I haven't done one of these for a while. I suppose it's because I've mostly watched more bigger name films than smaller as of late. But I'm always on the lookout for relatively unknown films with good-to-great reviews. Such was Ink. It's hard to describe this movie. The best I can say is MirrorMask meets What Dreams May Come meets Donnie Darko meets Dark City. In other words, it's stylish, deep, and only occasionally makes sense.

This movie introduces a new mythos, one where opposing forces fight over the subconscious realm. There are the storytellers, those who give the sleeping masses good dreams; on the other end, there are the Incubi, those who give nightmares. John (Christopher Soren Kelly) is a successful businessman on the verge of a major win. But things begin to spiral out of control when his 8-year-old daughter Emma (Quinn Hunchar) falls into a coma. Emma falls into a coma because Ink, a creature attempting to become an Incubi, kidnaps her spirit (or something like that) to sacrifice to those that want her. A group of storytellers must team up with Jacob (Jeremy Make), a blind Pathfinder, to find Emma and bring her back to the living realm before it's too late and her body dies.

The movie is so many things, it's incredibly hard to give my thoughts in a cohesive manner. Let's start with the negative: it moves a bit slow in its first half. It isn't until Jacob shows up that the movie really starts to pick up, but it's not until a little after that where it really grabs you and refuses to let go. You really have no idea what the heck is going on for what is essentially the majority of the movie, leaving you in this perpetual mind freak and confusion.

Granted, it all comes together nicely once they actually start giving you some viable dialogue, story, and character development. The characters are compelling, and the new mythos of this dream world is engaging and interesting. The visuals are magnificent, as well. They aren't as overt and strange as MirrorMask (except maybe the Incubi), but they're interesting enough to keep you intrigued. And even besides the visuals, the movie is stylish. From the fight scenes to the camera work, we're given some interesting choices. And the movie plays with light, making almost every scene seem dreamlike, whether it's the real world or the dream world.

So besides the movie all seeming dreamlike, it also plays out of order. Some scenes, especially those with the father, are shown more than once, sometimes from a different perspective. One of my favorite scenes is the "chain reaction" scene involving Jacob, in which he reveals what makes him so special (and it's a scene that is shown more than once in the movie). And speaking of Jacob, I wish there was more of him in the movie. He was by far the most interesting character. He was quirky and fun, while keeping just enough mystery to not get boring.

The ending threw me for a loop, and I had to do a bit of searching to figure out what the heck happened, but once I did, it all made perfect sense. It's a great ending (once you realize what it all means and that it isn't some strange paradox). Overall, this is one of those movies that, like MirrorMask, I think I'll grow to love even more the more I see it. It has a good story, good acting, great visuals, good action, and great imagination. And it's not just me. With a near 7-point score on imdb and a 90-something percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, I can pretty much say it's not just me loving this movie. So while I'm sure my score will go up upon future viewings, I'm going to score it for how my initial viewing left me.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



I've been pretty psyched for Legion for a while. I just knew that, at the very least, it'd be a fun romp into the realm of cheesy B-horror. And what I got was... well... Michael (Paul Bettany) decides to come down to Earth and shed his wings to help the humans. But no, not just any humans. The most important of the humans: a pregnant girl named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) who lives with a mechanic named Jeep (Lucas Black) and his diner-owning father, Bob (Dennis Quaid). Also 'round these parts is the cook, Percy (Charles S. Dutton); a lost traveler, Kyle (Tyrese Gibson); a father (Jon Tenney), mother (Kate Walsh), and their semi-slutty daughter, Audrey (Willa Holland). Of course, as we learn from the trailer, Charlie's unborn baby is going to save humanity... they just have to stay alive from the legion of angels that are bringing on the apocalypse by killing humanity and trying to get to Charlie. But what exactly is the baby going to do to save humanity? Why do the angels come off more as demons? What did he mean that the angels aren't necessarily the good guys? If God truly wanted to wipe humanity out completely, couldn't He have just thought it into happening or something? Why do the possessed dudes just kinda stand there near the end? Why is one specific character allowed to live so long if said character is just going to die a meaningless and unseen, off-screen death near the end of the movie? What's written in that angelic message? Who (and/or what) the fuck are the prophets? And did anybody else picture Jay and Silent Bob hopping over one of the cars with hockey sticks at that point? Stay tuned, because all of these questions (and more!) are never even remotely discussed, much less answered, in Legion!

At least the first 20 or so minutes of the movie feels like a running joke of "I'm trying waaay too hard." From the burning-cross hole in the side of the building to playing It's A Wonderful Life on the TV in the diner (which is named Paradise Falls, somewhere outside L.A., the "City of Angels," as it were). And so many other things in between. The rest of the movie plays like an ultimate collection of cliches, from character actions to the cheesy one-liner.

I know this has mostly felt like a negative review, but there is some positive. Paul Bettany and Kevin Durand are wonderful in their respective roles (albeit Kevin Durand having way too little screen time prior to the climax of the movie). And Willa Holland is hot (and she is 18, so I can say that). There is some pretty decent comedy, too. There's also some good action--mostly once Kevin Durand comes into the picture, because before that, it's mostly just an endless stream of bullets. And it's always nice to see Doug Jones, although his Ice Cream Man role (which is a good chunk of the trailers) is pretty much just what you see in the trailers. He's on screen for maybe a minute tops.

