Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Think This Summarizes Me To A Tee [quote]

Aaron Sorkin above right
"By and large, I write about people who are considerably smarter than I am. I was raised that way. My family members and friends growing up were all smarter than I. I really fell in love with the phonetic sound of intelligence and the sound of a really good argument." Aaron Sorkin, Fortune magazine

I think "I really fell in love with the phonetic sound of intelligence and the sound of a really good argument." summarizes me to a TEE! Since birth! I've always loved hanging around older people to hear them talk. Not that WTF they were saying was "intelligent", but it was a lot more intriguing than the bubblegum bullshit I heard from my peers. LOL.

I will argue shit I don't even believe in if I think it's a good argument. Those who follow me on Twitter will notice that I might retweet shit I don't even believe in if it stirs conversation. Something I posted on Instagram about a week ago
Basically a retweet is not an endorsement.

I said all that to say that I love a good argument. Not a mean spirited type with personal attacks, but  "A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating a truth or falsehood; the methodical process of logical reasoning." I always joke that if I give up this film thing I might become a lawyer. LOL

Check out the Fortune video interview here

Read more about Aaron SorkinWikipedia

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Six Filmmaking Tips From David Fincher

6 Filmmaking Tips From David Fincher

By Cole Abaius - Film School Rejects
April 18, 2012

Perfectionist. Demanding. Hard to work with. David Fincher is a man who hates his own brand but is secure in his own reputation. Of course, it’s a little bit easy when that reputation includes stunning movies and a mind that can operate at an auteur speed in the high-occupancy Hollywood studio lane.
He’s a (mostly) accessibly genius, which is rare and which means that we as fans and filmmakers can learn a lot from him. Fortunately, he’s as free with his advice as he is with his nightmarish visions.
Here’s a bit of free film school from a living legend.

Make the Calls Yourself

“What you learn from that first – and I don’t call it ‘trial by fire’; I call it ‘baptism by fire’ – is that you are going to have to take all of the responsibility, because basically when it gets right down to it, you are going to get all of the blame, so you might as well have made all of the decisions that led to people either liking it or disliking it. There’s nothing worse than hearing somebody say, ‘Oh, you made that movie? I thought that movie sucked,’ and you have to agree with them, you know?”
Fincher said this to Quint in regards to his experience making Alien 3 and the beginning belief that the people around him would know the best people to work with. That full interview is worth perusing because it feels like the evolution of a strong-willed director realizing he should never pocket his opinions in the service of the studio.
The key here is that after growing in his craft with a solid team he knew, Fincher accepted that the studio would be even better at securing talented DPs, gaffers and technicians. That wasn’t necessarily the case – or, at least, Fincher didn’t gel with them as he could have with a trusted group, and the result was lacking.

Give Everything You Have and Know It Won’t Be Enough

“I never fall in love with anything. I really don’t, I am not joking. ‘Do the best you can, try to live it down,’ that’s my motto. Just literally give it everything you got, and then know that it’s never going to turn out the way you want it to, and let it go, and hope that it doesn’t return. Because you want it to be better than it can ever turn out. Absolutely, 1000 percent, I believe this: Whenever a director friend of mine says, ‘Man, the dailies look amazing!’ … I actually believe that anybody, who thinks that their dailies look amazing doesn’t understand the power of cinema; doesn’t understand what cinema is capable of.”
False modesty? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem likely. Of course, Fincher appears to be as broody as his films, but this feels more like Zen wisdom than anything else.
That Zen wisdom can go a long way. Making a “perfect movie” is impossible even before considering the subjective loopholes. As an art form with thousands of people crafting individual pieces that lock into place, one person will never have the power to make exactly what he or she wants, but will always have the power to give their best, hardest, smartest work.

Directing is Ballet

It turns out Fincher was the main character of Black Swan (and that he rightfully doesn’t see movies as a platform solely for actors to monopolize the stage).

Only six takes? Prima donna.

