Random Factoid #567

27 05 2011

Back in Random Factoid #332, I wrote for the first time about using Netflix.  It’s funny to read in retrospect because over the last year, it has become such an integral part of my moviewatching habits.  Check this out:

“My dad recently got an iPad for his birthday, and he managed to get a free trial of Netflix through the iPad app.  He told me about the offer, so I started fidgeting around and discovered a whole heaping lot of movies available to stream straight to the iPad.  So I watched ‘Memento’ for the first time, and I loved it.  Not just the movie, but the fact that I was streaming it!

Then I started scrolling through the other movies available to stream – and it had me at ‘The Pianist.’  I haven’t had time to watch it, but I certainly hope the free trial doesn’t expire any time soon!  I’m dying to watch that and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” one of the two Best Picture nominees from the last decade I still haven’t seen.

And then, while still experimenting with the technology, I wound up ordering the discs of ‘Road to Perdition’ and ‘Hustle and Flow.’  Now, they are sitting on my desk.  What my dad wants to do with them is up to him – the trial expires in a few days.  Soon enough, they’ll start charging.”

Oh, the days when streaming was new and novel!  It’s still exciting now, and I still have over 60 movies on my queue – most of which I intend to watch … eventually.  Meanwhile, that other services Netflix offers, DVDs by mail … um, yeah.  I’ve used it some.

Ok, that’s a lie.  Today I finally made myself return “Traffic” and “Mulholland Dr.” because I didn’t have the motivation to watch them because they didn’t have to be returned to the library in 14 days or watched in the next 30 days on iTunes.  So guess how long those two movies sat on my desk in their crinkled paper sleeves?

Six months.  For a half a year, those two movies sat there unwatched.  So clearly, I should stop using the DVD by mail portion of the family’s Netflix subscription unless I really want to see what I’m getting.  We also made the decision to cut down on our monthly bill by moving from two to one DVDs out at a time.





Random Factoid #566

26 05 2011

With “The Hangover Part II” now in theaters, I thought it would be as good a time as ever to revisit some slightly old news from the series’ director, Todd Phillips.  In an interview with Elvis Mitchell of Movieline, he had this to say about the unrated edition of the original film:

“Warner Bros., they’ll make your movie; your movie does well, and they want to create an unrated version, which is entirely against DGA rules because it’s not your cut. And they can’t call it the ‘Director’s Cut’ — they’ll call it ‘Unrated’ or some ridiculous term. Really all it is, is about seven minutes of footage that you cut out of the movie for a reason.”

I certainly loved hearing someone in the biz back up my opinions as stated in Random Factoid #11:

“I hate watching unrated cuts of movies.  I always want to see the theatrical cut because after seeing ‘Bruno,’ I found out that anything can get an R-rating.  The director could include practically whatever he wanted, but there is a reason that he did not include it in the version that the masses go see.  So I figure that the rated version, while tamer, is probably what the director wanted you to see.”

And when I watched the unrated cut of “Date Night” last August, as reported in Random Factoid #386, I felt much of what Phillips described:

“I have a feeling that the word ‘3D’ is headed the way of the word ‘unrated.’  About a decade ago, ‘unrated’ was something fairly unique.  Now it has become a marketing gimmick to make a little extra profit off some unsuspecting consumers.  See the correlation?

Why did I decided to give this extended edition, basically a tamer way of saying unrated, a whirl?  The theatrical cut of ‘Date Night’ was so short that I wanted to see more.  And more I got.  Not sure if it was worth the 13 minutes of my sleep, but I still enjoyed some of the extra bits.”

His cameo in "The Hangover."

There’s a rhyme and reason for what directors do.  Pacing and timing is incredibly important, lessons I’ve learned from acting on stage, watching the play I wrote get directed, and from seeing plenty of movies where the two concepts are handled terribly wrong.  Especially in comedy, where timing is everything, the director has to establish the rhythm of the movie.

The material for unrated cuts belong in deleted scenes; if this were so, the viewer could still appreciate the humor without disrupting the structure of the film itself.  As much as a director may like something, it sometimes doesn’t work in the grand scheme of things.  I had to learn this lesson in the production of my play as several of my favorite dialogue snippets got axed.  But you do it because you care about how the work functions as a whole, not in one special moment, and Phillips seems to care about preserving the integrity of the whole.  Warner Bros. should respect the wishes of someone in the business who actually has such interests in mind.





Random Factoid #565

25 05 2011

I’m going to laugh when I click the “Random Factoids” category in my sidebar and see a 3 1/2 month gap between Random Factoid #564 and #565.  In that last factoid, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” had just come out in theaters.  Today, that movie has been on video for 2 weeks.  So that should give you an idea of just how long I’ve been away from factoiding.  (This time around, I’m going to try to find the joy in them rather than looking at them as a daily task that I often do willfully.)

So where to begin?  How about with the latest attraction at my “home” movie theater, RPX.  That, of course, stands for the Regal Premium EXperience.  For $4.50 more, you can get “crystal-clear ALL DIGITAL projection, high-impact GIANT SCREEN, powerful uncompressed SURROUND SOUND.”  (And if it applies, a “breathtaking IMMERSIVE 3D experience,” but it didn’t in my case.)  It was advertised as “the best picture you’ve ever heard,” so naturally I had to go see what all the fuss was about.