There's also some good camera angles and cinematography. Despite having a shaky script, there actually was some good direction. It kept the movie fresh, and the visuals (in those respects) certainly weren't boring. The CGI was a bit dodgy in places, but there wasn't much of it, so that's good.

But I'd say the movie's biggest downfall is its script. Besides the aforementioned issues with almost nothing being explained, there's some iffy dialogue, as well as a feel that they tried to flesh out every character, but never could quite make it past the surface with each. There's also a "twist" at one point that... well... shouldn't really be a twist. It's treated as one, but when you hear it (and when the characters are reacting all 'wtf mate'), all I'm thinking is "yeah... OK, didn't we already know this? I mean, he never said it directly, but taking what he did tell us, I'm pretty sure you could figure it out by association. Literally." Their reactions were just a bit too... nonsensical for the timing. Or something like that.

Anywho, I didn't hate the movie. I just didn't particularly love it. It'd be a good one for a rifftrax of some sort, I'm sure. I suppose I'm just easily entertained and not easily perturbed as others are. The little things usually don't bother me, and it takes a lot for a movie to get one of my lower scores. If there's any semblance of entertainment (and, again, easily happens to me), it gets some points. So... yeah.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

(P.S. Why, if they lived in California, did Mr. Tokyo Drift have a southern accent... and why didn't his father?)


Odyssey: The Remix (My Movie + Bloopers).

Update: I'm not sure if it's just my computer or Vimeo, but the movie is slightly laggy in a couple parts... don't have too much time at the moment to mess with it, so if it's that way for y'all, I apologize.

Finally! Here it is. This is the movie created by my students and me. It's a modern adaptation of The Odyssey. We filmed for 9 (non-consecutive) days after school, each day for roughly an hour and a half, so it was almost impossible to get more than one or two takes per scene (hence why there are mistakes here and there, and why some editing is rougher than others). With the exception of one or two, these students were not trained in acting (i.e. have theater classes). in other words, there were extremely limited film times, conflicting schedules, untrained "child" actors, and only the help of iMovie '08 to edit. Not to mention a lack of extensive setting, seeing we could only film on campus.

In other words, it might not be a perfect movie, but it's a fun one, and the kids had a great time making it. It's one heck of an accomplishment. If I had had more time and a heck of a lot more resources and equipment, I'm sure it'd be more professional looking. But as it stands, I didn't, so I'm proud of what I feel is the best we could get with what we had.

So with roughly 3.5 hours of footage, I was able to make a roughly 37 minute short film. And here you are. Please enjoy "Odyssey: The Remix."

For those who know anything about the Odyssey, this film spans the following parts and characters:

"Leaving Troy"
The Lotus Eaters
Polyphemus, the cyclops
Tiresias, the blind prophet
The Sirens
Scylla and Charybdis
Helios' Cows
Penelope and the Suitors

Here you go:

Odyssey: The Remix from Nicholas Jobe on Vimeo.

And here are some bloopers:



Warning: Potential mild spoilers.


This movie is not for everyone (obviously, considering the mixed reviews). But was it for me? The movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic near-future, where water is scarce, there's no soap, and the majority of the population can't even read. It centers around Eli (Denzel Washington), a wanderer with a book in his possession that he must get to the west. But along the way, he comes across a little town run by a man named Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who is searching for the very book that Eli possesses. And he will do anything to get it. Eli eventually teams up with a young woman named Solara (Mila Kunis), as well, whose mother is being held by Carnegie.

That's about it. It's no real elaborate plot or anything. And I honestly can't see what all the negative fuss is about the movie... that is, unless you're a close-minded religious zealot. Sure, it's a slow movie, but it's not that slow. The religion isn't even shoved down your throat. Yes, the whole movie is about it, but it doesn't say "this is the right way" or "this is the wrong way." In fact, that's one of the things I loved most about the movie. The way it treated the subject was just like anything else: in the wrong hands, it can be devastating and used for the wrong reasons... but in the right hands, it's precious and good. I read one review that said something along the lines of them not being sure, after leaving the movie, whether or not the movie's purpose wanted them to embrace or condemn religion. I say the movie had no such agenda, but instead showed us that, really, it's up to the individual to decide between what is right and what is wrong. And right and wrong isn't always black and white.

Outside of the story, the visuals are amazing. The post-apoc look is great, and the cinematography is excellent. There were two reason I really wanted to see the movie: 1) The cinematography looked excellent and 2) the action looked great. I was right on both counts. The action is, while typically short, is a ton of fun. One of my favorite action scenes, purely from a camera angle (no pun intended), was the "house" scene near the end of the second act. The way the camera swooped in and out of the house in what appeared to be an impossible single take was outstanding.

