Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Songs at the Moment

I thought I’d mix things up this week by telling you guys what songs I seemingly can’t stop listening to. Also, I decided to try out publishing Top 5 Tuesday at a later hour.

5. Stolen Dance – Milky Chance

I love the tone of this song. The lyrics and performance come off careless yet caring, whatever the hell that means. It was probably my favorite song a few months ago, but some older favorites and new songs came along and knocked it off it’s top spot.

4. Take Me to Church – Hozier

This song is quite good and the sound is just filled with emotion, and maybe some mumbling, but I love mumbling. This isn’t a review, but I’d say it is near perfect. I typically only listen to this song when it’s on the radio and since I only occasionally listen to the radio, it hasn’t been enough to be overplayed for me.

3. Left Hand Free – Alt-J

I got the CD for Christmas and found this to be the best song on the album. If you’re wondering why I still use CD’s, it’s because I have a car stereo that only has a CD player and a radio, so yeah… Anyways, the song is upbeat and just great. I think Breezeblocks might still be my favorite song from them, but I turn this one up anytime it plays.

2. Aneurysm – Nirvana

Nirvana is my favorite band and this is my favorite song from them. Back when I used to play drums, Nirvana and Dave Grohl were the music gods that I worshiped, It’s such a heavy song and probably has my favorite Cobain vocals. Can’t help but love it.

1. Gooey – Glass Animals

This song is amazing. The lyrics make little sense, but the sound is wondrous and I can’t get enough of this song. I don’t recommend watching the music video as it is one of the strangest I’ve seen, but if you’re brave, watch it. The beat and tone of this song is just so good. I guess I listen to hipster radio or something because most people I know haven’t heard of this song and a few of my other favorites. I feel like this song should be heard by more people.

Getting Back into the Groove of Things (TT6)

Thoughtful ThursdaySo this will be a much shorter Thoughtful Thursday as I’ve got a lot on my plate this week. With the return of classes, I’ve found myself busier than ever before. I procrastinated in getting books and a parking pass, both of which I still haven’t gotten, and I’m just feeling a bit disenfranchised. I’m not sure why, but I’m not feeling that all in this semester. It might be that haven’t really had a break since the Summer of 2013 and I’m no where near the degree that I want. Also, last semester was one of extreme highs and lows. Working on film sets was amazing and being around my friends all day when I was going through some tough times made the hardships a bit easier.

This semester I’m not surrounded by that same support group that I, maybe selfishly, leaned on. I’ve had some films fall through and I don’t see many coming up in the next few months. I’m taking classes that I don’t necessarily want, but I have to take and I just hope that they’re interesting enough to get through. It feels like last semester was only a week ago and I just need a break. I’m trying with all my might to keep up Top 5 Tuesdays and Thoughtful Thursdays up as well as one or two reviews. Oddly enough, even though reviews and all the other articles posted on here are hard work and take up time, it’s sort of relaxing to sit down and write about my passions. This isn’t as cheerful as previous Thoughful Thursdays, but it’s what was on my mind and I hope you guys liked it.

That being said, one of the things that took my mind off the stress of college starting up again was watching and reviewing Reverb, a review and short you should definitely check out.

Reverb (Film Review)

ReverbImg2Reverb, a film directed Samantha Paradise, follows the story of a young woman, Helia, getting over a seemingly harsh break-up. If that makes this sound like a touching drama, then you’d be mistaken. This is a thriller/horror in every sense of the term as Helia’s ex, nicknamed Cupcake, can’t seem to leave things be, stalking her in her own house.

Many of the shots in the film are beautifully done, the sunrise shots and the nighttime shots are some of the highlights. They really used the dynamic lighting to their advantage. The contrast from light and darkness works out very well in these scenes. That being said, many of the daytime shots could have been better. The kitchen shots and some of the living room shots have flat lighting, which leaves the shot toneless, making it harder for the actor’s emotion to fully come through in a typical shot. It’s not the biggest flaw that could happen, but it might be the most glaring in this 15 minute short.

ReverbImg1The acting in this film is quite good, it has some flaws with delivery, but it is very good considering the majority of it is just Amy Frear. Frear lets the film rest squarely on her shoulders and does so quite well. The only other performance is from Brian Dunn, who has decent chemistry with Frear. The run-time is perfect, but the chemistry between the two could have used more time to blossom. It’s a common dilemma, let the movie run over what it should and build better relationships between characters or keep it short to the benefit of the film as a whole. The latter option did work out great here, but it could have been great to see some more interaction. Ugh, dilemma, dilemma.

The set design and costumes were great. The majority of the short has Frear in a tank top, frilly shorts and bunny slippers. It’s not laugh out loud funny, but funny in the sense that there’s a lot of chaos going on around her. The house looks like it is lived in by a young woman, which builds the realism for the film.

