Patrick R

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Everything posted by Patrick R

  1. Does anyone still care about A Bug's Life? It feels like such a Toy Story also-ran when I think back, but it's been 15+ years(!) since I've seen it. ALSO People who love Finding Nemo: What do you like about it?
  2. REWATCH RANKING SO FAR (as of 8/19/17) 1. Black Sunday (1960) 2. Kill Baby, Kill! (1966) 3. Black Sabbath (1963) 4. Rabid Dogs (1974) 5. Baron Blood (1972) 6. Lisa and the Devil (1973) 7. Knives of the Avenger (1966) The Godfather of all Italian Horror! Your average clued-in film person has seen a Dario Argento and perhaps even a Lucio Fulci movie but it feels like, outside of horror hounds, people have forgotten Mario Bava. Bava is a strong candidate for greatest horror filmmaker of all time, as well as best cinematographer (he shot most of his own work, often uncredited) of any genre. He mastered black and white gothic horror with the stone classic Black Sunday, he made a slasher movie that Friday the 13th was still ripping off from ten years later back in 1971 before the word "slasher" meant anything. He did sci-fi that inspired Alien, he did pop-art comic book spy thrillers, wacky sex comedies with Vincent Price that were ripped off by Austin Powers, hardnosed crime thrillers, the giallo film that inspired the rest of them, and even nightmarish Alice in Wonderland dreamscapes. I recently listened to a great interview with someone who wrote a 1,100 page biography/critical examination of his work and it timed up with the Gene Siskel Film Center doing a retrospective and now I am in full Bava mania. I hope to see as many of his films as possible over the course of August. Here's the killer opening to Black Sunday, which is the first thing I ever saw that he directed (I saw it as part of a Bravo horror clip show) and inspired me to see much more. So beautiful, haunting and incredibly grisly by the standards of 1960! "It is I who repudiate you! And in the name of Satan I place a curse upon you! Go ahead! Tie me down to the stake! But you will never escape my hunger, nor that of SATAN!" So awesome. As an a director working with black and white, he really is up there with Bergman. Here's what I've seen so far this month: Rabid Dogs (1974) - A grimy, nasty piece of work. Sweat-soaked extreme close-ups for days from this kidnapping thriller that takes place almost entirely in a crowded car. Bava keeps the screws tightening (dig that 12 note escalating organ theme that never quite leaves) and the threat of the worst possible actions you can imagine always present, while maintaining a certain degree of color and dark humor. There's a few 90 degree wide-angle pans in this that absolutely destroyed me, standing out all the more because so much of this is constricted to inside a vehicle, right up in everybody's face. There's a certain emotional shift towards the end that took me completely by surprise and the final twist is a killer, not only because it's incredibly nihilistic but because it clears up some niggling plot problems I had. I spent a lot of this thinking "This is so simple and effective, I can't believe no one's tried to remake it" but of course someone has and it was totally needless. This is quintessential 70's exploitation. Time and place are so important. Lisa and the Devil (1973) - A notable step down. It's an unhinged dream film that sadly has a complete blank slate for a dreamer. Ideally all this strange imagery and mood would be reflecting some kind of psychological mindset on the part of Lisa, but Lisa has no psychology to speak of, passive and hollow to the point of lunacy at times. She's a very dull Alice and Wonderland deserves better. It leaves any scene without a murder or Telly Savalas's satanic smirk lacking a little something. Still very striking looking and admirably unparsable. I'm seeing Black Sabbath on the big screen tonight and am very excited. It's easily one of my all-time favorite anthology horror films, and has some of the best looking color in any horror film I've ever seen, including Suspiria. Also, psst, it seems like a lot of his movies have been uploaded in full to YouTube if that is your game.
  3. This is a very good thread worth reading if you want to be even more mad about the news. I knew they'd never be able to continue Important If True while working at Valve and was afraid that In the Valley of the Gods would be the last game they ever made, which just goes to show how little imagination I have for how things could go wrong. There is zero chance I will ever be able to play a VR Half-Life game, nor do I know anyone who ever would, so this is such a bummer.
  4. Movie/TV recommendations

