Archive for June, 2008

Atonement

Posted in Previews or Reviews with tags , , on June 25, 2008 by fourshots

I got this film a short while ago and found myself sitting down to watch it today.  My main reason for doing so was because I wanted to see James McAvoy in action before checking out Wanted this weekend.  It’s a movie that has been very well recieved by audiences and critics alike.  Based off of Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name, Atonement is quite the captivating film.  Two aspects of this film stood out to me, the first and most important is the performances the film gets out of it’s three lead actors.  Keira Knightly and McAvoy both turn in powerful performances, McAvoy most notably.  He performs with such passion that it becomes evident in every expression on his face, thats where most of his acting is in any case.  I said three lead actors because there’s another character who drives the story, the role is split between two actresses (well three if you count the last two minutes of the movie.)  The actress who plays the young girl totally nails it, when we see her five years later I wasn’t so sold on that actress who steps in the part.  That’s not to say the older actress does a bad job, it’s easy to think so in the company of such great performances.  So the second aspect of this film is its cinematography.  There are sequences that are amazingly done to capture the vibe of moments, that rush of emotion that surrounds regret, excitement or love.  It’s a tough thing to do with a camera which makes it all the more enjoyable when someone gets it right.

Speaking of camerawork, before I mentioned I was watching Atonement because I wanted to see McAvoy before checking him out in Wanted, which comes out this weekend.  You should all go see Wanted, for a number of reasons.

  1. After seeing Atonement I’m sold on McAvoy, anyone who can express so much without saying a word deserves the benefit of the doubt.  I have no doubt his performance in Wanted will rock, as long as it’s in the hands of capable people…which brings me to point two.
  2. Timur Bekmambetov, Russia’s greatest export since…well vodka or something I don’t know.  This guy can handle actors, he gets great performances and he can structure his films very well.  He also can produce stunning visual sequences that will make your jaw drop.
  3. Angelina Jolie, come on….those tattoos are friggen hot.

I’m banking alot of my credibility as a critic on this movie delievering.  In all fairness though, Wanted won’t be for everyone.  However if you’re the kind of person who approaches films with an open mind, I doubt you’d walk away from it disappointed.

I finally updated my about page and expect a change in this design soon.

**Also, I meant to mention that McAvoy is rumored to be playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.  It fits, he can do fantasy characters, the only role I knew him in was in the first Chronicles of Narnia, he played the Faun…which for some reason makes me lol all ovar.

A Homecoming

Posted in General with tags , on June 24, 2008 by fourshots

I just had the best day I’ve had in awhile.

This morning I did 200 pushups, no Rachel I’m not doing this because of your suggestion that I could only do 9.  Haha, I actually found this website a few days ago www.hundredpushups.com and so I decided to go for it.  I made a change to the program though, I’m giving myself two weeks to hit my mark of 100 consecutive pushups.  I can do nearly half that at the moment, I don’t think thats too much of a strech.  Great way to start a day by the way.

Then it started pouring rain and stopped and started and stopped and started and kept going and going.  It was really quite a bit of rain.  The buddy I mentioned earlier that was coming home finally showed up today.  We then proceeded to do everything from rock climbing to scaling a cliff for a view of the city skyline and a pretty sweet sunset (yes we took pics I’ll share them soon enough,) and then some midnight kayaking and fishing on a local lake.  It’s really great to have a friend back in town.  It’s also fitting that it’s this particular friend.  After all he is the same friend that I first met when I moved here at the age of four.  I’d go into more depth but my arms hurt quite a bit now.

Everyday I find myself rediscovering more reasons as to why I loved New Hampshire, and why I still do.

The Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Posted in General with tags , , on June 23, 2008 by fourshots

The night before leaving NY I went to a friend’s place and brought along my trusty external hard drive.  It’s a Western Digital My Book, 320 gigs with the phrase “Put your life on it” lovingly adorned on the box.  Well that’s exactly what I did, 140 movies, all three seasons of Weeds, 10,000 songs and the past six years in photos.  Because of my friend’s uber intelligent mac book, all of these items are now inaccessible.

The PC memory recovery shop wasn’t too much help but claim there is hope, I need to find a mac shop since the drive has been formatted for a mac now.  If I don’t get all that stuff back, that’ll be depressing.  Aside from thousands of dollars worth of media being on there, there’s alot of personal stuff, alot of memories.  Fuck you Western Digital and screw you Time Machine.