The RPX screen opened April 1 with “Source Code,” a movie I happened to be dying to see, so I went to check it out as soon as I got a chance.  What I once knew as “theater 11″ had been totally revamped with a cavalcade of blue lights inside and outside the theater, and the seats had been replaced with smooth leather ones.  Off to a good start, but then the movie started.

“Source Code” was fantastic, yet I wasn’t blown away by the presentation.  I certainly didn’t understand why I needed to pay $4.50 more to see the movie on a slightly larger screen with marginally better sound.  It felt no different than seeing a movie digitally projected in a normal theater, which comes with no premium.

So, until further notice, my advice is to save your money and avoid the RPX until it actually provides a premium experience.





Random Factoid #564

12 02 2011

I’m sorry, because I’m a Christian male, I’m being TARGETED to see “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never?!?!”  Surely that must be a joke.

But according to Entertainment Weekly, it’s not.  Check this out:

“Execs recognized that the film’s message of hope and Bieber’s strong Christian beliefs, about which both he and his mother Pattie Mallette have spoken extensively, were an opportunity to reach out to the faith community. The study guide is a collaboration between Bieber’s mother and Allied Faith & Family, an arm of Allied Integrated Marketing. It’s the first time Paramount has worked with Allied to supplement its general publicity, but not the first time the studio has had a faith-based element to a movie campaign. (The studio had faith-based outreach programs for the documentaries ‘Waiting for Superman’ and ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and the adaptation of ‘The Kite Runner.’) Indeed, marketing to Christian groups became quite popular post-‘The Passion of the Christ;’ like secular marketing campaigns, it’s about making sure people who may not think a film has something for them see that it does — like Bieber’s pre-performance ritual that includes a prayer introduced to him by his Jewish manager, or Bieber and his friends saying grace at a pizza parlor.”

While I’m certainly glad to see a faithful Christian unafraid to proclaim his beliefs to the mainstream, it just strikes me as odd that they think that just because I share certain ideals as Bieber, I’ll rush to see his movie.  I’m not a huge fan (although I unfortunately have to fess up that I did buy one of his songs before I realized he would take over the world) and have not made any plans to see the movie.  It’s not a faith-based movie, although faith is prominently featured, and I’ll go spend two hours reading Levitical laws before I spend $15 and two hours of my time watching Justin Bieber squawk like a mouse in three dimensions.

Maybe it’s just my hyper-awareness of being grouped into a demographic after reading “White Noise” in my English class…





Random Factoid #563

11 02 2011

Back in Random Factoid #302, I wrote about being recognized by name at the library, the source of many of the movies I watch.  This was a source of great pride as I don’t think a movie theater employee will ever recognize me by name.

However, I did get a significant step closer to that at a promotional screening of “Just Go With It” last night.  The security people, usually very faithfully rotating between a series of five or six men, knew who I was!  They didn’t call me Marshall, but when they were talking to people a few rows ahead of me about turning their cell phone off, one of the guys looked at me and said, “I know you.  I want to see you turn it off!”

Maybe we’ll get the name soon…





Random Factoid #562

10 02 2011

Today, my AMC MovieWatcher card breathed its last.  While buying a student ticket for “Rabbit Hole,” I whipped out my card to get two points towards a ticket.  However, the ticket lady told me that the program had ended.  So now there’s a hole in my wallet and a hole in my heart as I wait for the Stubs program to begin.

In its 2 1/2 years in my wallet, the AMC MovieWatcher card garnered nearly 190 points – that’s 95 tickets, for those of you who need a more relatable figure.  It has served me well, and I will miss it dearly.





Random Factoid #561

9 02 2011

Will someone do the MPAA a favor and save them from themselves?

First it was the whole “Blue Valentine” controversy. Then their whole dumb “male nudity” policy and their attack on smoking at the potential cost of artistic integrity.  But now … they want to disconnect Google?!

More from Cinematical:

“Every month the MPAA sends out wave after wave of copyright infringement notices to people accused of having illegally downloaded a movie. In practice, these are simple intimidation tactics notifying the accused that they were caught downloading a certain film and that, basically, unless they stop, the MPAA will make sure the criminal’s ISP disconnects them from the Internet. And if you’re Joe Schmo sailing the high seas of movie piracy, such warnings might make you reconsider whether or not a free copy of ‘The Expendables’ really is worth it.

The problem with this method is that the for-profit legal organizations that the MPAA hires to send out these automated warnings don’t do any research on the accused, they simply send out the notices en masse. (In the past this has resulted in old ladies who barely know how to use email being accused of multi-million-dollar copyright infringement.) So when some of Google’s IP addresses showed up in their piracy databases, the MPAA simply didn’t know any better and told one of the largest Internet companies in the world that they would disconnect them from the Internet if they didn’t give in to their demands.”

If you want to really punish Google, make them pay to produce some more anti-piracy advertisements that we all skip on DVD or tune out at the theater.  But disconnecting them from the Internet is the quickest way to incite riots and hatred.  There has to be a better way to solve this whole piracy problem.

Interestingly enough, movie studios love 3D for more than just cash: people can’t record them and then pirate them.  So if this problem persists, don’t expect 3D to just go away.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 266 other followers