On the acting front, Denzel Washington is good, but there really isn't a heck of a lot for him to work with. But he's good enough. I always felt from the trailers that Mila Kunis seemed out of place. After seeing the movie, I'm a bit torn on that thought. Part of me still sides with that thought, but the other part of me thought she did a pretty decent job. The best part, though, was Gary Oldman being Gary Oldman. I love that man in whatever he does, and he can sure play crazy pretty well.

I also wanted to make note that, at one point, I thought we had become Harry Potter and the Book of Eli. Besides Gary Oldman (who played Sirius Black in the movies), we had the random appearances of Frances de la Tour (who played Madame Maxime in Goblet of Fire) and Michael Gambon (Dumbledore since the third). Though I have to be honest, seeing Dumbledore and Madame Maxime go all Rambo on Sirius Black was totally fun. And, Harry Potter aside, what is it with Malcolm McDowell and the apocalypse? Just from recent memory, he's been in this, Doomsday, and the guy who wanted to bring the end of the world in the first season of Heroes. And, according to imdb, he does a character voice in the show Metalocalypse.

All in all, it was a pretty good movie. I actually really enjoyed it, but I like post-apocalyptic stories, great visuals, fun action, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and almost anything to do with theology... so I guess you can say it was going to be hard for me not to like this movie. (Despite its incredibly weak and open-ended V-For-Vendetta-cheap-rip-off ending).

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. I didn't even mention the freakin' awesome twist near the end of the movie... that I won't spoil. I totally wanna see it again, just so I can see it with the new mindset).


Film Production Diary: Day 12.

It's finished! It's finally done! Hell to the yes! Well, OK, filming is done. I still have to edit in the new footage. But still, no more staying late after school (unless necessary)! No more worrying about if students will be there or not and/or if they brought what they needed to bring!

We filmed the 4 scenes we needed to, though parts were kinda tricky. Because my main guy got into a fight the other day, his face has bruises and whatnot that he didn't have in other parts of the movie... so I had to film it from angles that didn't show one side of his face. I also had to get another guy to do the "security guard" role (which is only feet, anyway), so hopefully you really can't tell.

We did almost have an issue, because they wouldn't let one of my students into the locker room to get his shirt, but luckily we got him another that he could just turn inside out. Oh, and we were racing my camera's battery, as it started running low toward the end. So that was fun.

Anywho, now it's time to finish editing this bad boy. I'll let you know as soon as it's available for viewing (if possible, I might upload it to YouTube tonight). So, until then...


Film Production Diary: Day 11.

Yeah, do I really have to say it? Nothing happened. Here's to tomorrow.


Film Production Diary: Day 10.

I say, "There's no way we can't finish the movie this week!" God says, "Haha, wanna bet?"

Today was just a maelstrom of issues. It started with the one guy forgetting his shirt (again). But we figured a solution to that... one of my other guys had a black shirt, and they'd just exchange shirts and the one would flip the black shirt inside out (to rid of the picture). Easy fix. Then, I discover that the one girl whose role we need to re-shoot is absent (again). Fine. OK. We can film the other stuff we have left. Easy.

But here's the real kicker. Right before my 7th period is about to start (the class I have 2 of my main guys in), my lead actor comes around the corner... his face covered in blood. He had gotten into a fight and got totally messed up (he didn't start the fight, either, apparently). So on top of the fact that his face is all bruised and his nose is broken, he'll probably be getting suspended for a few days. My hope is this: 1) they won't suspend him this week because we're about to start midterms tomorrow (they're even letting kids out of ISS, so I doubt they'll suspend him) and 2) one of my girls in 7th period can do wonders with makeup.

But he's also grounded, so I have no idea if his parents will even let him stay. It's a total mess.

And on top of all that, I don't think this other guy will be able to stay after school anymore for his role, because he keeps coming after school and we keep having to cancel, and he's been having to make special arrangements. Luckily, his role is faceless, so anybody in a pair of bluejeans can continue it.

So yeah... that's what happened today. Here's to hoping we can actually finish this damn thing.

On the upside... for those who haven't seen it yet, check out the post right below this one. I posted a movie trailer I made last night for the film.

Odyssey: The Remix Trailer (My Movie).

UPDATE: I've posted the embedding.

While I'm in my conference period, I thought I'd go ahead and post up the trailer for the movie. Also, expect Film Production Diary #10 later tonight. Anywho, here's the trailer. Again, for those who don't know, the movie is a modern adaptation of The Odyssey.

Here you go:


Film Production Diary: Day 9.

Today was a wash. One of my students wasn't there because his mom hurt her back again, so he had to stay home with her... which threw off the whole filming for today, wherein we were supposed to finish. But now I won't be able to show the movie to my students tomorrow like originally planned, as we'll hopefully get to finish filming tomorrow.

On the upside, I did decide to, in the meantime, make a movie trailer. However, YouTube is being stupid at the moment and is doing site maintenance, so I can't post it up. But I'll post it up as soon as I can. But soon you will be able to see some footage from the film! I'll keep you updated.



