Archive for September, 2007

Sweet Fight Scene

Posted in Film, Inspiration, Video, Web on September 21, 2007 by blakejohnson

I found this a few days back online and thought it was pretty awesome.  Very low-budget, they didn’t do any complicated effects, and the production value was only high because of the obvious talent of the two actors.  I watched it and thought “Why aren’t movie fights this cool?”  It can’t be the money, because they obviously didn’t spend much on this, if anything, so what is it?  They can’t find talented enough people?  The choreographer’s aren’t good enough?  This would totally be a crowd-pleaser as a big-budget fight scene, so what’s the deal?  I don’t get it.  I think these guys deserve some applause, just because of their talent, and I know editing can be tedious, especially editing action scenes, but they did a great job in all aspects of this video.  I just wish Hollywood would take a hint from the growing wealth of internet film-related talent and try to step up their game.  I don’t really get why they’re in such a slump right now.  I’ve got a running list going with friends I work with at the movie store, and we’ve discovered so many recent movies that have been remakes it’s ridiculous.  It’s like Hollywood has literally no original ideas anymore, it’s insane.  It’s really not that complicated to come up with something new, I do it all the time.  It might be based on other things, but that’s how we get inspired, so we can’t really help that.  But what’s with continually remaking old movies?  Is it the guarantee of success?  Is Hollywood really so scared that they can’t just take a plunge and go for something new and fresh these days?  I mean there are independent filmmakers out there making movies like Cashback and The Boondock Saints and Bubba Ho-Tep that are really just great films.  What happened to that spirit of making something because it was a great, original idea?  Why don’t they try that anymore in the big-leagues?  Frankly, it’s ridiculous that so many movies these days are unoriginal, I think it’s wrong, really, and it’s getting to the point where I think the internet and rental programs aren’t Hollywood’s only competitors right now, destroying their box-office business; I think it’s them.  If they keep making crappy movies, remakes, things that people have the attitude of “I’ll rent it when it’s out instead of going to the theater to see it,” spending another 5 bucks or whatever, then they’re only killing themselves, and then the independents come as a rise of talent again.  That’s great for the independents, but Hollywood still has a huge market and most of the public’s attention, so how do we find out about Indie films if we’re not looking?  If Hollywood keeps making movies that don’t matter to the public enough for the studios to make the big box-office money they need to pay back their loans, Hollywood’s going to go out of business, and though it won’t happen for a long time, if at all, it paves the way for new indie filmmakers and lots of smaller venues, which can be great.  It can also be seen as a loss of independent thought in the industry that makes up probably close to half of the role models of our teen and pre-teen population.  Hollywood needs to take some chances.  Nothing was ever gained by being safe, but when you let go of your safeguards and go for something that’s really groundbreaking, just because of the newness of the idea, then you really make history.  That’s when people fall in love with filmmaking again.  That’s when people fall in love with the movies again.  I think we need a studio revolution, maybe more than a filmmaking revolution.  Freer thought in the studio will lead to more deals for indie filmmakers, more varied storylines, much more original content in films, and will open doors for casts, crews and all sort of positions in filmmaking for many more people than the current group of near-untouchable elites that actually make things we remember.  And what’s with eh trilogy craze recently?  Just because Lord of the Rings did it means everybody else can make fortunes too?  No, that plays back to the originality idea.  When you make a great movie, don’t go and ruin it by making a crappy couple of sequels like Spiderman, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Matrix and other movies have been doing recently.  Keep the original good idea and let the rest go.  Leave room for others to come in and pick up where you left off, with something else, something new and different, and watch what they come up with, take chances for, and then you take your turn.  I think if we could handle that, we’d be set for a new era of Hollywood filmmaking… where it wasn’t a minority of stares with a monopoly of the industry… it was a huge amount of people involved in making touching and important stories and characters come to life for everyone to revitalize the theaters and remember how to enjoy movies again.  That would be beautiful.  Like the Majestic… kinda…only without the whole Communism scandal.  (If you haven’t seen The Majestic, you should, there’s another great original movie they didn’t make into a trilogy).  Back to the link that got this all started… enjoy the fight scene below.  And any comments are welcome too, this just got me excited so I went on ranting.  Hope you enjoyed it ;).


Retro DVD Player

Posted in DIY, Inspiration, Resources, Web on September 21, 2007 by blakejohnson

I found this sweet tutorial on making an old, retro-looking DVD player.  It’s pretty awesome.  Usually I wouldn’t go for retro-looking things but this is pretty cool.  It looks like an old radio, but it plays DVDs, and I guess somehow you’d hook it up to your TV, which when you know what you’re doing, really wouldn’t be that hard.  And really, this whole project wouldn’t be that hard, depending on how you went about it, but they have DVD players that don’t have little doors or trays, and you could just put your DVD player in a cool looking case and then make the buttons line up with the buttons on the outside, and then hook it up to your TV the way your normally would, and you’d be all set without really doing any work… though finding a DVD player and a retro radio whose buttons matched up would probably be fairly difficult.  It looks like they did some rewiring so that they didn’t have to have the buttons line up on the inside and outside, but they rewired it so the buttons on the outside at least ran through wiring to the buttons on the inside (the player) and did what you were telling it to do.  The coolest thing though, is that they put the little LED that your remote points at when you use it to do something to the player in the front of the retro case so that the remote still works too.  It’s all basic stuff and fairly simple, especially when you know what you’re doing and how some wiring works and whatnot, but I think it’s pretty cool.  It looks cool anyway.  Check it out.