There’s so much hate stirring around in me these days, I’m really not the hating kind so I’m not quite comfortable with this.  The problem is I don’t know where to direct it, I’m not even sure where its from.  I’m sure anyone who knows me can venture obvious guesses but there has to be something deeper at work here, if you knew everything I did you’d agree.  I had a bad day today, bad morning actually.  Letting myself get too idle leads to no good, sitting around and thinking a bit too much.  The concept of there being a thin line between love and hate is one thats easy to look at and think or assume you understand, but until you find yourself walking along that line precariously peering over the alternate edges and feeling yourself pulled each way, well you won’t really get it until you do.

Project Climbing Wall: Location Allocation

Posted in Project Climbing Wall with tags , on June 22, 2008 by fourshots

Today I took my first official steps towards making this climbing wall happen, here’s the down low.  The parents aren’t completely on board with the idea, part of this is because they feel I should focus on finding a job right now.  This is understandable and I am finding one but if you’ve ever been on a real job search before, you know its one of the most depressing and discouraging things in the world.  Its no reason not to mix things up, to stifle your creativity and not get your frustration out in healthy ways.  So for the time being I’ve gone undercover with the assistance of my brother.  We’re just trying to help get the house in order by cleaning out the attic and basement which incidentally happen to be the two locations I’ve scouted for my wall.

Today we started on the attic.  The attic is by far the best location for the wall simply because nearly all the ground work already exists.  The roofing provides the perfect structure to put the wall up and runs at a 45 degreeish angle that’ll provide for challenging climbs.  There’s also plenty of room for quite an extensive project, if it ever gets to that.  There are a couple drawbacks to the attic though, number one is the heat, holy hell its hot up there so proper ventilation would be essential, either that or I can pretend I’m climbing things in the desert and sweat out 20 pounds each session.  The second is the fact that you’re on the topmost floor in the house, when you fall everyone knows it.  That means no late night climbing sessions yadda yadda, not too big of a deal.  The third problem is the one we started solving today, the whole cleaning up thing.  Holy crap we have so much stuff up there, I’ve taken some “before” pictures so that when we do finish you’ll gasp and say wow and stuff like that.

There are two sides to the attic, with the stairs coming up the middle.  To the left of the stairs is the larger side that resides over the kids bedrooms and what not.  To the right is the smaller side that hovers over the parent’s bedroom.  We’ll call the left side the climbing side, since that’s where we’d ideally like to put it and the latter will be the storage side, since that’s where we plan to fit….well everything.

Pictures are below, the first two are of the climbing side:

Climb Side #2

These next two are of the “Storage Side”

Today consisted of four hours of moving things around between three piles; keepers, trash and yard sale stuff.  If you can’t tell from the pictures, the attic is pretty much already full.  This made the process of actually moving things fairly difficult and to be perfectly honest after the four hours were up, depending on where you stood, well it kind of looked the same.  We aren’t nearly done yet but we did get a large bulk of it finished.  Tomorrow I’ll be heading back up there to make some more progress and when the results actually start showing I’ll post more pictures.

P.S. – I Love You (I finally finished that movie tonight after starting it like a month ago, it was easier to watch this time around)

P.P.S. – The damn picture upload gallery on this wordpress client is on crack cocaine.  It makes no sense to me, no sense whatsoever.  With that said, I’ll figure it out soon.

Reminding Yourself

Posted in General with tags , , on June 21, 2008 by fourshots

I decided to get out of the house tonight.  Just go and do whatever the hell I could, I was planning on heading over to the mall and hoping I’d run into some one I knew.  Then moments before leaving I got an IM from my ex that I dated back in high school.  I hesitated…then figured what the hell, it’s been awhile.  So I invited her along, she accepted and off we went.

I won’t lie, I was nervous.  Will this be awkward, will I regret this?  We haven’t seen each other in years, maybe four years, I’m not too sure to be honest.  We dated for two years in high school and into college.  It was a great relationship, and the first serious relationship I ever had.  We made so many great memories though naturally towards the end of things they got worse and ultimately led to a somewhat nasty break up.  We had seen each other afterward so I knew we could see each other and be cool, but still…I was nervous!

It was all too familiar driving the same route to her house that I’ve done hundreds of times.  Turning onto her street, pulling in her driveway.  There’s a new truck, her dad always leases and then trades in for the newest one every so often.  Then she walks out of the house, she looks older, slightly different here and there but for all means and purposes I see the same girl I’ve always seen.  That is just so interesting to me, you hear a lot that people never change, but maybe we don’t let ourselves see the change in people.  I notice this all too well, I’m looking and talking to this girl who has changed phsyically and in so many ways that you can’t see by just looking at a person but all I see is the same girl I dated six years ago.