Well, "the best movie of 2009" finally came to my town, so of course I had to check it out. I know I'm a bit late to the game, but I usually am when it comes to the big Oscar-type films. Up in the Air is Jason Reitman's follow up to the Oscar-winning Juno. And it's a whole different type of film. The movie follows Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a man who goes around the country to fire people for a living. He's a bit of a loner and feels more at home at an airport than he does at his own home. He doesn't like having relationships tie him down, either, so when he meets a flighty (no pun intended) woman named Alex (Vera Farmiga) who is just as elitist as he is, he is enthralled. So it doesn't sit well with him when he's threatened with being grounded by his boss (Jason Bateman), who, in order to save money, is taking a more technological approach to the process as invented by a young up-and-comer named Natalie (Anna Kendrick). But she's too naive and doesn't know the ropes, so Ryan is forced to take Natalie around the country to show her what it really takes to fire people.

While I don't think it was the best film of 2009, I still think it was up there (again... no pun intended). Though it was really distracting that, while watching the movie, I'm staring at Anna Kendrick going "where the hell have I seen you before?" And after I get home, I had to imdb it... and it was very much to my surprise that she's one of Bella's friend in the Twilight movies. I just have to say this... I'm not sure if she has a good or bad agent... because she went from the bottom tier of films right to the top without any transition in between. But it also adds more proof to my theory that the female actresses of the Twilight films can actually act, whether or not they show the ability in those films.

Anyway, on to the movie. Personally, I thought the first act (before Natalie is introduced) was a bit too slow, and it actually reminded me somewhat of the non-killer parts of American Psycho. Just the conversations between Ryan and Alex about their elite statuses and the types of cards they carry really took me back. The second act (the part where Ryan and Natalie travel the nation) is the best part of the movie. It kept me engaged and entertained and was really fun. But then the third act came in (starting with the wedding stuff), and it felt like a completely different movie. For some reason, it just didn't meld well with me. But then it gets back to what I consider the movie... and seems to rush it. I think the closure with Natalie could have been better, like there was this elaborate setup for the events at the end that are mostly glanced over. And all three acts have three completely different tones. The first is more dry humor... the second, I suppose, is a more straight-forward humor... and the third act is mostly drama.

I know it seems like I'm panning the movie, but I'm not. I really did enjoy it quite a bit. George Clooney and Anna Kendrick were wonderful in it. Kendrick's character has a good transition from naive, ambitious, young woman right out of school to a more mature, experienced young woman. On the other hand, Clooney's Ryan goes from elitist loner to a more warm and human man. It also had some great cameos, such as Zach Galifianakis, J.K. Simmons, and Sam Elliot. It was also cool to see Danny McBride in a slightly more serious role.

The movie was stylish and fun and had some really good jokes, most of which came from Anna Kendrick's Natalie. There's really not much else to say. While I don't agree it was the best film of 2009, it was really good and I'd love to see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



This is probably the longest wait I've given before writing a review for a movie I saw in theater. I went to see this last night (Friday), and I guess I've just been preoccupied with other things to write a review. But let's get to it before I forget the movie. I've been interested in this movie since I saw the first trailer, as I thought it was a unique spin on the (no pun intended) dead-to-dying vampire genre.

The movie takes place in the near future where the majority of the human population has been turned into vampires. But the human race is nearly extinct, and the vampires are running out of blood. They're driven to either starve or feed off other vampires (or, worse, themselves), both paths turning them into bat-like monsters called Subsiders. The film focuses on (sigh) Edward (Ethan Hawke), a hematologist looking for a blood substitute. Unlike most vampires, though--such as his brother Frankie (Michael Dorman) or his boss, Charles (Sam Neill)--Edward refuses to feed off humans. He ends up meeting an underground band of humans including Lionel "Elvis" Cormac (Willem Dafoe)--a human who was once a vampire and somehow turned back. So now Edward must work with the humans and stay out of the government's grips long enough to figure out how to replicate the cure.

The first thing I noticed about the movie were its painful similarities to Twilight--a vampire named Edward who refuses to feed off humans, vampires having golden eyes that get darker the hungrier they get--but then the movie really started off and I was able to put those aside (except for the "Edward" thing. Every time Sam Neill said "Edward" all dramatically, I think I died a little inside).

From the trailer, the one thing I was worried about was that the movie would be all action and no substance, and I really wanted a vampire movie with a hearty balance of action and substance, which isn't very common (not even you, Let The Right One In. I think the only other one I can think of at the moment is Chan-wook Park's Thirst). And thankfully, I was treated to just that. It isn't the non-stop bloody action film that the trailer suggests. Yes, there's action and yes, there's blood, but it isn't the whole movie.

However, there were a couple things that I think could have been cut because they tried to add substance and, in the end, just added pointlessness. For instance, the subplot about Sam Neill's daughter really had no relevance to the overall plot except for an important taunt at the end. And one character's "backstabbing" moment at the end has no rationale behind it. It just felt like an attempt at one more bit of suspense. And maybe had they fixed those things, they could have figured out a better ending. It's like... the climax happens and the writers are like "Oh... uh... I guess we should end it now? OK, yeah. Cue pointless voiceover and one last scare attempt."

