jonathan does in the movie, he seems a nice guy, and yet... it just fell flat for me.

Good movie, but can't say I'd give it a second look.


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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Insiduous 3

Yep, it's the next movie they pumped out of another horror movie franchise, because why not?

We are in prequel territory, and a young girl/women (she's around 16?) is trying to contact her recently dead mother. However, something else is in the dark and has taken an interest in her, and things aren't turning out well. Elise Rainier (the only good character from the previous movies) is reluctant to get involved (because of the heavily thunked in references to the earlier/later movies), but eventually gets back in the game to help her.

Actually... this is a lot better than the previous two movies. If they were up to this quality, I might like them. Perhaps because we get a fresh story, away from that annoying family I had no interest in? Not that I'm caring all that much about this new family, but we aren't supposed to go 'oh, what a terrible thing happened to that kid' like in the other movies, and it just gets on with building atmosphere. The effects are kept simple, which is good, made all the more interesting when we get the previous monsters cameo'ing in to compare them to. (And I have no interest in watching those earlier movies again.)

There's no sign of a 4 yet... and I want to say good, but we do finally see some talent on display I'd like to see more from.


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Friday, 24 July 2015

Fourth Alias

When the series started Sydney was working for a supposed clandestine branch of the CIA, under Arvin Sloane... time to completely innovate that!

Now she's working for a clandestine branch of the CIA, under Arvin Sloane... see, totally different! Yes, this season restarts the series for a third time, and goes back to the beginning. Only this time it's a legitimate branch of the CIA. Oh, and her half-sister is now working with her.

Having gone into Sydney's history in the previous seasons, they can't mine that too much, so let's start picking on her bf Vaughn and unveiling that not everything in his past is a bed a roses. This will continue into season 5, but is set up here.

The big villain of this season is a duplicate Arvin Clone, who is also after Rimbaldi, and gets normal Arvin back into it. And Arvin eventually teams up with...

Now, the big surprise they didn't reveal at the end of the last season is that Jack (Sydney's father) killed Irina (Sydney's mother), because Irnia ordered a hit on Syndey. Quick, hands up all those who believe Irina is actually dead? In this series, of course not, and that's who Arvin teams up with.

All this leads up to a final two parter that deals with Rimbaldi and bad CGI effects, and whatever. Finally over, Syndey and Vaughn go off on holiday, and Vaughn is about unveil all, when... car crash!

Oh, the things they will end up having to wrap up in the last season, I'm sure there won't be any threads left.


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Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Lest House on Cemetery Lene

Some people would claim this is a great and very clever parody... I think those people aren't judging it quite right.

A horror movie writer rents out a house, and very slowly (so very slowly) strange things happen. In the attic is an old woman who never comes out and has a dark secret. And the writer meets the neighbour with her own secret, but he slowly falls for her.

And there is absolutely nothing surprising about what happens. Make a prediction, this movie fills it. And I think that's where the point of it being amazing comes in? It's a collection of tropes that is exactly that, a collection of tropes and you know what's coming. But here's the point they are missing... the writer/director does nothing with it. It's a collection of tropes, but that all it is. As Jim Stirling as pointed out, if you are going to parody something, you have to do more than just ape what it is you are supposedly parodying, otherwise it's just another thing that you want to parody. And nothing comes of this, nothing original is done with this, and the movie itself... this director has done other movies, so why is this so bad? It feels like the actors weren't given any directions as to how to play their characters and the first shot was good enough.

This isn't parody, this is just a bad movie.


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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

They've all got it Infini

Just because you give a movie sci-fi trappings doesn't make it any more original.

An out of the way research station goes quiet, and when people investigate they come back diseased. One man of that group escapes to the research station before they all die. Another group is sent in, they meet up, they get infected, and then slowly go crazy and die.

Except it's a sci-fi deep space research station near a black hole which is accessed by teleportation which sometimes has errors... and while I admit I wasn't playing complete attention for reasons below, I don't think any of that mattered. It wasn't like the virus was because of the problems in the teleportation, and I don't think they said the virus creature came from the black hole...

However, a lot of this movie is filmed in rush cut-o-vision, in which if we haven't cut to another angle or similar in the last five seconds, then it isn't an action scene. On top of that, the actors are either in suits so their voices are muffled, or they are diseased so all putting on growly diseased voices, so you can't make out what they are saying anyway.

I'm sure this would have been a better movie (as the concept of the virus eventually promised), but this is not the best realisation of it.


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