Recent Entries in Film

OK, I like to think of myself as a moderate StarWars geek. That said, this guy is nuts:

"Whilst there is certainly a coherence to the blade, and there is certainly a degree of light visible, its behaviour is NOT consistent with the coherent light beams of laser generators. Indeed the light seen is probably little more than a side effect. There are a number of possible explanations for explaining this glow. Perhaps it is the decay of the 'particles' of which the blade is made, as they 'spin away' from the cutting core. Perhaps the glow is from the annihilation of air molecules as they drift into the blade ... there are no canonical examples of sabres activated in vacuum or underwater, but numerous apocryphal sources suggest that the glow is constant under these conditions. If this is so - then the 'decay' model is preferred."

Here's a really cool film site:

Several years ago, I was trying to figure a way to put my useless film knowledge and extensive trips to the theater to good use, and after finding a few people who gave a damn I started an emailing list where I'd send reviews on a weekly basis.

The list grew pretty quick in my office (I worked in sales at a publishing company, which in turn lessened my life by 10 years or so due to stress), and soon I was looking for "the next step".

Cinematic Happenings Under Development was born, and I had my buddy Ryan Murphy (cousin of CHUD Sci-Fighter Steve Murphy, and longtime friend) work on a design since I was baffled by html.

Barris is certainly guilty of many offenses. He was a pioneer of reality TV, bringing to life The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game and other unscripted programs designed to allow participants to humiliate themselves before a national audience. He then stepped in front of the camera with his most infamous creation, The Gong Show.

But while Barris was destroying American culture, was he also executing enemy spies? In Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a 1980 autobiography, the TV legend offers this self-assessment:

"My name is Charles Hirsch Barris. I have written pop songs, I have been a television producer. I am responsible for polluting the airwaves with mind-numbing puerile entertainment. In addition, I have murdered 33 human beings."


In an age where films cater to the most base desires of the low class film-goer, and animation is dismissed as "kid's movies", along comes another Anime title that turns all of that upside-down. Gisaburo Sugii's "Night On the Galactic Railroad" ("Ginga tetsud� no yoru")(1985) is just such a film, and ranks up among some of the best Anime ever created, alongside the works of Hayao Miyazaki, including "Spirited Away," "Princess Mononoke," and "My Neighbor Totoro."

Unfortunately, it's often difficult to describe films like these without giving the wrong impression. IMDB's plot outline is about as basic as you can get, and may deter anyone above the age of 6: "Two kittens go on a metaphysical journey on a magical railroad train."

The film has a very surreal quality and a deceptive cuteness to it, which may trick you into thinking it trite or superficial. However, like some of the best Anime out there, "cute" can leave you open to some horrifying consequences. Obviously it's not as heavy as "Grave of the Fireflies" or as light hearted and uplifting as "Totoro", but this film lies somewhere in between. I haven't read the book, but I'll bet it's similar in theme and scope to "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry.

I'm certainly not a Christian, and often tire easily when confronted by blatant Christian imagery in film, literature, and music. However, this film requires a degree of spirituality to get its point across, and the Christian images present, while overpowering at times, represent a nebulous kind of spirituality -- as if it's saying "there is a force out there which helps determine our fates, but I can't define what it is."

For example, the film takes place in some alternate European world (most likely Italy) and the characters have Italian names. But they're anthropomorphic cats and don't appear to practice any kind of Christianity (they celebrate moon festivals, and sail lantern boats in the river). However, they later meet up with human children on the train, and listen to Christian hymns on the wireless ("Nearer my God to Thee"). They pass several different layers of Heaven, and Giovani, the main character, has a special ticket that allows him passage to "the one True Heaven".

The film, like the train, takes its time to get where it's going, and some powerful messages come across to the viewer. Unlike many Anime and Western films, this one does not end with a happy and neatly tied-up ending, nor does it take pains to explain the things that go on inside the train. It leaves that to the viewer. This is what makes good art films. This is what makes a film worthwhile.

  Lenore Animated Movie

Sony Family Entertainment has optioned the right to develop LENORE into an animated feature film. The project is currently "under development" and has not begun production, which means there is still no cast, director or final script. We will let you know how the project develops, but it will be at least a few years before it hits theaters.

  Movies for Me Dot CA

Weird... Now you too can rent movies by mail at Canada.s Source for Online DVD Rentals: "We.ll ship 3 DVDs by Canada Post; your DVDs will arrive in 2 to 3 days; return a DVD in the postage-paid mailer; we.ll send the next DVD in your list."