Those are really my biggest issues, though. The best part of the movie is its attention to detail. The golden eyes, the bite marks on the neck, the "blood creamer" for coffee, a random shot of a vampire character not having a reflection in the mirror... just things like that. It even goes into details of how vampires travel in the daylight if they need/want to.

The visuals are outstanding, for the most part. The bluish hues that tint the film add a coldness or deadness to its feel (while the human scenes have more orange/sunlight or life colors). The only visuals I didn't like were the ones of the vampires burning in sunlight. That was such terrible CGI, which is completely uncalled for in this day and age. There were those parts that reminded me of I Am Legend-level bad for CGI, but they were few and far between, thankfully.

And speaking of I Am Legend, who are you to be scared of when everybody is a vampire? In the aforementioned story, it's the remaining human. In this, it's the Subsiders. The Subsiders were an interesting twist and rationale behind why they needed to drink human blood. And some of the slow changes or different stages of transformation reminded me of District 9's gradual alien transformation.

As for the action, there was enough and it was great. Was it bloody? Oh yeah, especially the climax of the film. It's not the goriest stuff ever, though, for those of you who get bothered by that. There's just quite a bit of it--again, the climax is the heaviest part. The vampires don't really have super strength or anything (nothing explicit, anyway). The only 'super-strong' moment was with a Subsider. But as I said earlier, the movie was more about its characters than its action.

Finally, the acting was good, which is to be expected from the likes of Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. And Willem Dafoe was actually pretty funny in the movie. I really enjoyed his character, who added some much needed humor to what's an otherwise dark movie.

Overall, it's a really good vampire movie with a good balance of action and drama. Good acting, mostly great visuals, and a creative and unique twist on an old story. So if you want to see a vampire movie that actually pays attention to the details, one that isn't just the same old thing, I recommend this movie. It isn't perfect, but it's good enough.

I Am McLovin!


Film Production Diary: Day 8.

Um... yeah. So, today we got a couple things done. We got a small part of one scene done and the entirety of another (which turned out really cool, and probably one of the best acted in the movie... which is good, considering it's part of the climax).

But the two big scenes we planned on doing today (a reshoot of the first couple scenes we did) couldn't happen because the girl needed for the scenes was sick and had to go to the doctor right after school.

So on Monday, if we're to finish this, we'll need to do those two quick scenes, another full scene, and then the rest of the 'choir' scene that's proving to be the most difficult one to get for the whole movie (come Monday, it'll be the fourth time to attempt it. The first was the Friday before Christmas break. The second was yesterday where I got the girls' portion. And the third was today, where we got a small bit, but nothing major).

I figure y'all will totally be able to tell which scenes I did earlier in the production and which ones I did later, mostly because you'll be able to notice how I learned how to film things as I went along (as well as better/different angles and such).

But one thing is for sure... I really enjoy the action scenes. They're fun to do.

Still... I want to be done with this movie already. For such a small production, this is like... never-ending. And I know my main actors are getting frustrated having to stay after school so much. But here's crossing my fingers that Monday will be the last. So... until then!


Film Production Diary: Day 7.

Ugh. One of my guys (the same one who didn't bring his shirt the other day) had to go home early today because his mom threw her back out (or something to that affect)... so we couldn't film with my main guys yet again.

But I filmed the female's half of a scene because they were there, and this was the second time I've had two of the three girls there (the first time was the day before Christmas break when we couldn't get through the scene). It may have been a blessing in disguise, however, as it made it easier to film without the guys making the girls laugh. But I had to re-arrange my room and film it in there, as I didn't get signed up to use the auditorium for today like I wanted to. Oh well.

And tomorrow it's supposed to be like, super freezing out with rain and everything, so there's a high potential that many students won't even be at school. So on top of my one guy possibly not coming to school in order to stay home with his mom (not sure if that'll be the case or not), I have the weather issue.

I swear, it's like even God is against me ever finishing a movie. But I swear, it will be done! I only have a few scenes left...


Film Production Diary: Day 6.

I am freakin' exhausted... like, you have no idea. After a long day of high energy (that I had to muster from a place of non-existence) to play "Review Basketball" for 8 hours... I get to do some filming stuff.

It starts with a shot that should only last about 10 seconds, but it took us about 5 minutes to get through because people kept messing up and/or laughing for various reasons (like one of my students kept farting). But we eventually got through it. And this comes at the end of a scene that we filmed next.

Next was a big fight scene in a bathroom, which is going to have probably more bloopers than any other scene we've done. But I really liked a lot of the shots I did for this scene. Besides some cool angles, I felt at times like Paul Greengrass Jr. with some quick camera movements and shaky cam (not purposeful shaky cam... just trying to fit in all the action). But we had to hurry at the end because one of my main guys had to leave with his ride (another one of the guys there... who actually isn't one of my students, but replaced one who didn't show up... which actually worked, because this guy is playing a bully, and he's HUGE). Funny side note... I kept having teachers and janitors come up and ask what was going on in the bathroom, so I kept having to explain that I was making a movie... in the bathroom... got an odd look or two.

From there, I filmed the one girl's scene that I've been trying to film since last semester. But that was slightly rushed because another one of my guys (not in the scene, though) had to leave, but he had some stuff still up in my classroom. I gave him my keys, but the janitor wouldn't let him in for liability reasons, so we had to super rush through it.

