Archive for the 'Movies' Category

LaPorte, Indiana

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

My old college buddy Joe is working on his directorial debut: a documentary called LaPorte, Indiana. I can’t decide whether or not the premise is simple or ambitions.  I suppose it’s both, and that’s what’s so great about it.  I described it as “Peoples Is Peoples: The Movie.”

But don’t take my word for it.  Watch the trailer, and then, if you’re feeling moved to do so, help them finish it.


Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

I’ve been taking some classes in 3D computer programming for the last year or so.  It’s something that’s always interested me, and something I always felt was missing from my computer science expertise.  For a project in one of my classes, my partner and I were given the assignment of rendering a set from the play Mr. Roberts using Pixar’s RenderMan format.  Here’s what we came up with:

While it came out better than I expected, it really makes you appreciate what goes into rendering an image like this:

I love the lighting.  The main characters are bright and vivid even though the scene, like mine, is seemingly lit only from moonlight.  And while the moon creates stark shadows from the characters, distracting shadows from the window are conveniently omitted.  That’s the nice thing about computers.  You don’t have to deal with pesky physics.

I’ve Got A Movie That Will Pack The House

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

When I saw this marquee in Blue Island, my first thought was, “I can’t believe that theater is showing Little GIants.”  Then I realized that perhaps Little Giants was the last movie the theater showed before it closed… in 1994… when Little Giants came out.

I tried calling the number.  No one answered.

A Friendship You Could Never Imagine

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

I threw together a last minute Halloween costume.  Can you guess who I was from the silhouette?

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Don’t Let The Fame Go To Your Hedge Funds

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

There are film writers who can do a better job reviewing The Dark Knight than I — here’s a good one — but, like everyone else, I sure dug it. As advertised, Heath Ledger steals the show, but I was even more impressed with the performance of our fair city. Chicago wore very little makeup in its portrayal of Gotham, and the city looks gorgeous. I was particularly excited when Batman threw the Joker into a limestone wall that I’m pretty sure was my bank. My bank! A big movie star! I can say I withdrew from it way back when.

I suspect The Dark Knight will join The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as one of the all-time best Chicago movies. High Fidelity did pretty good too. Oh, and Stranger Than Fiction. And don’t even get me started on John Hughes. What are your favorites?

There Are Ladies Everywhere!

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Went to see Indiana Jones on Friday. I’ve never seen the movie theater so packed in my life. At first I was worried the movie would be sold out, but once we got in line for tickets it was clear that the throng wasn’t there for no Crystal Skulls. The box office was packed with women dressed up fancy for a night on the town. Yes, it was opening night for Sex And The City. As we inched through the crowd to get to the theater, we overheard an Indy fan in front of us complain, “There are ladies everywhere!“. It’s weird to see dolled up girls buying popcorn and waiting in line next to the Dance Dance Revolution machine. Movie theaters are not glamorous.

Brian spent much of the night trying to capture the moment on his camera phone. “I’m trying to look like I’m reading a message, not taking pictures.”

Some Third Party Candidates To Consider

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

I’ve never really been all that into politics. The candidates never seem to talk about anything that really interests me. Maybe I’m not paying attention. Luckily, the Internet has made it possible for some less mainstream candidates to get their message out.

Cobra Commander ’08
While I tend to vote along party lines with G.I. Joe, it hasn’t always been clear cut. Let’s face it, Storm Shadow was awesome and Bazooka was kind of annoying. Cobra Commander has some interesting new ideas, including a 2-trillion dollar weather dominator and his “elderly into food” program. He also has much-needed experience running a complex paramilitary organization without submitting to the demands of special interests. He doesn’t submit to any demands!

Cobra Commander also has amazing support from the celebrity crowd, which might motivate young voters and surprise some pundits in November. It will be interesting to see who joins Cobra Commander as his running mate. Destro would be an obvious choice and could definitely enfranchise the chrome vote, but The Baroness would bring a strong female figure to the ticket as well as much needed experience with foreign intelligence.

Zod 2008
I’ll be honest, I think Zod has an uphill climb to the White House in 2008. It will be hard for him to differentiate himself from Cobra Commander, policy-wise, and he has a weird-looking beard. Still, he has a message that resonates with everyone who thinks Superman is kind of annoying because he has no weaknesses. (Kryptonite? Please. What a crutch!) He also has some experience running the country from Superman II, although he did entrust Lex Luthor with most of the day-to-day operations.

Roslin/Airlock ’08
It’s unclear if this is an official ticket or just an Al Gore-esque grass-roots recruitment campaign staged by loyal fans. Either way, it’s hard to dispute Laura Roslin’s three years of wartime experience. It’s also hard to dispute Airlock’s strict interpretation of justice — impartially evacuating Cylons into the cold expanse of space.

You See? Your Stupid Minds! Stupid! Stupid!

Monday, January 21st, 2008

At the last minute I got a ticket to Northwestern’s annual B-Fest. I’ve been going for the last 6 years or so, and you’d be hard pressed to find a larger collection of nerds and geeks short of a Jonathon Coulton concert. (I can speak to this as a nerd and geek who is a huge fan of Jonathon Coulton.)

