Wednesday, July 6, 2011


My dad drilled some holes into a camera tripod and turned it into a movie projector support and now we're watching movies at dinnertime.  Watched two already so here's some thoughts on them.

The Speed Of Thought (2011, Evan Oppenheimer) (4/10)
The idea behind it is that there are people who read minds and work for the government but die at an early age or something.  There's a lack of development throughout the movie until the end, which was well thought out and interesting enough.  The story itself is healthy: Complex enough to not suck and simple enough to understand without killing yourself.

What fails here is the execution.  The acting is god awful, they looked like they were acting to act.  Like when you're watching people act in real life, you can tell that they're acting.  They're fidgety, their actions are more pronounced, they move and do everything slower.  It actually looks like that in the movie itself; unnatural.  Static.  "Hi, I'm an actor.  Time to sweep my hand nervously over my hair."

The special effects are also sub-par at best.  Not "Godfrey Ho" awful but not far behind.  There's one part that takes place in a sort of subconscious world where a girl pushes a Stonehenge rock over.  The rock doesn't fall -- it rotates.  The green screen effects are also extremely obvious.  Giving some credit where it's due, however; a few of the more simple effects were subtle and natural-looking, like the ending cinematic, so props to them for that.

Battle Los Angeles (2011, Jonathan Liebesman) (5/10)
A senseless alien-vs.-humans gunslaughter boom kapow explosions.  Literally zero storyline, or at least very little.  It was just gunfire and screaming and explosions and blood and gore all over the place.  There were of course some major events in the movie but they certainly weren't any turning points.  The "climax" (spoiler alert, although it's frankly pretty obvious) is the marines destroy this really big thing with a really big missile, which is basically the high point of gunfire and carnage on a mountain made of gunfire and carnage.  With such little development, I actually managed to fall asleep admist the gunshots and reverb.  Senseless battle and the occasional generic scream of patriotism.

The reason I'm putting this ahead of The Speed Of Thought however: the screenplay shines.  It looks and feels real.  The budget for the movie was $70 million USD compared to the $2 million of The Speed Of Thought, and it shows.  Everything in bright, vivid detail.  And chaotic.  As. Hell.  What it lacks in substance it makes up for in beautiful explosions and design.

Honestly neither film impressed me but there it is.

Now, something better.  I've been reading a book recently on my dad's Kindle by this Ivy League graduate called "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by (take a flying guess) Richard Feynman.  It's an autobiography but not in the standard sense, more stream-of-consciousness style with random events in his life.  It's conversational and inspiring, and it's purposeless.  It doesn't try to teach or entertain.  It lays out the most interesting events in his life and you take whatever you want of it.  Very nice, if you're into that sort of thing.  You can find the ebook easily (and legally) but here's a link for the incurable lazy.

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