The short isn’t filled with unnecessary jump scares but uses sounds and music to build the tension, which is makes it scarier since the brain starts making up what possibly will happen next. The story is semi-predictable, but well done in the fifteen minute time frame. From beginning to end the short is quite good and it doesn’t dip in the 15 or so minutes. One of the biggest strengths of the film is that it feels like a snippet of Helia’s life. She clearly had done things before and the possibilities of the future are endless. This is a self contained story but the characters have a history.

Consensus: When watching short films there is never a guarantee if the 10 or so minutes is going to be good, but from the first couple of shots it is clear that Reverb is a step ahead of the run of the mill short horror film, and that’s what helps make this film succeed. It not a slam dunk, but a polished, well done film worth watching.

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Top 5 Tuesday: Favorite Childhood Movies

Hey everyone, today marks the start up of college once again. I’ve sort of been falling behind in preparation for classes, but I will not fall behind on Top 5 Tuesdays. So here is the list of my favorite movies from when I was a child, note that these are not necessarily child friendly movies.

5. Batman Forever

I’ve always loved superhero movies, and while Batman Forever still holds a special spot in my heart, it’s not a good movie. It’s great compared to Batman & Robin, but still no where near the Keaton Batman. I personally like that Batman more than Forever, but this is me trying to think in my childhood mindset. I loved the zany Riddler and the more comedic Two-face, but they didn’t age too well.

4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Easily one of the best Jim Carrey performances. He’s funny, quotable and did I say funny? This isn’t one of my favorites anymore, but I still love it more than most modern comedy films. The sequel doesn’t hold a candle, but Ace Ventura is definitely a must see film for comedy lovers. Laces Out!

3. The Matrix

It’s hard to believe that I quite young when this movie came out. It was a revolutionary film that blew my small mind as a child. I pretty much watched it once a week on VHS when I was a child. It was probably the best movie from my childhood, but oddly it wasn’t my favorite.

2. Mystery Men

Mystery_Men_film_posterI loved superhero films growing up (I still do, but who doesn’t). Mystery Men is sort of a superhero film, but it is crazy and hilarious. Ben Stiller, Paul Ruebens and William H. Macy made my younger self laugh like a never before. I watched the movie pretty much every day and could quote the movie like an expert. It had flashy effects for the time, flashier than what I had seen at least. It had everything my little brain could ever want.

1. The Mask

Jim Carrey, man, he gets me every time. I loved this movie just a slight bit more than Mystery Men and I literally watched this movie daily as a kid. Now looking back, there were a lot of jokes that went straight over my head, but that just makes rewatching it now even more fun. Who would have thought my favorite childhood movie had condom jokes.

Digital vs. Film (TT5)

FilmvDigNow this is a topic that has been argued for years. The argument ranges from which avenue is easiest for filmmaking all the way to which one looks more aesthetically pleasing. Now, while filmmaking is the field that I wish to enter, I’m not an expert on either of them. So all of my personal opinions are just that. Take from this what you can and be sure to leave a comment with your own opinions. I’d love to discuss differences and similarities in terms of film.

In terms of ease of use, it’s really hard to decide. Film can be much harder since it takes much longer to see the shot or the finished product, at least with my experience. If you need to get the film developed and you can’t find a person or place to do it for you, you might have to wait a while until you can figure that out though that should be figured out in pre-production, but sometimes things fall through. This might be the biggest reason why many flock to digital, since it’s instantaneous gratification. You can see the product once you stop recording. You can see if the boom dipped on Take 2 and reshoot until it’s perfect. Since they’re mostly saved to SD cards, running out of space means you can manually delete clips on camera or just use another SD card. Then, once you’re done, give the SD card to your editor and have them upload it to one of the millions of editing software out there. You can also, depending on the digital camera, film at some pretty crazy frame rates that make purchasing a low priced DSLR the smart choice.

In terms of look, nothing honestly beats the traditional look that film gives. Sure, digital is as crisp as a winter breeze, but the graininess of film is perfection. It’s obvious that film is the better of the two in this aspect since many digital filmmakers try to get that grainy, authentic look. It doesn’t usually work out since digital cameras and editing software can replicate the unpredictability of the look of film. I have heard horrible stories from professors and older filmmaking friends where their film or someone elses film burned on the projector. Which brings me to the next aspect.

Since digital film is saved on SD cards and then on computers, there are thousands of way to recover a film if something happens to one of the copies, unless you lose the SD card prior to uploading it to the computer. If you haven’t duplicated your film once it’s finished being cut, and something happens to it, you’re set back quite a ways. It’s a horror story either way, but it can be harder to happen with digital.

