Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blue Bloods

Easily one of my favorite shows on television right now is Blue Bloods. Blue Bloods follows the lives of the Reagans, NYPD's Family of Law Enforcement.
The main characters in the family are Frank, the Police Commissioner and son of former PC Henry Reagan, who must balance his duties of running the largest police force in the world and being his kids' boss. His daughter Erin who is an Assistant District Attorney, son Danny who is a senior detective and fellow Marine Veteran, and son Jamie who is a new Harvard Law grad turned cop.

The aspect that I love the most about this show is their central focus on the importance of family. Most cop shows on television are focused around the crime and "catching the bad guy", but Blue Bloods, no matter what the situation in each episode, always comes back to the family at the dinner table, proving their constant support and love for each other.


This is something that we're starting to see less and less on television, and I think the central family aspect is something to be admired and appreciated. This is 100% a show I would recommend to anyone!

MTV's late night show 'Broke A$$ Game Show'


When browsing through shows to watch on TV, I came across this show called Broke A$$ Game Show and was curious as to what this show was about.  This show doesn't fit the usual mold for an MTV show or gameshow!  This show takes place in the streets of New York City, following two guys I had never heard of named David Magidoff and Derek Gaines, who are  very entraining.
These guys go around looking to give people money, sometimes as little as $10, but not usually more than $200.  The contestants have to "earn" the money, but it can be as simple as knowing what the name of the game is called.
Sometimes the contestents don't always understand how easy it is to "win", it's funny seeing the contestants facial expressions since they look confused.
One of my favorite things they made people do for money was clipping a tail on strangers without them knowing:
Here is the clip to get a feel for this show

This show is okay but I wouldn't watch it unless I was flipping through the channels and nothing else was really on.  I would rate this show a 5/10: anyone who wants a quick paced show that they can watch for some entertainment would like this show.  

I wouldn't recommend this show to a friend... 

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann


Gurren Lagann is the kind of animated television series that lets you relive all the fun you had watching saturday morning cartoons as a kid every time you see it. The story gets so insane that near the end, giant fighting robots are throwing planets at each other! The characters are well developed and definitely give a good performance in the midst of an intense action sequence. Gurren Lagann is considered a classic in the animation world and it only gets better every time you watch it.
The story centers around two boys from Jeeha Village, a city that resides underneath the surface of the Earth. Kamina and Simon desperately want to reach the surface to see what lies outside the city walls. In a moment of terror, a giant beast falls through from below into their city and they are forced to fight for their lives. They battle with a small robot they found while digging and they pilot to defeat the beast, eventually leading to their escape to the surface. From here on out, Kamina and Simon fight along with other humans to take back control of the surface from the oppressive Spiral King with the help of their mechanical friends. The plot escalates far beyond this however, and they eventually travel into deep space, constantly gaining more and more powers. Each episode gets more and more ridiculous as the series goes on and it's a ton of fun.
The series gets a lot of praise for emulating the feeling of a over the top Saturday morning cartoon. Not only did it produce awesome battle scenes and finishing moves, but it did a lot to redefine what giant fighting robot shows could potentially do. There are twists and turns all throughout the series and there are somethings you could have never expected to happen. The whole tone of the show could do a one-eighty in an instant and it really keeps the audience engaged in what is happening. The first time I watched the series, I watched the last twelve episodes in a row because I was so invested.
Overall, Gurren Lagann is one of my favorite animated shows because it balances over the top action with a serious plot very well and at the same time, it's so much fun to watch.

Danger 5

     I said in my last post that I found the weirdest show on television. I lied. I found it this week, it's called Danger 5


     Danger 5 is an Australian show which is a play on 60's spy dramas mixed with WWII drama. Production wise the show looks terrible, on purpose. The girls are scantily clad, the set is poorly put together, the colors are oversaturated, and the audio goes in and out of sync. The boss of the titular Danger 5 is a man with an eagle head.