    There aren't really many jump scares, none that I recall, but there is a fair amount of very realistic grisly violence, so fair warning for that.
  5. Full Throttle Remastered

    I just played this for the first time and it was really disappointing. It feels very empty compared to most Lucasarts adventure games with few characters, repetitive settings, less objects and hot-spots to interact with, less lines of dialogue. I get that Ben is very taciturn and can't be a quip machine like Guybrush Threepwood but it feels like most attempts to interact with the world are met with the same 4 dismissive lines, which makes me not want to try anything. Even in situations where it makes no sense he'll fall back on the same lines, like when I was trying to use my bike chain on the semi-truck during the climax and he replied "I'm saving that chain for my friends on Mine Road." And Peter Chan's art is beautiful but scene layouts are often at the expense of clarity, like the magnet tower Thyroid mentioned or trying to figure out where the gas cap on the security force hovercar is supposed to be. Between the lack of humorous bespoke dialogue and hard to parse scenes (oh, that tiny little square in the trailer is a cabinet?) it feels like the game wants to make it hard for me to play. Same with some of the puzzle design: I get a steak and instantly know I'm going to use it to distract the junkyard dog but when I try to use it on a nearby car Ben informs me that the dog would eat the steak and then eat him. Ok, so throwing the steak into a car isn't the answer, so I bash my head against the scene for 15 minutes (luckily the remaster lets me skip the animation of Ben getting chased by the dog, no way I could watch that 15 times in a row without turning the game off) until I give up and look up a FAQ. Turns out I was supposed to throw the steak into a DIFFERENT car. That sort of thing happened half a dozen times, where I figured out what I was supposed to do (bunny minefield was another big one) and then spent a while trying to figure out the exact specific way the game wanted me to do it. It's clear the focus is story and I had heard great things about it, especially Mo and Ben's relationship, but even that was a little underwhelming: there's barely any meat there. They have a brief conversation when Mo finds him, don't really interact again until he finds the Vultures hangout, and then they pull off their motorcycle heist and there's a finale. I like that the sexual tension is ambiguous and that the game doesn't spell anything but they're both too unemotive for that ending to really mean much. There's a lot I liked (art, music, the more cinematic approach) but overall I found it missing most of what made me fall in love with Lucasarts adventure games.
  6. Filmmaking

    It took me two levels of UHS to figure out how to watch this, I am foolish. Congratulations, Erikki, this looks beautiful. All your time and effort (and money!) are onscreen. Now armed with this experience your next step is a massive feature length Mario Bava homage.
  7. Broken Age - Double Fine Adventure!

    Ah. Thanks for the thorough explanation!
  8. Filmmaking

    I feel dumb but I cannot crack this riddle. By vocal do you mean syllable?
  9. Broken Age - Double Fine Adventure!

    I've been rewatching this and it's got me incredibly nostalgic for 2012/13, when I moved to Chicago and discovered Idle Thumbs which got me back into games, etc. I really miss Idle Thumbs, for sure. I still agree with the first bolded statement, no longer with the second. I think I was just looking at the creative process through a limited scope of "individual artistic decisions people make" (which are in fact part of the documentary as well) when what this series is actually is an incredible macro look at the creative process of massive collaborative projects, how all the parts fit together and, more importantly, create bottlenecks for each other. You really walk away with a thorough understanding of how bizarre and unintuitive the game development process can be. It is wild to me that Two Player Productions would go on to make nothing else like this. Are they even still a thing? Their Twitter is active but the link to their official site is broken and this is the last project of theirs listed on Wikipedia. When they refer to "sprints" they're talking about crunch, right?
  10. Filmmaking

    It's been a bit since I've posted here but I figure I'd wrap this up. I didn't get this into any festivals so I can finally make this public. Figure at the very least the first two minutes are of interest because the Thumbs were nice enough to let me use clips of Important If True. Making movies is hard and I am proud that I finished this.
  11. The Asian Film Thread

    I decided this year I would dive deeper into Asian film, a region whose cinema I've always appreciated but never explored very deeply. I think part of me prefers American films because I have more cultural context and when watching foreign films (particularly those from the east) I have a fear about missing some crucial bit of info that informs the entire work. Watching a bunch of movies in a row makes patterns emerge more clearly, so right now my approach is to mostly dive into the work of a single director before moving on. I started with Yasujiro Ozu, a seminal Japanese director I had seen nothing by. I saw (in order) Tokyo Story, Late Spring, A Story of Floating Weeds and Floating Weeds. The first two proved me out because, after watching Tokyo Story and Late Spring back to back, I saw that Ozu's work seemed preoccupied with a sort of post-war malaise, an anxiety about the dissolution of the family unit, traditions and which should be upheld. It took some work for me to really get on Ozu's wavelength but his movies look incredible and his deep meticulously arranged frames are stunning throughout. By the time I watched A Story of Floating Weeds (a silent melodrama he made in the 30's) and Floating Weeds (a color remake he made in the 50's) I was more comfortable with his work and could appreciate them without too much extra effort. It helps that the Floating Weeds story is more melodramatic than he's known for (there's actually outbursts of shouting and violence!) and that Floating Weeds was my first color Ozu film and his use of color enhances his already beautiful style in a way I didn't think possible. If you are like me and never watched any Ozu but are curious I would probably recommend starting with Late Spring instead of Tokyo Story, as the former is a little more "eventful" (whatever that means in the context of Ozu's quiet and gentle stories) and latter is a little tougher to crack emotionally. I also watched a documentary about Ozu's life called I Lived, But..., which is a Japanese documentary from the 80's on Ozu's life. I wouldn't say it informed how I watched his films (it's not a critical study) but it does feature a lot of movie clips and leans into personal anecdote rather than biographical facts, so I found it more interesting than most bio-docs. I'll be returning to Ozu later but for now I've switched over to Hong Kong action director Ringo Lam. Lam directed my favorite action movie of all time*, Full Contact, and I've enjoyed watching some more of his work. City On Fire is an amazing undercover cop movie that, like Full Contact, stars Chow Yun Fat and is probably most famous for being the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The two films are actually quite different (Reservoir Dogs only takes place in the last 20 or so minutes of City on Fire's story) but there are about 4 or 5 moments that Tarantino ripped off (or homaged) wholesale. What makes City on Fire for me is Lam's vision of Hong Kong as a teeming city of chaos. Every part of the movie goes big. Every action scene happens in public, in impossibly crowded streets, every squib holds twice as much blood as you think it should, every cop in the country descends upon the warehouse the criminals hole up in at the end. The film gives a feeling of loss of control, where both cops and robbers are constantly screwing up. I've seen this (and similar feelings in Lam's other work) attributed to anxiety over "The Handover" (the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the UK to China that happened in 1997) but I couldn't speak to that. Whatever the political subtext, it's an awesome and intense crime movie and Lam is amazing at orchestrating public chaos in his action scenes. I also watched one of Lam's western films, the DTV Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Replicant, where Van Damme plays the clone of a serial killer (also played by Van Damme, naturally) tasked with tracking him down. It's not a good movie. It takes itself too seriously for such a monumentally dumb premise. But there is fun to be had with "newborn" Van Damme as a man-child trying to understand the world like Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element, and the action is good with a handful of stunts that look irresponsibly dangerous. My favorite is in the trailer, at the 0:55 mark: Last night I watched Wild City, a 2015 Ringo Lam crime film about two brothers caught up in trouble with the Triad (and some Taiwanese thugs the Triad is contracting with) over a woman on the run and a briefcase of stolen money. It's pretty good, with some good action, but it lacks the fire and intensity I associate with Lam. And there is a certain cartoonish sheen to Asian b-movie CGI effects that I've never gotten used to, and the climax of Wild City features a lot of very ugly looking CGI during the car chase. I also have watched a couple of Miyazaki movies due to a recent retrospective at my local arthouse theater (Princess Mononoke, which I really liked and Ponyo, which I really didn't) and Branded to Kill, which is a Seijun Suzuki yakuza movie that was way too wild and abstracted for me to parse out. I'll be returning to that, and his other films, later when I can get a better fix on his career. But if anyone has recommendations of other Asian cinema to check out, I'd really like to hear it. I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, and don't have long-term plans. And if anyone else wants to try to make a commitment to watching Asian films, this thread would probably be more interesting than if it was just me. *Unless you count Raiders of the Lost Ark (which is very different but undoubtedly better) as an action movie.
  12. Filmmaking

    Most festivals want submissions via Vimeo links and if that link isn't password protected they will be way less interested. But they won't scour the internet to make sure you haven't posted the link accompanied by the password elsewhere.
  13. South Park

    I wrote a long thing but I can't really respond without getting personal and angry and that's really not worth it here, but I think your line of reasoning is very wrong-headed.
  14. South Park

    I believe the ideas that bigot's feelings are worth protecting or that people pushing against bigotry are the cause of it are capital B Bad Ideas.
  15. South Park

    How aggressive should one's opposition to bigotry be? This is a strange sentence to me.
  16. Filmmaking

    I'll check it out when I get home from work in about 4 hours. PM me.
  17. Filmmaking

    I don't think I'd know how to answer that. It depends on your intention. As a sort of travelogue of your area it worked fine, if there was some other goal I may have missed it.
  18. I had a random thought about movies

    What is it with late Orson Welles films and sound? Mr. Arkadin is an ADR nightmare. The answer of course is money/foreign film practices.
  19. That's just about the worst thing I've ever heard and now I like the phrase less.
  20. ..."Space Monkey Mafia" is the best. Discuss.
  21. Went into that interview hoping to be reassured they'd keep making games after In The Valley of Gods and got zero of that. Oh well.
  22. Follow-up: Which Unintended Phrases In Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire Spawned The Most AIM Screennames? I'll start: "Space Monkey Mafia".
  23. Filmmaking

    The temp titles we have in right now bug me in ways I can't explain because I know nothing about graphic design. I also can't afford to pay anyone who does know graphic design, but all our titles are on hard cuts rather than superimposed, so I figured I could do the titles by hand and scan them. This is not the final title by any means, but the chalk + black construction paper is a look I like a lot.
  24. I had a random thought about movies

    Haha, yeah it got more awkward in later films like Kill Bill and Death Proof. The most awkward is the Silver Surfer dialogue he added to Crimson Tide when he did punch-up on it.
  25. I had a random thought about movies

    Self-insert can be a term for the character that's supposed to represent the artist (like main character of most Woody Allen movies), didactic preaching when a character is just saying the thing the writer believes (like a lot of Spike Lee movies) but there's probably not a term for it because it's a presumption on the viewer's part, not a fact like a dissolve or voice-over or something. Also it's probably more common than we think, it's just that people like Spike Lee, Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino are also celebrities in addition to being screenwriters with unusually distinct voices so it's way more obvious when they do it. Though I'll say I never took Mr. Pink's views on tipping to be Tarantino's. The other characters who do tip make good points about why one should. It's about setting up Mr. Pink as a caustic asshole who isn't afraid to butt heads with the other characters. Could be wrong though, never heard about Tarantino's views on tipping either way. I think Pulp Fiction really holds up. The conversation (which is very long and only briefly about fast food) is about building tension for the upcoming hit (Tarantino's chief trick), setting up characters, setting up Vincent's drug use, building tension for the upcoming date with Mia, establishing minor tensions in Vincent and Jules' relationship to explode later and, most importantly, about establishing the tone, pace and atmosphere of the world. It's about introducing the characters via something innocuous like a story about a vacation before slowly layering in more menace and implications of upcoming violence. "Royale with Cheese" sort of just became the annoying over-quoted bit. Same thing with the Madonna conversation in Reservoir Dogs, except that one's more grating. It's maybe less interesting now that it's been imitated a billion times but I'd wager no imitator's really come close to the kind of world-building Tarantino's done, to say nothing of the performances he gets out of actors in that movie. With a script that over-written (and REALLY over-quoted) it's a miracle the film still feels so spontaneous. To me it does, anyway.