B-Fest is a 24-hour film festival (6pm Friday – 6pm Saturday) of non-stop awful movies. The only feature film that is shown each and every year is Plan 9 From Outer Space. Folks who have been there before know all the Rocky Horror-style shenanigans, most notably the tossing of paper plates when the pathetic looking pie-tin flying saucers appear on the screen.

In the last couple years people have begun writing and drawing on the plates, sending messages to the great beyond — or at least someone else in the theater. Many of them are obscure film references. Others are more to the point.

Aw Crap, I’m Making A Movie

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

I hate it when I accidentally put my camera in video mode.


Then I started saving the videos and editing them together. It kind of cracks me up. I’ve set up a group on this weird Jumpcut site where you can upload your accidental videos. Please do. Together we can make one of the dumbest movies ever!

Pretty Pictures

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

I’ve seen two great photography projects on the Internet and they were both done by the same person:

3 Years 3 Minutes


I find “3 Years 3 Minutes” especially brilliant. Something about it gets to me, like that commercial with the elephant or the end of A League of Their Own when the ladies are all old.

It’s hard to take a step back and look at three years of your life when you’re busy living it. Even though the movie shows someone else’s life, I can’t help but see how much my life has changed in the last three years: love lost, friends found, houses bought, fires set. What can I say? It gets to me… like when siblings give speeches at weddings or when Farmer Hoggett says, “That’ll do, Pig.”

I Also Sing

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

While I’m on the subject of this double dutch movie, what is it with child-actors singing theme songs for their movies? Both stars of Jump In! (Corbin Blue and Keke Palmer) recorded songs for the movie.

Corbin sings the hit “Push it to the Limit.”
Keke’s is the almost-titular jam “Jumpin’.”

I recently saw Bridge to Terabithia (which really requires a post of its own) and during the closing credits AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Leslie in the movie, sings this syrupy number: “Keep Your Mind Wide Open.”

Want more? During the credits of Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Alexa Vega sings “Isle of Dreams,” which I actually like, but that’s beside the point. She also sang the theme from Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, aptly titled “Game Over.” That one I don’t like as much, and apparently neither does YouTube.

No one’s got the movie-credits-recap-song down like Will Smith, though. I think his lyrics come from the back of the DVD box. Hey, thanks for recapping the movie I just saw, Will! Check out his recap of Men in Black II.

Two Turning Ropes and a Dumbaphone

Friday, July 20th, 2007

That’s the worst headline ever. I apologize.

Looks like Disney ripped off my great idea for a double dutch movie. Obviously they visit this site every day. What’s worse is it stars Corbin Bleu from my favorite TV Show: Flight 29 Down. And to think, Corbin, I spent all year telling everyone how good your show is. This is the thanks I get?

“Jump In!” is the story of a boxer who is begrudgingly drawn into the world of competitive double dutch. There he learns a thing or two about himself… or something ridiculous like that. He also finds a way to stupidly use his new-found double dutch skills in the boxing ring. You have to see this to believe it. (Go to the official Jump In! site, click on videos, and watch clip #3. You will be whatever the opposite of blown away is.)

Corbin says, “They gave me the script and I fell in love with it.” Really? You fell in love with it? The script to “Jump In!?” Stupid Bleu. Aw, who am I kidding? I’m still going to see the Flight 29 Down movie when it comes out.

Meanwhile, my brother Brian and his friends have come up with probably the most ingenious idea ever: air double dutch. It’s simple. Two folks pretend to spin double dutch ropes and people take turns jumping in and doin’ their, um,  thang. It’s amazing how good everyone is without those pesky ropes always getting in the way. It works best in a public place where strangers can join in. Spread the word! Unlike “Jump In!” it’s a national phenomenon!


Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

I saw that movie The Prestige the other night and loved it. I loved it so much that when I got to work the next day I was really excited to talk to everyone about it. Here is a one-act play summarizing our water-cooler conversation:

ME: Hey did you see The Prestige?
EVERYONE ELSE I WORK WITH: Yeah. We all saw it, like, 6 months ago when it came out, and we all already talked about it. Pfft.

Unlike the movie, it was a little disappointing. But really, what was I going to say about it?

I Still Prefer Drumline

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Stomp The Yard was a bit of a letdown. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fabulous movie, but I can’t help comparing it to Drumline — maybe because it had the exact same plot! And when it comes down to it, I think marching bands are cooler than steppers. Also, I kind of thought the Mus (bad guys) were better steppers than the Thetas (good guys.) I know DJ put on his dead brother’s gloves at the end, and I know they showed his moves in the superest of slow motions, but the moves? Meh.

What really made the movie were the other people in the audience besides our crew. (And thanks to the running crew for humoring me… yet again.) There was the incredibly large lady who kept turning around to make sassy comments to us: “Oooh. He think he all that!” and the little girl who must have sat in every seat in the theater, but none for more than 5 seconds.

I think the world needs a good double dutch movie.

By the way, I’m looking out my window right now and it’s snowing up. I think all this DayQuil is getting to me.