      The show is weird but it works. The dialogue is very tongue and cheek and matched with the production it looks and sounds hilarious. The plot is as over the top as the characters. Each episode the the Danger 5, each member a total caricature, has to infiltrate or defeat some strange Nazi development and, as always, kill Hitler.


     
     Hitler is a ladies man cool guy and the Danger 5 have to stop them. The second episode features Nazi dinosaur monsters. The show, created by Dario Russo and David Ashby, is ludicrous and so so funny. It's not for everyone but it's certainly found it's niche and is very popular on Netflix.


     There's a fake robot dog. That smokes cigarettes and woows men.



   The actors, even in Australia, are unknown but they don't need to give a beautiful performance in this unbelievable world where Hitler can't be hit by bullets and always escapes. 

    Danger 5 is fun and easy to watch and very entertaining. So it's not Annie Hall. It's still really really funny.




If I Stay



Movie adaptations of well-known books are always hard to get by without enormous criticism. The movie, If I Stay, based on a novel by Gayle Forman, seemed to ever-so-slightly slip under that radar. The story is about a nerdy, cello-playing senior in high school who's in a coma induced by a car crash, but can see everything that's happening around her. She finds out helplessly that the rest of her family had died in the crash, and that she might not be long for this world either. However, though she doesn't really realize it until the end of the movie, she has the choice whether she stays or goes. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the main character, Mia and does a pretty phenomenal job at it. She is very believably passionate about all the things this movie stands for. This movie is a battle between family drama and a teen romance, and I feel like it depends on the person watching it, what they get out of it, And, that's why it's so great.
To a lot of people, the story focuses on an epic teen romance which is ultimately the reason why Mia stays. Since the tale is a series of flashbacks, many of them including Mia's high school romance with Adam, portrayed by Jamie Blackley, I understand everyone interpreting it that way. Their romance shows many ups and downs and shows real problems, like separation after high school and how following your dreams is more important than following a boyfriend or a girlfriend. They fight, they break up, he leaves, only to return to find her in a coma. He's the final person to talk to her while she's in the coma, which definitely makes it feel like that is the selling point of the story. It's kind of frustrating to me that people see it this way, but there's not much you can do. I'm also not sure I think the phrase "live for love" is the best way to advertise this movie. 
I mean, yes, definitely live for love, it's a good thing to live for. But, I don't think that the majority of people factor in that there's more than just romantic love to live for. And, this movie portrayed much of the other types of love too. There was family love, which was shown in her reactions to what happened to her family, but was also shown with her parents'
friends and her grandparents. Her grandfather held her hand and told her she could let go, if she was so inclined.  There was friendly love, her best friend came in and told her how no matter what happened, she'd remember her fondly. I don't doubt for a second that these things impacted her final decision to stay. Knowing that there were still people around who wanted her to stay was very important. And, 
finally, she lived for her dream. Adam had brought her the letter, her acceptance to Julliard. She was a classic cellist and she had auditioned long before the crash. It was exactly everything she ever wanted and hoped for. So, yeah, she lived for love because sometimes the best choice isn't the easiest. She will have to live without her parents and little brother, but she will always have something or someone to live for. I think that this is the overall message that the book and movie aims for.
I'd recommend reading any book by Gayle Forman, by the way, she's phenomenal.

13 Going on 30

13 Going on 30 (known as Suddenly 30 in Australia and some countries) is a 2004 American romantic comedy fantasy film (hybrid film)  written by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, and directed by Gary Winick. Starring Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis and Kathy Baker, the film was produced by Revolution Studios for Columbia Pictures and it was released on April 23, 2004. It follows a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being popular. During her birthday party, she engages in the party game Seven Minutes in Heaven. The game turns out to be a humiliating experience for her, and she refuses to come out of the closet. She even blames it on her best friend Matt (Matty) and doesn't talk to him anymore afterwards.  When she eventually does emerge, she finds herself five days shy of her 30th birthday, uncertain to how she got there.



