Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

http://amzn.to/1MOYzKXWhile Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is certified rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, as far as Up Till Dawn Films is concerned, the film is certified delicious. The UTDF Crew has always been on team Batfleck, I adored Man of Steel, and Zac Znyder continues to be one of my favorite filmmakers of the modern era.

Regardless of my bias, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is simply a solid blockbuster summer film, only brought to us in early spring. I will be honest. Batfleck had a couple batshit crappy moments, but certainly not when Batfleck was fighting. He is easily worlds above Clooney or Kilmer (I'm gonna say it, possibly Bale and West,) and he is perfect for the Batman he is playing.

I know it is supposedly outlandish, but this DC adaptation proves to be more bold and more eloquent than Marvel ensemble films. (I can't really justify this point without spoilers.) The problem is that people are just too damn scared to say it. Well, again bias, I've also always leaned a little more DC than Marvel in comic life too. Remove three or four Marvel characters from the equation and I am DC all the way.

http://amzn.to/1MOYzKXThe displacement of finally being dropped into a comic universe that was unexpected and does not take an entire film (or fourteen) to provide exposition and satisfies the urges was refreshing. I appreciate that style of storytelling.

The Batman scenes were awesome, ALL the fights were badass, the explosions killer. Cavill is an amazing Superman, don't really care about Aquaman, but Wonder Women rocked. Additionally, best on-screen Lex Luthor of all time.  

I freaking loved it. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice gets all the stars, the freshness, the approving thumbs, whatever confirmation you're looking for, don't let the cynics ruin your good time. I certainly did not let them ruin mine. I look forward to whatever is in store for the future of this franchise, and I will definitely be going to see BvS in theaters a second time. No for reals though, I need to see the movie a second time ASAP. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

UTDF Film School #0001: Composition and Framing

This series is not going to take a linear path, because sometimes filmmaking is not learned in this way. Sometimes we have to sprint before we can crawl. Solid framing and composition will enable filmmakers of all levels to sprint.

This is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking, the composition and framing of what we see on the screen. In the beginning, filmmakers often ignore this important element of camera control and point the camera at anything, in any direction.

Additionally, many are inclined to center their subjects in the frame, but unless we're talking about Wes Anderson, that is rarely how a movie is shot.

There are always exceptions to the rule, rules are made to be broken, and framing and composition is ultimately the decision of the filmmaker. However, when starting to shoot films, documentaries, videos for fun, etc., follow the tips in this great video from Lights Film School, and as time goes on, framing and composition will become a natural and automatic part of your filmmaking/shooting process.

This video was shown in class at my film school. It is less than 8 minutes, but practicing and mastering these concepts is a lifelong endeavor. Framing and composition is an invaluable set of knowledge that you'll want to know if you want to be a director, editor, camera operator, director of photography, gaffer, and many many other film-related jobs. Even if you're just a production assistant, I can't hurt to know a little bit about framing and composition.

I also recommend watching this video and watching this video again after you've worked on a couple projects. It will help create a check list of this that you still need to work on or aspects of framing and composition that have been neglected in your work. This video does not discuss the "Rule of Thirds", a very important aspect of framing and composition, but we will get into that at a later date. Or you can read about it at CraveOnline's Free Film School.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pee-wee's Big Holiday (2016)

I'm sorry, I hate to be negative, but Pee-wee's Big Holiday is a big pile of shit.

There are very few movies that UTDF bashes and harshly criticizes, that's not what this blog is about. Nonetheless, Big Holiday is a huge disappointment. Huge.

I love Pee-wee and I grew up with his television show and movies, but this... I don't know what this is or why anyone even gave the screenplay money.

It's utterly uninspired. And since Reubens had such a long time to develop this script and idea, I am baffled by the lack of humor in the jokes and the rather terrible Pee-wee performance. Also, what is with the makeup?

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=peewee%20herman&linkCode=ur2&sprefix=pee%20wee%2Caps%2C393&tag=burnin02-20&url=search-alias%3Daps&linkId=HX5ZPEWH54QUFP67I understand that Pee-wee is supposed to be young or something, but the makeup was really unnecessary and simply distracting. In fact, uncomfortable seems like a good adjective for how Pee-wee's makeup makes me feel.