Look at Everything Through Two Different Eyes

In the commentary track for Se7en, Fincher explains that when he was working at ILM, he was taught that a director should look at each scene’s set up with each eye individually. Left eye for composition (because it’s connected to the creative right side of the brain). Right eye for focus and technical specs (because it’s connected to the mathematical left side of the brain).
There’s no telling whether this is spot-on or absolute bunk. If it is bunk, it’s bunk from David Fincher and ILM, so it’s probably still worth something.

Know the Difference Between Films and Movies

“A movie is made for an audience and a film is made for both the audience and the filmmakers. I think that The Game is a movie and I think Fight Club‘s a film. I think that Fight Club is more than the sum of its parts, whereas Panic Room is the sum of its parts. I didn’t look at Panic Room and think: Wow, this is gonna set the world on fire. These are footnote movies, guilty pleasure movies. Thrillers. Woman-trapped-in-a-house movies. They’re not particularly important.”
Another lesson here? Don’t be so pretentious that you think everything you make is “important.” There’s room in this world for popcorn fiction and movies that are exactly the sum of their parts.

Have No Fear and Eat the Whale

“You can’t take everything on. That’s why when people ask how does this film fit into my oeuvre. I say ‘I don’t know. I don’t think in those terms’. If I did, I might become incapacitated by fear . . . How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. How do you shoot a 150-day movie? You shoot it one day at a time.”
Fincher has spoken on multiple occasions about his “brand” and his dislike for being branded. His solution is not acknowledging it when it comes to attaching himself to projects or making creative decisions. He hates it when marketing departments put “From director David Fincher” on posters, but who would have thought the guy who made an obese man eat himself to death would want to follow an Ivy League computer nerd?
Sack up, and take a bite of the whale.

A great Fincher quote I posted on Twitter
CLICK the graphic below to check out ALL the ones I have posted here

Six Filmmaking Tips From Martin Scorsese

6 Filmmaking Tips From Martin Scorsese
By Cole Abaius - Film School Rejects
on May 2, 2012

In his review of Mean Streets, Roger Ebert claimed that Martin Scorsese had the potential to become the American Fellini in ten years. It probably didn’t really take that long.
Scorsese is a living library of film, but he isn’t a dusty repository of knowledge. He’s a vibrant, imaginative creator who might know more about movies than anyone else on the planet, and that makes him uniquely qualified to be both prolific and proficient.
Over the course of his career, he’s created indelible works bursting with anger, violence, fragility, care, and wonder. Never content to stick with one story mode, he’s run the gamut of styles and substance. So here’s a free bit of film school (for filmmakers and fans alike) from our American Fellini.

Never Stop Looking For Inspiration (Because You’re Gonna Need It)

Scorsese: One night I was watching late-night films on . . . I think it was on Showtime. There was this film called Yeelen [1987]. The picture had just started at 2:30 in the morning, and the image was very captivating, and I watched the whole thing. I discovered that it was directed by Souleymane Cissé and came from Mali. I got so excited. I had seen Ousmane Sembène’s films from Senegal-he was the first to put African cinema on the map, in the ’60s-but I hadn’t seen anything quite like this . . . the poetry of the film. I’ve seen many, many movies over the years, and there are only a few that suddenly inspire you so much that you want to continue to make films. This was one of them.
Spike Lee: So you’re telling me that Martin Scorsese, the father of cinema, needs inspiration to make more films?
Scorsese: Well, it gets you excited again. Sometimes when you’re heavy into the shooting or editing of a picture, you get to the point where you don’t know if you could ever do it again. Then suddenly you get excited by seeing somebody else’s work. So it’s been almost 20 years now with the Film Foundation. We’ve participated in restoring maybe 475 American films.
That’s from a conversation in “Interview” magazine between Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese where an important distinction is made. It’s easy to see master filmmakers as endless wells of imagination, but stone sharpens stone, and that well needs to be replenished. The key? No matter how natural a storyteller, no matter how much experience, there will always be a need to find that creative spark.

You’re Never Going to Get the Money You Want

“I think there’s only one or two films where I’ve had all the financial support I needed. All the rest, I wish I’d had the money to shoot another ten days.”
This might seem obvious, but there’s also something freeing about knowing deep down that there will be very real limitations on trying to achieve.
The flipside for fans is to keep in mind that most filmmakers (or at least Scorsese) always creates a final product that could have used more time and more money to make just a bit better. Perfection is out of reach, but excellence is not.

Your Personal Story Matters

Scorsese’s movies are reflections of his past and his personality. He draws a lot of script pages – specifically from his time growing up in New York and inside Catholicism – from intimate experiences and curiosity. That doesn’t simply apply to subject matter. It also applies to tone:
“I’m not interested in a realistic look – not at all, not ever. Every film should look the way I feel.”
Curiously, in that same interview with Ebert, Scorsese discusses his use of non-realistic elements – including the fabled 48 frames per second used to make De Niro in Taxi Driver look “a monster, a robot, King Kong coming to save Fay Wray…”

Watch These 85 Movies (and Then Watch More)

When Fast Company interviewed Scorsese after Hugo‘s 11 Oscar nominations, they got more than they bargained for. The director referenced 85 different movies during their conversation, pulling out specific lessons and influences from all. A lot of criticism was lobbed toward the list because of what it doesn’t include, but this is the stuff that simply popped off the top of his head. Is there any doubt that these 85 flicks are a good starting point or that there are 850 more worthy of learning from?
At any rate, Apocalypse Now and Arsenic and Old Lace make a hell of a double feature.

Treat Everyone Equally On Set

“I think it’s really the mood that he makes on the set… He makes everyone feel equal, no matter who you are, no matter how big you are, no matter how famous you are, no matter how iconic you are… you feel equal to each other,” – Chloe Moretz on Scorsese
This is indicative of the kind of working environment that one of the best directors on the planet creates. He can ensure that a teenage girl feels comfortable and equal to the most seasoned person on set (which might just be him).
Scorsese once talked about the idea of delegating care to people like doctors and paramedics (in regards to Bringing Out the Dead). That we farm out empathy so that others can singularly be responsible for taking care of others, and how we had to resist the urge to close ourselves off to those feelings. That connection to other people. He also talks often about bringing kindness to everything he makes. It may seem a bit touchy-feely, but the results speak for themselves.

Don’t Be Afraid of Hands-On Research

Get in the taxi with Robert De Niro driving. Take a ride-along on an ambulance. Have the experiences that will help make your story sing.

What Have We Learned

From Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to Taxi Driver to Raging BullGoodfellasThe Departed andHugo, the best lessons from Martin Scorsese seem to come loud and direct from the way he makes his movies. They explore and question, all while celebrating the sheer magic of cinema. Even the violence has a kind of care behind it, a deeper look into the melted mind of a troubled man or the dark heart of a corrupt underground.
It’s funny, then, that Scorsese once famously named 85 movies that influenced him, because as a director, he’s given us 31 himself. Here’s hoping for at least 31 more.
For ALL of my posts about Martin Scorsese CLICK HERE

To read my review of the book below CLICK the graphic

CLICK the graphic below to check out ALL the ones I have posted here

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Preposterous Hancock

A friend (Hey Chezon) asked me what I thought of Hancock (2008)  and...where to begin? Ok
let's start @ the beginning. 