Price and finding a film camera for filmmaking can be difficult to pin down, but it’s no doubt harder to find and more expensive than digital cameras. A good DSLR can be purchased at most big box stores, websites and through friends. I personally have never seen a film camera at a big box store and the only cameras that I know of are quite expensive.

When it comes down to it, a film camera is quite a wonderful thing. It’s biggest issue is that in a world gone digital, it’s hard for a filmmaker to start out with it. In a perfect world, traditional filmmaking, you know with film, would last till the end of time. But the ease for digital filmmaking, especially for the beginning filmmaker can’t be denied. So don’t mistake me for a traditional film hater, I love the medium as a whole and film is the back bone of cinema, but everything evolves and filmmaking is no different.

The Equalizer Film Review (2014)

The_Equalizer_posterWhen this movie came out, it looked quite promising. Denzel Washington and action seem to go hand in hand, which is strange since Washington is nothing like the run of the mill action star. The man has been nominated for six Academy Awards with a wide range of performances and he is convincing in each and every one. Now, I knew getting into this that it wouldn’t be an Oscar worthy film, but it sounded promising. So to sum things up, I was quite excited when this came in the mail the other day.

The film starts slowly, showing Washington and his relationships with his co-worker and a young girl prostitute. These part set Washington apart from the average action star as he’s able to convince the viewer that he truly cares for the people around him, which makes his jump to action seem reasonable. Once the movie’s violence starts, it never really stops. The action sequences are well done, the shots are beautifully done and the tone is definitely strong in this.

The most surprising thing is that a movie dealing with prostitution and many other sex crimes has no nudity. It helps that the main characters friend is an underage girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and all the other prostitutes are very limited in screen time. It just feels like every R-rated action movie nowadays has gratuitous nudity, so it was welcome that this one did not when they could have found 100 opportunities to do so.

At a glance, this is a near perfect action movie. It has creative deaths, a strong tone and Denzel Washington in front of the camera. It’s biggest issue is that when the action picks up, the substance of the characters drops in quality. Washington is still great, but not as great. The bad guys start feeling like caricatures and while the beginning did a great job establishing the lead, the supporting cast didn’t get enough time to establish themselves. The question of if and when they’ll be put in danger doesn’t matter so much because they’re not that important to the viewer.

Despite that issue, the film is still incredibly fun and action packed. It’s hard to deny that Denzel Washington is an incredibly talented actor and is able to submerge in a wide range of roles. This is definitely one of the best action movies in recent memory and worth a watch if action is your forte.

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Top 5 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

5. Furious 7

I’ve always been a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, and after the sixth, this one looked so promising. Then tragedy struck with the passing of Paul Walker. With Walker being such an integral part of the franchise, it looked as if the franchise might be done. With the help of his brothers, however, they were able to finish the film with only a few changes. It doesn’t change the horrible occurrence, but it may have given the series a chance to live on, and with that, Walker can live on too.

4. Mission Impossible 5

This is a film which has surprisingly ridden under the radar in a blockbuster packed 2015. It stars many returning cast members, including Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. It’s going to have action, a whole lot of action and I can’t wait. If it’s anything like Mission Impossible 4, it will be one of my favorite movies of the year.

3. Chappie

Chappie_posterFrom the director of District 9, Chappie looks to be more like it than Blompkamp’s previous movie Elysium. While I didn’t hate Elysium, Chappie looks like it could be a more interesting and well made movie. Sharlto Copely really blew me away in District 9 and could do it once again as the robot known as Chappie. What made District 9 so great was that it had very comedic moments and felt natural despite the use of aliens. It also had action, which Elysium also had heaps of. What Elysium didn’t have was comedic prowess and a feeling that what you were watching was natural. For Chappie to truly succeed, it will need to feel more like District 9, but not just be a rehashing, which it doesn’t look like that will be the case.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

There is nothing I can say about this movie that hasn’t been said. It looks amazing and Marvel’s track record as of late has been flawless. Guardians of the Galaxy was a home run and so was Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It might not be able to post the box office numbers of the first Avengers movie, but I doubt it will disappoint in any way. I can’t wait to see Iron Man punch some robot faces and for the Hulk to do what he does best.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Starwarsviitheforceawakens

It’s sad that there are people nowadays that were born in a time following the prequels release. The prequels ruined a franchise that had so much going for it. Even if you like the prequels, they became a laughing stock of a great film series. They villainized George Lucas and made it look as if future films would never happen. But now, in 2015, we finally get a sequel that looks quite deserving. The original trilogy is a near-perfect classic, so it will be tough to build a film that lives up, but JJ Abrams took Star Trek to new heights, so it’s possible.