Seriously, look at this image of Pee-wee with some naturalistic makeup. Done, perfect. Yeah, he looks old (somewhat weathered is a better way of putting it). Either way, he doesn't look like a withering coke addict that is desperately attempting to hide the inevitable.

This movie was not simply bad, it was incredibly difficult to get through, and I'll be honest I still haven't watched the last 25 minutes. I'm not sure I will, and I probably will not, such is life. Is it disingenuous to provide a review of a film that an individual has not watched entirely? Not if you've watched the first 3/4 of Pee-wee's Big Holiday. Sorry Pee-wee, we love you, but your new movie is insulting garbage.

Friday, March 25, 2016

UTDF Film School: Introduction

http://amzn.to/1UdhPdjWelcome to a brand new series from Up Till Dawn Films, the "UTDF School." We're starting this series by discussing two very important aspects of filmmaking and two incredible documentaries, Visions of Light (1992) and The Cutting Edge (not to be confused with the D.B. Sweeney figure skating film): The Magic of Movie Editing (2004).  

http://amzn.to/1pBLhgaVisions of Light is a documentary about the craft and art of cinematography and the role of the Director of Photography (DP). The documentary references 100 or more classic films. Despite the documentary's age and a lack of attention to digital cinematography, it is an great starting point for learning about cinematography and the use of light to paint films.  

http://amzn.to/1puHVe4The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing is one of my favorite documentaries of all time, film production documentaries or otherwise.

I am an editor, and this is the film that inspired me to learn and focus on the craft of editing. The documentary is fun yet informative, and it introduces students to esteemed editors such as Walter Murch (writer of one of the quintessential books on film editing In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing) and Howard Smith (editor of Point Break).

Both of these films are available through Netflix DVD and I'm sure there's other ways. The Cutting Edge is also a special feature of the Bullit Bluray. The Murch book can be found just about anywhere: bookstores, libraries, or Amazon if the other options are too old school for you.

Welcome to our new series! Be sure to stayed tuned for more "UTDF Film School."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Steve Jobs (2015)

Click to watch on Amazon!
Okay, Danny Boyle is one of my favorite directors, and he has made some of the most amazing films, 28 Days Later, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting, etc, etc.

Fassbender is one of the best actors of the modern era, Aaron Sorkin is hit or miss for me, but The Newsroom was well written and powerful. The point is, there was seemingly no reason why this film flopped so hard. Except for the fact that the movie didn't need to be made.

I never thought about it until now, but its existence is almost insulting to the people that made the Ashton Kutcher version of the same film. However, Steve Jobs didn't care about that which came first, so why should a movie about him?

Of all the Jobs films, this is definitely the best, but it's more of a showcase of Sorkin dialogue than it is a film. Obviously, Steve Jobs is a film, but Sorkin's work often feels as though it's more concerned with being Sorkin's work than a story. Nonetheless, it's a cleverly told story, that basks in its Sorkinness.

Ultimately, I hate to say it, but Steve Jobs is pretty much just a waste of time. I was moved a couple times, but I guess it really boils down to not caring. I would have rather watched "28 Months Later" with the same cast.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Daredevil (Season 2)

http://amzn.to/1UsswrW"The man without fear" is here. I have only watched the first episode and a half of Daredevil: Season 2 and so far it is already amazing. This series is easily my favorite Marvel film/television incantation of the last decade.

http://amzn.to/1UsswrWYes, I like Netflix's Daredevil more than Deadpool, certainly more than  The Avengers movies, and possibly more than Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians is definitely my favorite Marvel film of recent years. And while it may be a tie between Guardians and Daredevil, Daredevil is definitely my favorite Marvel television show of all time.
Either way, they're both entirely different and I like them for different reasons.


I have always loved Daredevil in general. I'm not super nerd purist that knows all the plot lines of the comic and needs the show to match the details that I think it should have.

I simply love Daredevil as a character and loved the few Daredevil comics I had back in the day. And I love what the production has done with one of my favorite characters.

Okay, like I said though, I've seen less than two episodes of this season, so what do I really know. Maybe the whole thing takes I sharp turn of a cliff in episode two. I don't know. However, if you liked the first season, I'm pretty damn sure you'll be happy with the beginning of season 2.