A Time To Serve

Posted in Life, News, People, Web on September 19, 2007 by blakejohnson

In the article in TIME Magazine, “A Time To Serve,” the authors (Jeremy Caplan and Kristina Dell) expressed the importance of voluntary service on a national level to preserve and strengthen our Republic.  At the moment, the United States is slumped, morale is low and the general consensus among citizens is that the nation is swaying.  For some reason, many people believe that volunteer service is a left-wing ideology.  However, the founding father, in creating this nation, knew at the time that “A republic, to survive, needed not only the consent of the governed but also their active participation. It was not a machine that would go of itself; free societies do not stay free without the involvement of their citizens” (1).  Essentially, without the people’s help, the Republic will fail.  Caplan and Dell proposed a 10-part plan to advance the country into what they hopefully called a “Greatest Generation.”  The idea is a mix of new and old ideas coming together to form programs and organizations including a new version of F.D.R.’s CCC, a serious effort toward recruiting volunteers and response groups to disasters of all sorts, all over the nation; a baby bond for every baby born that provides them with money for college, business or a home, and even an academy for service workers, where they would “be studying the Federalist papers and learning how to transform a failing public school” (5).  This idea, left-wing or not, is a step toward the advancement of the U.S. society and the world as a whole, taking humanity closer to their goal of equality and reopening the eyes of the people globally, showing and teaching them to care and help one another.  The cost of the effort, since money is always playing a big role in our society, is nothing more than about two to three month’s budget spent on the war in Iraq, per year.  That means that even with a war, we’d be more than sufficiently capable of running all of these programs, fostering new ideas and generating a more humane way of treating and dealing with people not only in our country but around the world, and pulling humanity and our society back up toward the level of Republic and honor and decency that the founding fathers had in mind in their creation of this nation in the first place.  Radical changes are often necessary to achieve worthy results.  “The courageous souls who signed the Declaration of Independence pledged ‘our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.’ The least we can do to keep the Republic is to pledge a little time” (6).  National well-being – the survival of our Republic – deserves at least this much of a contribution from us.


Pangea Day

Posted in Film, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Life, News, People, Realtionships, Video, Web, YouTube on September 18, 2007 by blakejohnson

Well this is quite an interesting effort these guys are making.  It’s
essentially a synthesis of the world’s films about the world.  We make
movies, we send them in, then they all get shown on Pangea Day in
2008.  I don’t know if there’s some kind of selection process for this,
but it is definitely worth a shot.  Check out their ad here and the
website from the link below.


The Descendants

Posted in Film, News, Video, Web, YouTube on September 18, 2007 by blakejohnson

I’ve also been a fan of Ryan Weiber and Dorkman Scott for a long time too – since I saw their first Star Wars fanfilm years ago – and they’ve recently come out with a new one as well.  This trailer, I’m not sure if it’s a work of theirs or what, looked awesome.  It’s got Ray Park (Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace) and is based on a comic book.  It’s also being produced by Dark Horse Entertainment (Hellboy and The Mask).  I haven’t seen The Mask and Hellboy wasn’t exactly top-notch, so I don’t know how well it’s going to be done, but Ray Park was very talented in Star Wars and if Ryan Weiber or Dorkman Scott have anything to do with this, it’ll at least be aweing (to me at least) to watch, just because they’re people who got into filmmaking in much the same way that I did – through Star Wars fanfilms.  So anyway… here’s the trailer, that looks very good and has some good, simple production value elements in it, which was nice to see – that they’re not focusing solely on the effects this time – and some pretty cool-looking shots in there.  The titles are also fairly amateurish so I was partly intrigued by that – wondering if maybe it had something to do with who was making the series.  Anyway, here’s the trailer below, and the link below that, as always.  Enjoy.


A PSA from Bo Burnham

Posted in Humor, Video, Web, YouTube on September 18, 2007 by blakejohnson

Alright, well I’ve been a fan of Bo Burnham for a while now, and when I saw in my subscription update email from YouTube that he’d put up a new video, naturally I went to watch it.  Different from his usual videos – musical comedy skits he plays usually from his room and not always while wearing pants – this was a kind of nice change, but still quite funny nonetheless.  The opening was mediocre, but I quickly broke out laughing when he was standing at the car.  There are moments of seriousness, hilarity and solemn wishes for good kids to stay good kids, but all in all, this is just funny.  I thought it was a pretty good new addition to the Burnham collection of comedy skits.  Enjoy.


Fergie Spoof

Posted in Humor, Music, People, Video, Web, YouTube on September 16, 2007 by blakejohnson

Here’s a pretty funny video spoofing Fergie’s new single that’s been out and of course overplayed the last few weeks.  These two guys are awesome at this.  Enjoy the video: