Monday, April 29, 2013

A Quick Review Of 6 New Documentaries Pt. 2

This is the second part of my review of 6 documentaries that I watched last week. So without delay, here goes:

Side By Side:

Synopsis: A Keanu Reeves narrated documentary about the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of Film VS. Digital cinema. The doc attempts to placate both sides when discussing the controversial topic with genius level filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan, George Lucas, Danny Boyle, etc.

Review: Although this documentary attempts to be even-keeled, it noticeably gives much more screentime to the new emerging digital-age. I'm ALMOST OK with this as it is somewhat understandable to cover digital a bit more due to it's recent emergence on the scene coupled with the fact that there are hundreds of amazing docs already in existance that are devoted to only film. However, it's a bit too much, and there is a definite lack of technical facts in the analyzation of film and how that compares in quality to the uber-megapixel cameras on the market today (NOT that there is a quantitative answer, but it doesn't actually explain that). Also, it would have been nice to see a bit more in the recent DSLR camera movement.

Suggestion: If you are interested in film, it is an amazing doc, just don't expect a textbook to be presented on screen. This is more about the size/portability/quality advantages/disadvantages according to peoples thoughts and opinions, not always on fact. However, if you are looking for such things, buy yourself a textbook as this is designed to be watched by the public, not in a classroom setting.

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure:

Synopsis: A strange tale of two roomates in San Francisco that lived next to two old men who verbally abused each other to the point of hilarity.... night after night after night. After asking them to tone it down and being threatened, they began to record the arguments for safety sake encase of a police intervention... however this soon turned into a hobby for them, and later, the tapes were circulated becaming a national phenomenon.

Review: Wow... just wow. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and this is proof of it. The two neighbors would fight in what must be one the most verbally abusive relationships that has ever existed, and the result is a dark-comedy goldmine. What's even more interesting than this is the copyright issues that come about as a result of the tapes surge of popularity. The two men who recorded these tapes started out issueing copies actively encouraging people to spread them and "remix" them into their own projects. This resulted in a variety of people making well recieved scripts, plays etc... then as greed set in, multiple parties attempted to copyright the original material in an effort to edge each other out of profits. But, it gets worse, the two bickering men recorded on tape never gave their authorization to be recorded in the first place!

Suggestion: WATCH THIS NOW!!! It is an amazing example of the corruption of money, a thought-provoking exploration of intensely intricate copyright issues, and the core-material of the two bickering men is purely fucking epic.

West Of Memphis:

Synopsis: How has no one I've talk to recently heard of The West Memphis 3? Fine, whatever, here you go: A group of kids playing in the woods get brutally murdered, and a flawed from the start police investigation pins it on 3 troubled youths despite a MOUNTAIN of evidence to the contrary. This documentary chronicles every step of the tale.

Review: I love this documentary, but unfortunately it is a great example of how people in the movie industry are retarded on the base level of shooting/ingesting footage. Some interviews suffer frame skipping, repetition, etc, but that aside (which lamens won't even notice), it is a great doc. This tackles the entire scenario of this terrible tragedy tactfully, although it is occasionally tear-jerking to watch. This is an amazing example of the problems stemming from profiling subjects, furthering political careers on the backs of wrongly accused innocents, and the power of the public if they DEMAND that a wrong be righted.... even if it takes nearly two decades. Heartbreaking, endearing, sad, and awe-inspiring.

Suggestion: This is the one doc that I didn't watch on my day off, so it took me 2 days to get through this since I was watching an early release of it during work breaks. I watched the majority of this alone in a dark room working nights, so it was a particularly brutal experience for me to watch. This sounds lame, but watch this with someone you care for as its fucking sad as shit. This deals with the death of children, false imprisonment, and has horribly intense visuals on occasion... trust me, watch this with others.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Quick Review Of 6 New Documentaries Pt. 1

Work gave me a three day weekend due to systems being shut down and updated, having time off being a foreign concept to me, I deemed this completely unacceptable and booked a shooting gig one day so as to only have a 2 day weekend.... whoooo... much better. So having updated my demo reel and website last week, I actually took the much needed time to sit my ass on the couch, and watch Netflix.

Now mind you, I couldn't handle NOT using my brain during this time, so I elected to watch six documentaries and write a two-part short review about my thoughts on them. Yeah, I know, I'm fucking lame... but whatever, seemed fun to me, quit judging.... fucker.

The Antics Roadshow:

Synopsis: A Banksy documentary about the who's who of famous public vandals, MOST of whom do so in the name of social-activism. The most notable of which are "The Yes Men" a team of two men who pose as representatives of notable corporations and make bold, self-incriminating statements publicly in an effort to expose the greed and corruption of said company.

Review: A good run of the mill doc on an extrodinary group of people. The profiles run from in depth to quick glances, but in general, they are all thought provoking and interesting character studies. Unfortunately they seem to be pulled from existing footage and a multitude of camera crews, so the footage runs the gamut from amazing to having TONS of technical issues such as stuttering image (as a result of ingesting footage at the wrong Frames Per Second.... sorry, QCing is what I do... I digress) and generational quality loss.

Suggestion: Watch it if you're into vandalism in the name of social-awareness (or just for shits and giggles), but it's a doc that easily broken up and watched over the course of a few days due to the nature of it's character studies. Give yourself a few days and break it up on this one, otherwise it becomes a bit monotonous and the stories muddle together.

Give Me The Banjo:

Synopsis: A Steve Martin narrated documentary that is a raw, unyielding look at the banjo's tumultuous history from its birth in Africa, to being used by whitey to glorify racial stereotypes through minstrel music, to it's present day use in bluegrass music.

Review: Evidently rock and roll isn't the only thing we've stolen from black folks, the banjo's origination in Africa played a big part of early music there. This documentary is amazing, true even when it hurts, and the filmmakers have a genuine love for the instrument that shines through the interviews. It is one of the best, most raw doc's I've seen in years. It is in-depth and never boring, well worthy of the incredible talents that are showcased in this film. Martin does an astonishing job at not just narrating, but actually engaging the camera, and his playing is nothing short of amazing.

Suggestion: See it immediately, watch it sober, a great early AM Sunday documentary for ANYONE who genuinely loves African, Americana, or just music in general.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

1 Year Later...

Damn, it's been a year since I updated this blog. I'd like to say that time flies, but alas, it's been one long fucking year. I'm going to keep this post clear of my personal life, and only speak of my professional life, perhaps a blog entry down the road would be justified, but now is not the right time. Hell... it's not even close to the right time.

Since I last wrote a post, I've done some amazing shit. I flew to Australia to shoot Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" tour which is now available on Netflix as "Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under". I spent the entire summer shooting and editing for Kevin's S.I.T. YouTube channel while still working full-time at Sony. I spent damn near every Saturday night shooting Hollywood Babble-On with Kevin and Ralph Garman, and I spent the Friday nights assistant editing the Hulu show "Spoilers". It was an insane year filled with many, many 100+ hour weeks and days with little sleep... and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

Also, In March I had the honor to work with one of my best friends on the planet, Nick Dellaposta. Nick and I started our first band "Adorn" when we were both 13 years old, and have been close ever since. Nick recently released the debut album by his new band "To No End" titled "Curio". We took the opportunity to fly him out to Hollywood,  grab together my friends and crew-members, and make one hell of a music video "Somthin' Wrong With You" that we released through Kevin Smith's previously mentioned S.I.T. YouTube channel! We even got Jason Mewes to make a short guest appearance!

What is more exciting than the past year that I've had? This coming year.This year will see the birth of my first short flick in years titled "Rodney Redbottom" which I co-wrote with my buddy Brandon Mosavian. This is the first in a series of three shorts that I am writing & directing with my co-conspirator and producer,Olivia Banks. These will be screened independently via film festivals, and later combined with five original, unscreened shorts and released as a full length, chapter driven movie featuring heavy character cross-pollination, all taking place in the same small town. I've got a few names attached to star... but for the moment, I'll leave that up to your imagination...

In addition to that, I'll be continuing to shoot Hollywood Babble-On, working full-time at Sony, and working on miscellaneous projects as they come up. The first of these will be at the end of this month when we shoot the "Jay and Silent Bob Super Groovy Cartoon Movie" Q&A live in Sacramento!!! I've also been moonlighting shooting some BTS/EPK material for a major Hollywood flick that I'm not sure I'm allowed to name drop.

So, in light of the lack of time I will soon have, I set aside a few hours this week, and took advantage of the calm before the shit-storm that will be the coming year. I completely updated my website with my recent work that I have mentioned, and even cut myself a new demo reel. I'm also making a pledge to myself that I will begin making at least one, preferably two new blog posts a week in order to keep my writing chops sharp.

So until next time, stay sick y'all