This is my head for the first ten minutes that I’m with her “bad idea, bad idea, this is awkward, stupid Neil, bad idea, no smile it’ll all be fine…bad idea” haha, its true.  I mean, it wasn’t that bad but I won’t deny the truth, I was feeling a small pinch of regret.  The conversation felt slightly awkward at first, then came one side of her I always disliked.  Sometimes when she used to tell stories to people she didn’t know well she got this fake ditzyish quality to her words, and I don’t mean to criticize at all but it just feels so above the surface you know?  I could never stand it and when it began to come out I wanted to do something like jack the car door open and roll right out.  Haha, I’m being extreme there, its like when you catch a whiff of anything you dislike, you recoil at first then regain your composure.  It wasn’t that bad and to my surprise very short lived.

Because then something happened, she smiled naturally and laughed genuinely.  And all at once there she was, the same girl I knew and still know, back next to me talking the same way we always could.  It was back in some capacity, the chemistry we had, it felt comfortable and it was okay.  The conversation flowed effortlessly, it became nostalgic.  Memories rushed back and they still are, there are many…two years is a long time to spend with a person.  Its amazing how much we allow ourselves to forget, we remember the extremes but how unimportant they become in hindsight, in the larger picture of things.

The rest of the night was enjoyable, I saw her parents, they’re awesome people.  The three of them together are so much fun to watch, I’d try to put it in words but I wouldn’t be able to do them justice.  They’re just something you have to see for yourselves.  After saying goodbye, good to see you and all, she IMed me later in the night.  She said “cheer up, you seem sad,” I was caught off guard, I don’t really feel sad but it intrigued me. 

“You are usually a very confident person…and I just didn’t feel that from you, which made me think you are sad.”

I don’t know what to make of it, it reminds me of more, of what used to be, what I used to be like.  Maybe when she looks at me she still sees the same guy that I was.

5 Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But Should See As Soon As Humanly Possible

Posted in Previews or Reviews with tags , on June 19, 2008 by fourshots

I figured the best way to get this section off to a good start was to give a list of some of the movies that have flown under most audiences radars despite being great films that deserved much more attention.  Bear in mind this list is in no way comprehensive as there’s just no way I could remember every great movie I’ve seen and simply haven’t seen every movie.  As well as there being plenty of great films that have flown under my extra large radar, feel free to comment and point out great ones I’ve missed or disagree and call me an incomprehensible idiot for ever suggesting these.

Dirty Love DVD

5. Dirty Love

Starring – Jenny McCarthy, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Carmen Electra

I know, I know and I get it, but for one second forget every attempt at humor Miss McCarthy has ever made.  Forget Singled Out, forget The Jenny McCarthy Show and forget all those spreads in Playboy, well not those actually.  Dirty Love despite being panned across the board by most reviewers is one of the funnier films that I have seen.  I think the humor caters a lot towards a younger audience and you definitely have to approach this film with an open mind.  I actually started out watching it expecting to hate it but halfway through the film I was in tears…tears from laughter that is.  Its got such a unique swagger to its humor that you can tell it was written by a female (McCarthy wrote it for anyone who didn’t pick that up) and it really is genuinely silly fun.  All I can say is everyone who was present when I watched it thoroughly enjoyed it as well, you probably will too if you give it the chance.

Little Miss Sunshine

4. Little Miss Sunshine

Starring – Abigale Breslin, Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell

I’m very conflicted in putting this on my list simply because I’m not so sure its flown under anyone’s radar.  I mean we all know it did at first but then everyone and their mother was all SEE THIS FILM, and I think a lot those people actually did go out and see it, and loved it of course.  So for the few of you who haven’t seen this film, do so as soon as possible.

Thank You for Smoking

3. Thank You For Smoking

Starring – Aaron Eckhart, Eric Haberman and J.K. Simmons

What Jerry Maguire was for Tom Cruise, Thank You For Smoking is for Aaron Eckhart, only without ya’know the kind of instant celebrity that came to Tom afterward.  Though wait a minute, in all fairness Tom Cruise was already a very established star before Jerry Maguire and the appeal of Jerry Maguire was one that catered to a much larger audience.  Jerry Maguire was a feel good movie with a lot of heart, Thank You For Smoking is a satirical comedy with just as much heart.  Aaron Eckhart owns this movie from start to finish and really delivers a quality film that is both funny, insightful and touching.  It absolutely amazes me that more people have not seen this film.