Final note, in case you're wondering, the Punisher (Shane) is rad, and Netflix and Shane may have finally nailed the part, in a live action sense. Just look at all of this promotional art. It's freaking beautiful and says it all for me.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Overnight (2003)

I just watched the 2003 documentary Overnight in a film class. I had heard of the documentary and Troy Duffy, writer/director of Boondock Saints, prior to the class, but never had the opportunity to see the documentary.

Despite hearing stories about Troy Duffy's terrible attitude and inflated ego, nothing prepares you for how much a douche bad he seems to be. The dude is utterly intense, not someone I would want to be around, ever, and Boondock Staints is good, but it's not that good.

Anyone that has the balls to talk shit about a member of Steely Dan is automatically a crazy and unworthy lunatic. Generally, I have to be in the right mood for a documentary, but I'll always be in the mood to watch this documentary again. It's less than ten bucks from Amazon: a steal!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Damn! I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It is certainly not for everyone, but as a movie fanatic and a fan of the original this was the movie for me.

In some ways it was as expected, and in others it was totally unexpected. It is by no means a perfect movie, but 10 Cloverfield Lane along with Cloverfield take the idea of "franchise" to an entirely new level.The mystery and secrecy of these films is so fun too.

John Goodman is incredible. He always has been and always will be. The story is rad. The production design, acting, cinematography, art design, the sound and music were remarkably executed, even the opening title sequence was elegant and bad ass, everything pleasingly stuck out, all with a supposed budget of  only $15 million, according to the Google.

     I appreciate a new, fresh, and off-kilter way of storytelling, and I hope something "Cloverfield" continues in the future. Maybe it will, maybe not. I don't know if it matters.

Okay, I admit too, I am an unabashed fan of the original, and the person I went with had never seen the original and didn't really like Cloverfield Lane much. However, I don't know if the relationship to the original truly matters either. For me, The Cloverfield Saga is a demonstration of minimalist filmmaking and storytelling at it's best. If you like the trailer, you'll probably like the film (maybe look up the premise of the original too, if that's you're thing).

The main thing I did not like about seeing this film was some members of the audience. When you go to a movie, keep your damn mouth shut, or don't go to a movie theater, and don't check you're damn phone. If you need to check you phone, you leave the damn theater, your updates are not that important. And whether you're a movie theater talker or a phone checker, you are a terrible human being. There is no need to comment to your friend throughout an entire film, especially in a manner that a person five or six seats away can hear you. Do you know how insane that is? If you believe in a hell, I don't, but if you do, that is where you are going. Utter nonsense, you're visiting the wrong venue, stay home you sons' of bitches.


Friday, March 18, 2016

The Forger (2014)

http://amzn.to/1RrD1VNThe Forger movie has an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. I just watched it on Showtime, and it is not that bad. I planned to start the movie and go to bed shortly after, but it at very least, kept me glued to my seat.

Travolta plays a painting forger sentence to several years in prison. Travolta's teenage son in the film has a brain tumor, and Travolta needs to get out of prison to spend time with his son during his final days.  Travolta makes a deal with some shady character, and this guy bribes a judge to get Travolta out of prison early.

Travolta has a couple weak spots, but in general, he's Travolta. I don't understand what everyone's problem is with him these days. The massage therapists? Whatever. None of my business. Allegedly soliciting men does not make a person a bad actor.

That said, I can tell you exactly why this movie has an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is that thing on his chin. I don't understand what is about these lower-buget-weird-facial-hair movies that Travolta does, but it's the weird facial hair that throws the whole damn movie off.

http://amzn.to/1SZ5RlQMeanwhile, the weird facial hair practically bookends this film. FADE IN: CU of Travolta and his weird facial hair in prison: centered... CU of Travolta and his weird facial hair in the sun: right of frame. FADE OUT. Why?

Seriously though, the film had an $11 million budget. No one on this crew had the balls to say, that thing on Travolta's chin has got to go? You see, that thing on his chin is to blame for an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is easily a 33-45% film, but some asshole in development gets some weird fruitcake idea that edgy Travolta facial hair is a good idea. It is not. Either way, it has happened before, and I'm sure it will happen again.

Weird Travolta facial hair is the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. Put the guy in a wig all you want, it's all good with me, but the experimental Travolta facial hair is garbage. We must mainly blame director Philip Martin for this travesty, because even if the facial hair was beyond his control, that asshole decided to frame it up with such a domineering presence.