All in all, I got 3 scenes completed today (2 total filmed today, and one shot added to another to finish it off). Oh, and a pretty big headache, but I suppose it comes with the territory.

Side Note: I wanted to say that, in editing yesterday's footage, I became a bit upset. I had some really cool shots, but I couldn't use them because they interfered with the continuity of the shot that preceded it. This happened twice, and it was very saddening.


Film Production Diary: Day 5.

We're back from Christmas break and back to filming! And today was... interesting. It was like a snowball of bad. First, I discover that the one girl who was going to film today (and was actually supposed to film before Christmas break but couldn't) couldn't stay today, but will be here tomorrow (*crosses fingers*). Then one of my main guys tells me he couldn't find his shirt he'd been wearing (and to avoid continuity issues, I need them in the same wardrobe). He also didn't bring the jacket that another one of my main guys had been wearing. So they were out of filming today, too. And to top it all off, my main guy is sick.

But that's about where the bad ends. We did get about 3 shorts scenes filmed today because I just needed me, my main character, and a camera. And him being sick helped add to the kind of 'blah' emotion of the scene. So at least we got something done.

With my luck, though, he'll end up staying home sick tomorrow or something and we won't be able to film anything. Now that'd suck. I told him he's not allowed to be sick... though I'm not sure that'll work. Anywho, that was about it for the day. We were finished in about 30 minutes.

Oh the joys of working with 14-year-old students...


R2D2... The One About What's Coming.

Alrighty... I figured I'd let you know, now that we're in the new year, what you can expect from me soon. So... here goes.

- 4 more days worth of Film Production Diary, as we'll be (or at least should be) wrapping up filming on my (students') movie this week.

- Movies to review that I've recently seen: Inglorious Basterds, The Wrestler, Milk, Michael Clayton, Synecdoche New York*, and (500) Days of Summer.

*Well... I couldn't exactly get through it (I got about halfway through before giving up)... so I'm not sure how great of a review this could be. Maybe about as good as the movie itself. (bah dum bum). But I didn't delete it from my DVR, so I might still give it another shot before reviewing it.

- Movies on my DVR to watch: The Royal Tenenbaums, Persepolis, Doubt, The Soloist, Revolutionary Road, and A Clockwork Orange.

- Movie recently (impulsively) bought on DVD that I need to watch: Ichi (retelling of Zatoichi, but with a female).

- Movies to see in theater this month (that I know for sure): Youth in Revolt, Daybreakers, The Book of Eli, and Legion.

- TV Reviews: Season 4 of Dexter and Seasons 2 and 3 of Battlestar Galactica.


And A Little More...

I realized I didn't fit everything in that I wanted to, so I'm doing a little bit more. I first wanted to include what I feel to be the 20 best performances of the decade.

To help, I've split them up into 2 different categories: Performances for a "good guy" character and, the much more interesting, performances for a "bad guy/anti-hero" character. And there are 10 in each, so they are essentially two Top 10 performances lists that I will then sift through for the Top 10 performances of the year list (hope that made sense). And I won't bother with an explanation... I'll just let the youtube videos do the talking (some clips were harder to find than others... some of these I had to use trailers). That being said, let's get to it.

Top 10 "Good Guy/Gal" Performances of the 2000s

10. Tallahassee - Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)

9. Tony Stark - Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)

8. Dae-su Oh - Min-sik Choi (Oldboy)

7. Laura - Belen Rueda (The Orphanage)

6. Ulysses Everett McGill - George Clooney (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

5. Joel Barish - Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

4. Amelie Poulain - Audrey Tautou (Amelie)

3. Park Il-sun - Rain (I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK)

2. Randy "The Ram" - Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

1. Trevor Adams - Ben Foster (Bang Bang You're Dead)

Top 10 "Bad Guy/Antihero" Performances of the 2000s

10. Richard B. Riddick - Vin Diesel (Pitch Black)

9. V - Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta)

8. Alonzo - Denzel Washington (Training Day)

7. Anton Chigurh - Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

6. Vincent - Tom Cruise (Collateral)

5. John "Jigsaw" Kramer - Tobin Bell (The Saw Series)

Note: Whether you like the films or not, you can't deny Tobin Bell's acting is freakin' fantastic, and one of the only reasons even the less lenient fans keep coming back. Even I would have to say that if it weren't for Tobin Bell, this series wouldn't have lasted as long as it has. This particular clip (not so good quality) is from Saw II and features John talking to Detective Matthews.

4. Severus Snape - Alan Rickman (The Harry Potter Series)

Note: Rickman completely embodies Snape, and it wouldn't be the same with anybody else. But the video I want cannot be embedded, so follow this link. It's one of my favorite Snape scenes--the extended cut of Harry's first Potions class, which is so much better than the original cut, of course. Also, random fun fact, 2 of the 3 things Snape talks about toward the end of the clip come back in Half-Blood Prince.

3. Rorschach - Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)

Note: This scene is also refusing embedding. Probably for the better, as it's a pretty graphic scene. Anyway, here's the clip.

