Friday, September 23, 2011

Half The Force, Still The Same Price: A Fullscreen Movie Rant

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was in the cashier line at Best Buy with the newly released Star Wars Trilogy DVD in my hand, (I am talking about the real Star Wars trilogy here, not that fake piece of "dirty word" that Lucas tried to pawn off on us a while back) you know, the cool silver one that looks like this.
Well, as I was standing there, waiting, I noticed that the lady in front of me had a Star Wars trilogy in her hand that was gold instead of silver, and then I noticed that the silver ones were widescreen and the gold ones were fullscreen. Now, at this point I leaned forward and politely asked her if she didn't actually like seeing the whole movie, (Ok, I didn't really say that, I actually just shook my head and wondered if she knew what she was buying, but I said it in my head, so that is good enough) and that brings me to a nice little walk down memory lane.
You see, loving Star Wars as I do, my parents bought me this really cool collector set with all the movies on VHS, (VHS refers to video tapes, these were like ancient dvd technology, for those of you young people who might be reading and didn't understand the reference) and for the first time ever I was introduced to, WIDESCREEN movies*. Now at first I didn't get it, the picture seemed wrong, squished kinda, but it was explained to me that when you watch a fullscreen movie, you are actually missing some of the picture**, and that widescreen lets you see it all. Here are some pictures comparing the two so you can see what I mean, first with Star Wars

Sorry its a little blurry, the internets not perfect you know, but you get the point.
 And then with an even better example from Lord Of The Rings 
So you got to see the whole picture, that was cool, but what about those annoying bars you might say, they are just so......annoying! Well, thats kinda what It thought at first too, but then it was explained to me that you are supposed to watch the movie in the dark, and the bars won't bother you. And you know what, its true. So, this was all before dvd's came out, and when they finally did, most of the time they came in widescreen, but if not you usually had the option to either watch it in widescreen or fullscreen, and on the same disc no less, (although some of them used Double Sided Discs to accomplish this, and that is a whole other rant all together)

So here is my question?

Why the heck are they still putting movies in fullscreen!!!!!!?
I mean, what is the point? If they could fit both formats on dvd's before, why not now? Plus pretty much every dvd player I have ever seen has the ability to zoom in, which basically gives you an
option to make any widescreen movie into a fullscreen movie, (that is assuming you like missing the complete movie experience). So why do they still make full "frickin' annoying missing the scope that was intended" screen movies? So, if you know, feel free to let me in on the secret, cause it bugs the crap out of me, especially when you accidentally pick up a movie that you have been looking for and buy it, take it home and unwrap it to find that it is fullscreen, (this happened to me on more then one occasion, stupid rabbits, fullscreen is for....., well, schmucks). So, that is my rant, until next time, remember, stay safe, stay warm, and for the love of Pete, (hey, thats me) stay widescreen. Blog at you later.
*It helps to put a deep loud movie announcer voice in your head for that part, but if you want a less epic post, feel free to just read it in your own normal pedestrian voice.
**What they do is actually called Pan And Scan, which means that when they go to put the movie on dvd, someone actually has to sit there and watch it and decide what the most important part of each film section is, and then focus on that, leaving everything else in limbo like some half eaten taco that you ate and then put down, and your mom put it in the back of the fridge, and you find it years later. Now, what ever you do, no matter how much you like tacos, do not eat that one, sometimes, if you love something, you just have to let it go, this, is one of those times. Unless of course you are watching the widescreen version of the movie, which is like eating the complete taco and going back for seconds, and even thirds possibly***. So to recap, fullscreen is two year old moldy half eaten taco, Widescreen is taco paradise, and now you know.
***Man, now I really want a taco, and I am writing this at work at 1:35 in the morning, this sucks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pixar Smackdown: Round Three

Welcome back to the third round of: Pixar Smackdown!!!

Just to recap for those of you who have not been playing along at home, in round one Monsters Inc. defeated Toy Story, and now for the results from round two, where A Bug's Life went up against Ratatouille. And the winner is.....
Yep, A Bugs Life won by a whopping 4 votes to 2, (the voter turn out is starting to remind me of a local government run election) so yay for the insects I guess. So now, onto round three, which as far as I can see, is going to be one of the toughest, cause it has two of the biggest Pixar movies going toe to toe. So first up is the movie that caused pet stores all across the world to sell out of clown fish, of course I am talking about.
Finding Nemo has to be one of the most beautifully animated
movies of all time. Water has never looked better, plus all the fish and coral, they just did a stunning job.
Now take that and add all the incredible voice work and an endearing father son story, and lots of memorable humor, and what you get is a freakin masterpiece. But can that masterpiece beat another of Pixars masterpieces which has possibly the sweetest animated character ever.
Yep, I think Wall*e is one of the most endearing characters ever to be put on screen. There is just something innocent and likable about him, the way he loves so fully.
If you have ever read my Christ In Film post you will know that I basically think that the character of Wall*e is awesome on many levels, and the film is the same. The story is just great, it is very original, creative and heart warming, looks incredible and even has a great moral message about taking care of the environment and obesity.

