Posts tagged 'Movies'

Don LaFontaine Helped A Friend Of Mine

Is this Pixar’s next movie? Nope, this is the 2006 demo reel of a fellow Art Institute classmate of mine. Billy Woodward and I graduated at the same time in September of 2006. During our graduation screening, Billy’s demo reel blew everyone away. And even if you ignored his 3d animation or his storytelling abilities, the fact that he got the “Voice Over King”, Don LaFontaine, to do a custom voice over for his demo reel shows just how far he would go to make his vision as compelling as possible. Watching this short trailer made you feel like you were actually in a theater waiting for the feature presentation to start. It was easily the best showing of the night leaving everyone wanting more.

Don LaFontaine

I was going to write up this post at some point in the future but when I heard Don died yesterday from complications of a collapsed lung at age 68, I immediately thought of Billy’s demo reel. The fact that he would take the time out of his busy voice-over schedule to help a graduating art student spruce up his demo reel shows just what a great guy Don was. He will be truly missed and movie trailers just won’t be the same without that booming, authoritative voice we’ve grown familiar with.

Russell The Movie Star

Kristina needed to make a movie for her Introductory Design class. Lucky for her she chose me as the star as my schedule just happened to be free! The movie also featured everyone’s favorite Puck the cat. I’m proud to be apart of one of the most suspenseful movies of the year. Check it out…

It took about a day to shoot all of the pictures and another full day of editing in Final Cut Express. Kristina scoured for sound effects and music in my impressive collection that I have built up over the years since I was in school. Hopefully she gets an “A” for her late night of editing, but if not, we still had fun making it even if it isn’t the most professional flick on the interwebs these days.

Recreating D-Day Scene With 4 People And A Camera

Saving Private Ryan is a popular flick with a memorable scene depicting the invasion of Normandy, France. Here it is to jog your memory.

In 1998, when this film was released, the average filmmaker didn’t have the technology available to them to produce a scene at this scale. But as technology has trickled down to the masses, more and more ideas become reasonable to execute. With the state of compositing and CG graphics where they are today there is really no limit with what can be done yet still believable to the average eye.

Take these four guys who managed to recreate a D-Day invasion over a weekend with one camera and off the shelf desktop tools. They documented the whole process so you can see how everything came together. While their mini-scene is not as extensive as the big Hollywood film, the fact that they could even pull this off with such a micro crew is awe-inspiring.

(via HD For Indies)

Trajan Is The Default Movie Font

Font geeks really hate it when a particular typeface reaches the point of passé. Prime examples include Papyrus, Arial, Times New Roman, and the dreaded Comic Sans. Kirby Ferguson despises a font used in most of the big-time Hollywood movies, Trajan. Like Times New Roman is the default font for Microsoft Word, Trajan is the default font for movies. It never really hit me before until Kirby put a bunch of movie posters side-by-side where it became painfully obvious. Watch the video below for a better idea:

It’s bad enough that movie plot lines are lacking creativity and freshness, but does movie typography have to follow suit?

300 Trailer Simpsons Style

Take the greatest animated series in history and combine it with the audio from one of the most dramatic and breath taking films released this year and what do you get? The 300 Trailer: Simpsons Style

The Simpsons Extravaganza Pt.2 – The Movie

The Simpsons Movie Logo

The Simpsons Movie manages to stay true to its television roots with off the wall hi-jinks and a familiar cast from everyone’s favorite fictional town. With 18 seasons under its belt, it would be a challenge to find someone who has not seen a single episode of the cartoon family. In fact, the main draw of this movie is the fact that it is, well, The Simpsons but 3x longer. Come to think of it, the trailer and TV commercials had nothing to do with the plot but captured the slapstick Simpsons-esque humor.

As I entered the theater I had no idea what was going to take place during the hour and a half running time but that didn’t really matter. In true Simpsons style, the story is set-up quickly through a series of random and seemingly unconnected events. Throughout the film the characters poke fun at everything from the government to the FOX network and even the idea that they are making a movie with the same stuff everyone has been enjoying for free on tv for the past 18 years.