As a life long comic book fan I'm always down for a superhero movie. As a life long black man (from birth yo!) I've been always on the lookout for a BLACK superhero! As a kid all we got was this Verb cat and Black Vulcan from the Super Friends. 
Black Vulcan
They did make the great cartoon Static Shock (2000), but we're talking live action movies here
In live action in the 90s we got motherfreekin Meteor Man (1993) and Blankman (1994) -__-
Posters for Meteor Man and Blankman
So I was really waiting for this black superhero, played by WILL SMITH nonetheless! 
Will Smith as Hancock
What we actually got started out cool enough but spiraled down into absurdity. The origin story was absurd as was the “villains”. I was expecting a formidable foe, but what we got was some convicts with a grudge? FOH. The “happy ending” with the “moon sign” was also preposterous. Hollywood has failed me again and again to bring me a black superhero I can appreciate and I’m about to give up, but Hancock? Epic fail!

@ Wikipedia
Meteor Man
Static Shock
Black Vulcan

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Avengers - Mini Review

There's not much to review here, The Avengers was just excellent! I don't think I ever said that about a "superhero movie" before. Each Avenger had their own moment and the action was top notch.

Writer/Director Joss Whedon did an excellent job in combining the characters from all the solo Avengers pics into one.

That's it. Excellent film.

Additional Links
There is a little something more in The Avengers Spoiler Room
Ranking The Solo Avengers Movies

The Avengers - Spoiler Room

Details of the film are below. SPOILERS ABOUND. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

As I stated in my review, The Avengers was excellent, nothing really bad to say about the picture. Only a few points that I've saved for The Spoiler Room.

1. WTF was Samuel L. Jackson doing there? Anybody and I mean ANYBODY could have done that role. His fake goatee looked...fake...and horrible. I know they had to pay more attention know the actual Avengers, but SLJ's Nick Fury was a waste of space.

2. I don't think Agent Coulson is really dead. Fury has shown that he is willing to manipulate The Avengers to his own end.

3. I've heard that The Hulk was the star of the film—AND HE WAS! F*cking awesome! (Animated Hulk GIF below. Click if you can't see it)

4. The TV spots and trailers made it seem like Tony Stark/Iron Man was in charge, but as it should be, CAPTAIN AMERICA was in charge and was everything he was in the comics.

5. Post credits scene, Thanos? I can dig it! Read more about Thanos here

May 16, 2012
I saw this in 3D and it was f*cking horrible, but I listened to a podcast yesterday that said it looked great. They also talked about the projection being better in different theaters and that may have been the case. I personally recommend seeing it in 2D for I can't imagine even with better projection what I saw would factor into a better enjoyment of the film.

@ the Cool Black Media Blog I'm Ranking the Solo Avengers Movies

Friday, May 11, 2012

Maryland Film Festival posters

The Baltimore Sun has a cool new layout of all the posters from the Maryland Film Festival since its inception in 1999. Below is the poster from the first year I attended in 2005.

Since 2005 I have attended every year and they always come up with some cool designs even if I think some are a bit askew (2006?).

APRIL 2013

This year, the fifteenth of the festival, I think is my favorite poster design they have ever done! I think it was very clever to make a collage out of a film strip. Below are the people responsible.

Graphic by Post Typography (in collaboration with photographer RaRah and 3-D illustrator Jeremy Martin). 
The design concept surreally interprets Maryland Film Festival’s, ‘Film for Everyone’ motto into a single, iconic illustration that references classic movies, avant-garde film, and M.C. Escher. 
A large “head” is created from a spiraling strip of film, whose frames are filled with clips of many faces representing the festival-goers. 
To create this intricate design, dozens of Baltimore faces were photographed and then digitally transferred onto a film reel to create a seamless composite.

You can check out ALL the posters HERE

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Usher 'Climax' My First Impression

First impression of this Usher track I heard for the first time this morning? *dankshrug* Tell me you didn't see that coming.

Don't get it twisted I've like a LOT of tracks on the first listen, but this...ain't one of them. It was ok, but it sounds like one of those "tester tracks".

I've noticed that if a music artist hasn't had any music out in a while the studio will release a tester track. A track they have no real faith in, but they want to get the artist back in the public on radio (like Pandora^^) and such. We might not get a "good track" until the album is ready to drop. For now though...-___-