So, there is the hard choice before you, and remember, it is the better movie I am looking for, not your favorite, and make sure to vote on the pole on the side, its the most thrilling thing you can do on the internet, plus it helps lowers your cholesterol*. So until next time, stay loosey goosey, and I will hit you on the flip side, or the middle, or somewhere other than in this post. Blog at you later.
*There is no actual proof that voting on my question of the week will lower your cholesterol, but its the internet, and anything could happen, so give it a shot and see what happens.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Biking, Baseball And Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 4 Movies Worth Checking Out

A while ago my friend "Bear"* asked for some movie suggestions, so this is the first of many posts that will let you all in on some movies that are not quite as well known as say, Harry Potter, or
Avatar, but are pretty awesome in their own right none the less. So to start I thought I would give you two sports movies and two movies with one of the best young actors in the business, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. So first up is the true story, (Actually, they are both based on true stories, sweet) of a crazy Scot who challenged the cycling world authorities, (who are jerks, big fat jerks, well, ok, due to the fact that I am trying to lose weight I won't say they are big fat jerks, cause they seemed to be thin enough, but they are still jerks none the less) and changed the sport forever. I am talking about,

Yeah, The Flying Scotsman is terrific, I remember seeing a trailer for it but then it disappeared out of theaters fast, as many of the really good movies do. Anyway, The Flying Scotsman is a very good movie about a man who is trying to overcome depression and
 disappointment to become the best cyclist in the world. The acting is quite good from the whole cast with Jonny Lee Miller, Billy Boyd, (minus the hairy feet**) and Brian Cox all putting in great performances, and it does a great job of letting you feel the movement of riding a bike incredibly fast, even one made with washing machine parts. So check out The Flying Scotsman, if you are looking for an inspiring movie or just really like weird shaped bikes. Next up is a movie about a small town that eats, sleeps and breaths baseball, (my buddy Joel would have loved growing up in this place) and they also play it a bunch too, well, at least they did before they had The Final Season.

The Final Season is a well put together small town small budget baseball movie that is predictable yet still good. It is fairly clean, family friendly and has a decent cast. Again as with the first movie, it is based on a true story, has a good message and oh, and it also has Rachael Leigh Cook, who looks really cute in a baseball hat. So if you likea da baseball, and you likea da movies, then you will probably like The Final Season.

Now, onto the awesomeness of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Now you may know JGL, (thats whats all his friends call him***, and since I have seen so many of his movies it's like we are practically brothers, so he is cool with me using it) from such movies as Angels In The Outfield, 500 Days Of Summer and the best movie of 2010, Inception, (where he was awesome) but JGL is an incredibly hard working actor, and has been in a lot films, and not all of them get the attention they deserve. So to start, do yourself a favor and keep a "LOOKOUT"**** for the movie Brick.
Brick is a fairly unique movie in that it is a teenage film noir that would have made Bogart***** proud, (for those of you who don't know what Film Noir is I stole the following description from Wiki
 for you, "Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.", for those of you who already knew that, pat yourself on the back, cause you are in the know) it has good solid acting, interesting dialog that although seems very unrealistic, works amazingly well for some reason and a well put together mystery. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as the lead, looking for answers about his ex-girlfriends murder among the elite of the high school culture, taking a lot of punishment along the way. This movie is not for everyone, some will find it too slow or too self involved, but for me, it works pretty much perfectly, and it might work for you too.

To finish up I leave you with another Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie that rocks and doesn't get enough love, The Lookout.
Just like The Flying Scotsman, this is a movie that I remember seeing trailers for and then it seemed to just never come out, so when I finally got a chance to see it I was bummed, cause it rocked, and hardly anybody saw it. Jeff Daniels and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are great together, bickering back and forth, and then you get a cool mystery and heist kinda all thrown in there. JGL gives a stellar performance as he tries to keep his mind straight while being stuck with an injury that fights him at every turn, (it is a little bit like Memento, which is another awesome movie in its own right), and it has a very satisfying ending.

So there you go, four movies that deserve to be seen that you might have missed. Feel free to let me know what you think if you end up watching them, or are ultra cool and have seen them already, that would of course mean you would have to comment, which seems most people don't want to do, (with a few exceptions, you guys that do read and comment, you know who you are, and thank you very much for taking the time to give me your thoughts, what ever they may be). So until next time, stay safe, stay in school, and stay away from the KFC Double Stacker, it is pure evil******. Blog at you later.

*I named him that, cause I tend to give people nick names when it suits them, like my friend Stretch, who got named cause she is tall and thin, but also has the last name Armstrong, and there was an awesome toy from my youth called Stretch Armstrong, so it just fits her perfectly, boy am I awesome.
**He played a Hobbit incase you didn't get the follicle foot reference.
***I just made that up, I have no clue what his friends call him.
****Ha, JGL movie title joke, don't worry if you have no clue what I am talking about, I do, and that is all that matters.
*****Bogart is a reference to one of the coolest actors in movie history, Humphrey Bogart, who did a bunch of film noir movies, and it makes me very sad if you didn't know that.
******That is unless KFC wants to sponsor me, in which case it is the best thing ever! Yeah, I can be bought, at least in matters concerning fast food chicken.