2. Hans Landa - Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)

1. The Joker - Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Note: And, again, another clip that can't be embedded. It's the scene that made everybody fall in love with the character: The pencil trick. Check it out.

Top 10 Overall Performances of the 2000s

10. Joel Barish - Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
9. John "Jigsaw" Kramer - Tobin Bell (The Saw Series)
8. Amelie Poulain - Audrey Tautou (Amelie)
7. Park Il-sun - Rain (I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK)
6. Severus Snape - Alan Rickman (The Harry Potter Series)
5. Rorschach - Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
4. Randy "The Ram" - Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
3. Trevor Adams - Ben Foster (Bang Bang You're Dead)
2. Hans Landa - Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
1. The Joker - Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Runner-Up: This movie didn't make any of my lists, but it probably should have. Hard Candy was a brutal thriller, and Ellen Page's performance is outstanding, better than anything else she's done yet. So I thought I'd give it a shout-out here.

The last thing I need to post is one thing I had nearly forgotten about: The worst films of the decade. No, I won't be doing an elaborate list here. It's just a decade list. Why? Because I don't go out of my way to see bad movies. So this list compromises the top (bottom?) ten films of the 2000s that I've actually seen. I'm sure there are far worse films than some of these out there. But these are pretty bad, too.

Worst Movies of the 2000s (That I've Seen)

10. The Strangers (2008)

This is one of the most overrated horror films ever. It's not scary. It's not even moderately creepy (at least after the first 10 minutes). It's just... bad.

9. Jumper (2008)

I was so looking forward to this movie. It turned into a total waste. They should have stuck with the younger actors that portrayed the characters before they went however many years "later."

8. Date Movie (2006)

Around the middle of the "Movie" Movie craze, right when they started getting unbearably bad (The "Scary Movies" were at least decent... but when they branched out, they just went downhill fast). Poor Alyson Hannigan.

7. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

Not even Brendan Frasier could save this movie. Bad story, bad acting, bad special effects... it was just bad all around.

6. Dragonball Evolution (2009)

I'd been waiting for a live Dragonball movie since the 90s. And then they give us this travesty. It doesn't follow the Dragonball universe almost whatsoever. I do have to give them props on James Marsters as Piccolo. That was actually brilliant casting, and they even made Piccolo look pretty good with the makeup and whatnot. It's just unfortunate he had maybe 5 minutes of total screen time. It was just all wrong and all bad. This is one movie in serious need of a reboot.

5. Anything by Uwe Boll (2003-2009)

You can't have a worst-of list for the decade and not include Uwe Boll. Of his films, I've seen 2 (House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark). And that was more than enough. At least House of the Dead could be considered a so-bad-its-hilarious to watch and riff with friends. But the others... just terrible.

4. Diary of the Dead (2007)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Romero used to be at the top of the horror field. And then he gave us this. It's terribly acted, and it can't even properly do the "found tape" style of movie. One of the characters actually tells you "I edited this movie after the fact and added tense music and some sound effects to help with the tension" (or something along those lines). Now that's just sad.

3. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009)

This is why video game movies have a bad rep. Crap like this. I was literally embarrassed leaving the movie theater, hoping nobody was watching me leave this travesty of film. No kidding. I had never before nor have I ever since left a movie feeling embarrassed for having publicly seen it... not even the Twilight films. Bad. Bad bad bad.

2. The Spirit (2008)

The only reason my friend and I didn't walk out of this mess is that we were having too much fun riffing on it. This is a perfect riff movie, and I'd be tempted to buy it (from Amazon or some other non-public store) just to make my own personal rifftrax. It is so terribly awful that words cannot describe it. If you go back and look at my review for the movie after having seen it... I literally couldn't find the words to give a proper review. This is by and far one of the worst movies I have ever seen... but not the worst.

1. The Room (2003)

That honor goes to this gem, which I just saw this year. This movie is either a work of terror or a work of pure genius. Tommy Wiseau is either a total moron or the greatest filmmaker of our age. He has either given us the world's worst modern film or the greatest practical joke ever pulled on film. Words cannot describe this movie... it's probably best to go and listen to a previous LAMBcast where it's discussed (I'm not involved, however, as I hadn't seen it at that point). With classic lines like "Hi doggie!" or just his amazing laugh, "ha ha ha ha." The movie is classically, possibly even brilliantly, terrible.


R2D2's Ultimate Top 10 Countdown Of The 2000s #11 (Final) - Years.

Welcome to the new year! It's the first day of the new year and the final day of my Top 10 extravaganza. Over the last 10 days, we have previously seen Top 10 Comedies, Dramas, Animation, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Foreign, Musicals, Action/Thrillers, Decade Specials, and Oscar Winners of the 2000s. Now, in this final post, I'm going to be including a plethora of lists using all of the previous 100+ movies over the last 10 days (100+ because I included some 'series' films in one number, as well as one tie).