Now, other sites and critics are not making the same observation, they're making up lies about Travolta's performance and the story to sound intelligent, but honestly it's a halfway decent film. It's simply the thing on Travolta's chin that sucks.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hap and Leonard

Hap and Leonard is awesome! And I am already addicted. I was not sure about the cast at first, but thus far, they are all amazing.

The characters are unexpected, and they are nicely juxtaposed against the southern U.S. in the 80s. Meanwhile, the friendship between Hap and Leonard provides a refreshing representation of straight and gay friendship.

The dynamics of Hap and Leonard's friendship and their dialectical politics and sexuality are extremely relevant and rarely represented in the modern era.

Along with Rectify, the Sundance channel is finally starting to provide some high quality and groundbreaking entertainment.

The first four episodes of Hap and Leonard, at the time of writing this, are streaming free at AMC.com. AMC needs to improve their streaming platform. Nonetheless, it's free, so I can't complain right? Or maybe I should, and they can get to fixing it. What do you think?


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Black Mass (2015)

http://amzn.to/1ppmN9eDamn, Johnny Depp continues to be a badass. I'm torn as to whether I am disappointed or not that I did not see Black Mass in theaters.

It is a great movie, and Johnny Depp is freaking creepy and unbelievably magnificent. (Apparently, not everyone feels this way, but what the fuck do they know in the first place?) Additionally, the movie has Rory Cochrane, and who does not love Rory Cochrane? Everyone loves Rory. Everyone. And then there's Joel Edgerton. This dude also provides an amazing performance, as always.

Ultimately, I think that it was best that I saw this film on video instead of the big screen. It's a little slow at times, and Johnny plays a wickedly tyrannical man that might have made me cry with fear in the darkness of a theater.

Either way, I highly recommend watching this film, at very least for the acting performances. And the fact that it's an organized crime film that doesn't focus on an Italian, so we get a new story within the organized crime genre. Sorry, not sorry, I love organized crime films. #AmazonIt

Our Brand is Crisis (2015)

Our Brand is Crisis is a solid political comedy. Sandra and Billy Bob provide solid performances as usual, and the film was more entertaining than I expected.

Personally, I feel as though the ending fell a little flat, and it came off as though the producers were trying too hard to win awards. However, the film contained a positive message, and it was intelligently constructed.

The purple color scheme utilized by the production was refreshing and visually striking. The use of the color provided a unique palate that stands out in a world often saturated by orange and teal.

Ultimately, Our Brand is Crisis investigates the troubling dynamics of global leadership and politics, and it provides the audience an important perspective on political campaigns and the manufacturing of public opinion. Although the film is not as emotionally moving as it seems the producers intended, it is certainly worth watching.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Daft Punk Unchained (2015)

http://amzn.to/1P7IQ9AI'm biased. I love Daft Punk, so I am not really coming at this with a critical eye. In general, this may be the wrong blog if that's what your thing. 

Nonetheless, Daft Punk Unchained is a super entertaining documentary. I originally thought it was going to be some unauthorized-style garbage with shity versions of demos I don't want to hear. 

However, honestly, I wouldn't mind listening to Daft Punk remixes, and this documentary takes us on a journey through most of Daft Punk's dynamic history. Of course, the last couple of years are missing, but that is for obvious reasons.

Daft Punk's story is intriguing, their music is sensational, and delving into their craft is utterly inspirational. Always be inspired. 

Among Pharell, Daft Punk's crew, and many other appearances, Kayne is featured in the documentary. In fact, it is one of the most human appearances I have ever seen of Kanye, but Kayne is certainly not a reason to watch this documentary one way or the other. 

You watch this documentary, because it's one of those rare music documentaries that's worth owning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Peace!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bates Motel (Season 4)


A&E seriously needs to promote this show more effectively. I simply happened to stumble upon the newest episode on Amazon.

While I am not going to pay for the individual episodes, I can always watch the show on demand, or if A&E had its shit together, I could have watched the episode when it premiered.

Sadly, it seems as though Hulu no longer carries the show, so I will have to watch the show on A&E's website. Nonetheless, I am excited that one of my favorite shows has already started a new season.