Bart And Homer Ride Motorcycle Through Flames

Going from the TV screen to the silver screen did change a few things. For one thing, the movie is a bit edgier with some sort-of kind-of nudity, slightly harsher language, and a little more violence than you would normally see on the network TV version. But those things are what make the movie a movie, the freedom to push the content further with greater freedom of expression. The look also departed from the typical 2D animation to a more 2.5D cinematic cartoon. At first this look was a bit uncomfortable, but it grew on me through out the movie.

The bottom line is if you have ever been a fan of The Simpsons you will definitely want to see the movie. Those who don’t really like or understand The Simpsons are better off just skipping it since it captures the same aspects that everyone has come to love from the TV show. Besides, if you are not a big Simpsons fan then you will miss a lot of the inside jokes that make it that much funnier. If you do go, sit through the credits as there are a few extra little scenes sprinkled throughout.

I give the Simpsons Movie two thumbs up, 5/5 stars, 10/10, whatever the rating system is mostly because I am a big fan of the Simpsons in general. The film kept me laughing and managed to avoid being a half-assed theatrical port of a great television series.

What Would Jesus Buy?

This past weekend I made my way down to the AFI theater in Silver Spring, MD, to watch a documentary in the annual SilverDocs film festival. Knowing nothing more than the title and a brief blurb I decided the film What Would Jesus Buy? would be well worth the gamble of my $10 admittance.

What Would Jesus Buy? is focuses on the commercialization of Christmas, consumerism, globalization, and the eagerness of America to over spend. The film’s main character is Bill Talen better known as Reverend Bill, head of the church of Stop Shopping. As you might guess from their name, the Church of Stop Shopping preaches anti-commercialism through choir songs that deal with anti-shopping and anti-corporate themes. Taking their message to the streets, the film documents the many public demonstrations in malls and shopping centers across America, including the Mall of America in Minnesota and Disney Land in California, as the group travels the country in their bus one month before Christmas.

What Would Jesus Buy

Reverand Billy is an eccentric character who plays the part of a reverend through his wildly energetic speeches to exorcising of large corporate headquarters at big box retailers like Wal-Mart. He was arrested or escorted away by police several times throughout the movie but that doesn’t stop his motivation to get his message out. It is hard to tell if Reverand Billy is a special character for the film or if Bill Talen really acts this way from day to day.

The film was directed by Rob VanAlkemade with Morgan Spurlock as executive producer. I was hoping this film would be more like Spurlock’s hit documentary Super Size Me or another one of my favorite documentaries The Corporation, packed with hard evidence about the topic. What Would Jesus Buy? starts out like that showing dramatic news footage of people getting trampled stampeding to buy Christmas gifts and reading facts about American’s debt after the holidays but quickly drops off to a roadie adventure. The film was entertaining as the Church of Stop Shopping was a zainy bunch, but it just didn’t live up to my expectations as a hard-hitting take action kind of film. Instead, it felt too preachy. I did come away from the film with a bunch of funny quips and terms like “The shopacalypse is upon us” and “Change-a-lujah”.

Reverand Billy and the Stop Shopping Church

After the screening, Reverand Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping made a special appearance on stage where they performed two songs and answered questions from the audience. It’s these kinds of events that I really enjoy about film festivals since you would never get a show after the movie at your local cineplex. That made the price of admission totally worth it.

What Would Jesus Buy? is making the rounds in smaller film houses across the country but they expect to have a global release in time for Christmas this year. If you are in an anti-consumerism, preachy-gospel mood, then go check out this film when it comes to your area.

Reverand Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping homepage

Ocean’s 13

All I’ll say is Ocean’s 13 is better than Ocean’s 12 but not as good as the more recent Ocean’s 11. Same city, same idea, pretty much the same cast. If you saw the first two then you will probably want to see the third one too!

I love how slick Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan are both in dress and in attitude. If I could be anyone I would be one of them.

Ocean’s 13