  Mormons mo' moviemask

In the latest step of self-censorship families are being encouraged to use this, personaly if Marie's up for it. It can't be all bad, imagine what it could do to bad movies or Godzilla.



The latest M. Night Shyamalan film asks the audience to take a leap of faith -- fitting, since it's about the trials of faith, both in one's religious beliefs, and in one's family. Mel Gibson plays "Father" Graham Hess, a priest (of some sort) who has lost his faith after the death of his wife at the hand of a careless M. Night Shyamalan (although few people hung around long enough afterwards to catch his name in the credits). Together with Hess' younger brother (Joaquin Phoenix), he continues to raise his two children, Morgan (Rory Culkin) who has severe asthma (stupid plot point one), and Bo (Abigail Breslin), who has a pickiness about her drinking water (stupid plot point two).

As if taking care of two children weren't enough work, Hess wakes up one morning with his corn field full of crop circles. These aren't merely some prank, as similar circles (or signs) are showing up all over the world. Is it aliens? God? Xenu? I won't completely spoil it, but Shyamalan does a fair job at building the same creepy atmosphere as he does in both "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable". As the tension grows and grows, you experience a distinct feeling of dread, as if the world is going to end, not just in the film, but for real. Even after the film is over, you still feel weird about the world -- it took me about an hour to regain my normal cheery outlook.

What Shyamalan *doesn't* deliver on is the actual scariness of the film. One expects the buildup to climax into something worthy of its well-developed atmosphere. The same limitation haunted "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" -- I never quite felt as frightened as I expected to be. Same here. We get the fantastic lead up, and then it sort of peters out. Still, the signature creepiness stays with you, and that in itself helps the film out.

The other big drawback to this film is its underlying philosophy. I'm not sure what religion M. Night Shyamalan subscribes to, but the film is rife with X-tian propaganda. We learn that Hess hasn't really lost his faith -- he's just misplaced it. He doesn't stop believing in God at any time, but he hates and blames God for the death of his wife. Shyamalan would have us believe she died for a reason -- that everything happens for a reason, no matter how far-fetched it seems. Even aliens invading Earth might be part of some divine plan. Sure. And that's fine, but if it takes near human annihilation to help one man regain his faith in God, maybe it's time to consider that one infidel a write-off. Also, belief in God and belief in aliens seem opposed. Not diametrically so, but enough that co-belief seems impossible, unless you're part of a UFO cult. So the film, in effect, pits the unreligious against the religious against those who believe in aliens. In trying to satisfy everyone, Shyamalan risks alientating (har) everyone.

Of course, if you don't mind all that, then the film does a better job than most other films about God/aliens/crop-circles combined. It is emotionally charged, Gibson's performance is excellent, and the child actors don't get on your nerves much (Rory Culkin is slightly less annoying as than Haley Joel Osment from "The Sixth Sense", and looks scarily like his brother, Macaulay Culkin).

Though, there is a point at which you can snap your fingers and the film becomes a letdown. It's when they're all huddled in the cellar of the farmhouse. If they stopped the movie there, I'd be pretty satisfied with it. After that, the film begins to fail completely.

  Creepy Crawly

Yikes! I wasn't afraid of spiders until now.


  Eight Legged Freaks


Just as bad as you thought it would be, and yet, better than you were expecting. "Eight Legged Freaks" is just that kind of movie. You are expecting it to be bad -- like a typical giant spider 'B' movie, but at the same time, it aspires to be more of a tribute to all those terrible and fun films which came before it. I see hints of slasher films, such as "Friday the 13th," crazy sci-fi, like "Critters," and dozens of others. We see bits of "Tremors," "Gremlins," "The Birds," (I think so, anyway) and there's even a scene reminiscent of "Terminator" with a big, exploding tanker truck.

The film stars the dreaded David Arquette, as Chris McCormack, a former small town kid, returning to claim his father's legacy, an old mining empire. Essentially, several bad things happen in this run down town of Prosperity -- things involving a spider farm, toxic waste, alien probing, and very loose movie logic.

The film itself is nothing spectacular, but has enough gags to keep it going over the long haul. The special effects are well done, and the spider sound effects and characterizations are pretty darn funny. Arquette and the rest of the cast know the kind of film they are in, and they neither overact, nor leave us with hollow, boring performances. They know enough not to take this movie too seriously.

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