So this is what I'm going to do. I've taken all the movies I've stated of each year and compiled them into their own lists. Some years had more than 10. Some barely had 5. So if there were more, I trimmed it down to my favorite 10. If there weren't enough, I added other of my favorite films from that year that weren't on the other lists. Those movies will be labeled with an asterisk (*) and a brief note about the movie. So now for those of you who questioned why I separated foreign films from other genres, or some similar issue, here you will find them mixed in with everything else in order to have equal representation among the years. I'm starting with Year 2000 and going through 2009. And then, after that, I'm taking all the #1 positions from those years and making a Top 10 Best of the 2000s list, as it only makes sense to have my favorite film from each year be on the Top 10 of the Decade list. In other words, over the last 10-11 days, it's just been one big OCD spasm to get all my movies into categorical order and make it all nice and tidy.

Note: Before I start, I just want to give you a basic reminder that all of the following lists show my FAVORITE films, not necessarily the BEST films of any given year. That being said, let me stop rambling and end this already.

TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2000

10. American Psycho*
(The movie that mainstreamed Christian Bale... before Batman Begins, anyway)

9. Snatch*
(Can hardly understand it, but it's still oddly fun)

8. X-Men*
(The movie that started the superhero craze)

7. Finding Forrester*
(It's essentially a teacher movie, but without the 'teacher'. And it's Sean Connery)

6. Scary Movie*
(The beginning of the "Movie" Movie craze, and it's still the best)

5. Titan A.E.

4. Final Destination

3. Memento

2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

1. Pitch Black


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2001

10. Shrek

9. Wasabi

8. Frailty

7. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

6. Ocean's 11

5. Training Day

4. Moulin Rouge!

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

2. Amelie

1. Spirited Away


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2002

10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

9. Chicago

8. Catch Me If You Can

7. The Mothman Prophecies

6. Equilibrium

5. Minority Report

4. The New Guy*
(Call it a guilty pleasure, this is one of my favorite comedies, and probably would have come in at #11 on my comedies list)

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

2. 28 Days Later...

1. Bang Bang You're Dead


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2003

10. Phone Booth*
(A suspenseful and stylish film... with a brief (and funny) appearance by Ben Foster, at that!)

9. Kill Bill Vol. 1

8. Identity

7. The Rundown*
(Probably The Rock's best movie)

6. Paycheck*
(Again, I'm a Philip K. Dick fan)

5. 11:14

4. Big Fish*
(Love the fantasy elements, the heartwarming nature... fantastic movie)

3. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

2. The Last Samurai

1. Oldboy


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2004

10. The Incredibles

9. Finding Neverland

8. Spider-Man 2

7. Dawn of the Dead

6. EuroTrip

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

4. Collateral

3. Napoleon Dynamite

2. Saw

1. Shaun of the Dead

Note: Yes, Prisoner of Azkaban (released in this year) is the only Harry Potter movie that didn't make one of these Top 10 lists. But it would have come in the #11 spot for those that care.


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2005

10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

9. Sky High

8. Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical

7. Unleashed

6. Hostage

5. Angel-A

4. Feast

3. MirrorMask

2. V For Vendetta

1. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2006

10. The Host

9. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

8. Driving Lessons

7. Re-Cycle

6. Silent Hill

5. Black Snake Moan

4. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

3. The Prestige

2. Pan's Labyrinth

1. Inside Man

Note: I guess this is the year of foreign films. Only 4 movies on this list (6, 5, 3, 1) were made in America... but even #3 has a British director and largely non-American cast.


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2007

10. Disturbia

9. Enchanted

8. Planet Terror

7. Michael Clayton

6. Death at a Funeral

5. Superbad

4. The Orphanage

3. 28 Weeks Later

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

1. 3:10 to Yuma

Note: I guess this wasn't an outstanding year for movies? This one is probably my least exciting list.


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2008

10. Iron Man

9. Man On Wire

8. Slumdog Millionaire

7. The Wrestler

6. The Dark Knight

5. Gamers: Dorkness Rising

4. Role Models

3. Repo! The Genetic Opera

2. In Bruges


Note: I guess this was my Oscar year... at least 7 of these films were nominated for some category, and I believe only 2 (In Bruges and Iron Man) didn't win.


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of 2009

10. Adventureland

9. Watchmen

8. Thirst

7. Pandorum

6. Avatar

5. Inglorious Basterds

4. Up

3. Star Trek

2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

1. Zombieland

Note: This list is slightly different than the list I gave for an upcoming LAMBcast, as I hadn't seen Inglorious Basterds prior to the episode recording.


TOP 10 Favorite Movies of the 2000s


10. Pitch Black

9. 3:10 to Yuma

8. Spirited Away

7. Zombieland


5. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

4. Inside Man

3. Oldboy

2. Shaun of the Dead

1. Bang Bang You're Dead

Note: This is a rare case of substance over fun, I suppose you could say. I had to put BBYD at the top, because while Shaun might be my favorite movie, BBYD is--I feel--one of the most important movies ever made. So there.

CONSOLATION PRIZE: I wanted to give this film notice, because I didn't have a proper category for it (it's a documentary), but it's a film I really loved. So, a shout-out to another favorite film of the 2000s:

- The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

And that's it! R2D2's Ultimate Top 10 Countdown Of The 2000s has officially ended! We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.