Daywatch

2. Nightwatch/Daywatch

Starring – No one you know

These two movies if given the chance, time and focus they require for you to completely understand what is happening, will blow your mind.  The only reason these are not higher on this list is because I don’t have enough confidence in my readers to fully appreciate these for what they are.  Think sci-fi and fantasy brought completely modern in ways you have never imagined.  This series is frightening and inspired and amazingly original in its ideas.  Granted its all based off of books yes but I’ve never read those so its all new to me here on film.  Timur Bekmambetov, the director, is a master of visual arts.  If you can’t bring yourself around to watch these at least check out his American debut this summer with Wanted (which I pretty much guarantee will kick some serious ass).  Also for those of you who do actually enjoy these films, the third and final chapter, Duskwatch is coming up.  Don’t worry, I’ll be on top of it right here.

Brick

1. Brick

Starring – Jason Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner and Luke Haas

“Film noir meets high school” That’s the tag line for this film or “A Detective Story” and either one works.  This film for lack of better description is just so damn cool!! For an indie film to pull of a masterpiece like this is so rare and an amazing accomplishment for rookie director Rian Johnson.  Jason Gordon-Levitt shines and plays his part to perfection.  He’s funny, likable and keeps us on the edge about what exactly drives him through this story.  The pacing of the film is probably a bit fast for most people but if you can keep up with the dialogue you’ll love it.  Never before have high school kids been this smart or sharp.  And ultimately it keeps you guessing til the very end.  These guys knocked this film out of the park.

I started this list with the intention of giving you 10 movies, but that was looking a bit challenging so I cut it down to five which I think works better for all means and purposes.  There’s something for everyone in this list, (okay so theres no romantic comedy chick flick, but ladies trust me you’ll love the humor of Dirty Love, I’ll work on the chick flick part).  So the next time you’re at Blockbuster walk right by the run of the mill Hollywood flick and check out some of these, they’re all fairly recent so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them and I guarantee you’ll be glad you picked them up.

Breakin it Down

Posted in General on June 18, 2008 by fourshots

I’ve gone ahead and created the 5 major sections of this blog which are as follows:

  • General – The kinds of things you’ve seen thus far, stuff like this post that is…..general.
  • Design Updates – Mainly a section for me to rant and rave about the different things I’m doing to this blog and my other project in terms of web design.  I’ll try my best to keep it all general language so those of you interested in picking up a few things can do so.
  • Previews and Reviews – This is primarily aimed at movie reviews but don’t be surprised to see other random things popping up here.  I’ll try to avoid general run of the mill blockbusters and find those little gems that are often overlooked by general audiences.
  • Project Climbing Wall – I’ll be documenting both in writing and photos the progress and steps of this project.  When I come up with new projects expect similar categories to keep them all in order.  I’ll do my best to make these as thorough as possible so anyone looking to do a similar project can simply pull these up and follow them step by step.  Expect some updates in this section soon.
  • Fiction Can Be Fun – Yep you guessed it, I’m gonna write some stories.  This is my creative outlet.  I’m not sure exactly how I’ll be doing this one but I’d really like a long ongoing fiction.  Most likely it will be mixed between an ongoing story and random elements, one time posts, maybe even some poetry if the right prose hits me.  No promises here because this stuff can be fickle.

That covers all the plans I have for now, if I come up with any other ideas I’ll be sure to share them as I do and also if there is anything any of you would like to see feel free to suggest.

By the way, did anyone happen to catch that Celtics game last night?  Number 17, thats amazing, I think I’ve been to the Boston Garden once in my life and that was years ago, I barely remember it.  At halftime I recall saying to my brother “Man I hope we win by 40 points.”  It was the kind of thing that I knew could happen but didn’t really expect to, you had to assume Kobe was going to come out with some fire and go down fighting.  But they didn’t or if they did the Celtics did a damn good job of making it look effortless.  Paul Pierce won the series MVP and rightly so (I still vote for James Posey but no way in a million years was that going to happen).  Oh and Rajon Rondo…he ate his Wheaties that morning, I guarantee it.

That’s it for now, I’ve got to get back to productivity.  Check back in later tonight or tomorrow morning for more.