The film received generally positive reviews from critics, with most praising Garner's performance and its nostalgic environment. It was also praised for its humorous plot and self-empowerment message. The movie was also a commercial success, earning $22 million in its first week, and grossing over $96 million, becoming one of the year's biggest DVD rentals and sellers. The movie's soundtrack features songs spanning the 80's to the 2000s, with a range of hits from famous recording artists such as Billy Joel, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar and Whitney Houston. Additionally, the soundtrack charted inside the top-fifty on the Billboard 200 chart. Jennifer Garner's acting earned her nominations from both MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards, and the movie was also re-released in DVD in 2006 with a special packaging titled "Fun and Flirty Edition", and on Blu-Ray in 2009.


A girl who's sick of the social strictures of junior high is transformed into a grownup overnight because of a wish she made to be thirty, flirty, and thriving. In this feel-good fairy tale, teenager Jenna (Christa B. Allen) wants a boyfriend, and when she's unable to find one, she fantasizes about being a well-adjusted adult. She has always wanted to be popular, accepted, to be and look like the other girls, and all in all just grow up already! Suddenly, her secret desire becomes a reality, and she is transformed into a 30-year-old (Jennifer Garner). But adulthood, with its own set of male-female challenges, isn't as easy as it looks.  She works as a magazine head at the company, Poise, who has been getting sabotaged by the magazine, Sparkle, for a long time.  She finds that she is in love with Matty, makes a new face for the magazine, and has a wonderful time.  It all crashes when Lucy stabs her in the back and sells her prints to the rival magazine, Sparkle. In the end, she is transformed back to her 13 year old self, and happily marries Matty when they get older.

This is such a feel good, fun movie to watch!  It could be considered a chick-flick, but I think that it's a nice movie to watch if you want a laugh.  It teaches you to enjoy life and don't try to rush it!

Game of Thrones TV Series Set To Spoil Books

The showrunners for Game of Thrones made an announcement this weekend, and readers of the books are outraged. 

Fans of author George R.R. Martin’s series “A Song of Ice and Fire” are some of the most dedicated fans to any current literature, and an announcement from Game of Thrones show runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff this weekend confirmed that the show will catch up to the books in season 5, pass the books in seasons 6 and 7, and spoil the ending in season 7. George R.R. Martin has been working on “A Song of Ice And Fire” since 1991, with the first book in the series being published in 1996. To date, the first 5 books in the series have been released, and the sixth book is soon to come. Fans of the books hoped that Martin would be able to release the sixth book before the television series caught up and began spoiling elements of the plot, but that is looking less and less likely as Martin’s writing continues to move at a glacial pace. Season 5 of Game of Thrones begins to air on HBO starting on April 12, and will cover the ending of books 4 and 5. Unless Martin can seriously expedite the rest of the sixth book, the show will begin its sixth season next year and begin spoiling the plot.
There has already been some deviation between the books and the television series. There have been characters added and removed, deaths changed, and plot elements added and skipped. This deviation from the book series is likely to increase drastically in season 6, as Martin has shared with the show’s creators relatively few details about what is to come. In a quote from showrunner David Benioff this weekend, fans now know that “[the television series will] meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but [the show is] heading towards the same destination”. Even if Martin does manage to finish the sixth book in the series before the sixth season of the show airs, there really is no hope left for the ending of the story. Martin is taking, on average, about 4 years per book, and the makers of the show are not going to wait that long to produce their final season. Therefore the show and books will have (basically) the same ending, but the show will spoil it for the dedicated readers of the books.


It Follows

                                          "It doesn't think. It doesn't feel. It doesn't give up."



The new horror film It Follows has recently been receiving a lot of attention from both critics and viewers since release. Argued to be one of the scariest films released in years, this movie tells the story of a teenage girl that is chased by an unexplicable force after she has an abnormal sexual encounter after a date. Directed and written by David Robert Mitchell, this film has been said to be extremely original in both its story as well as its lingering psychological effects on the audience.


Maika Monroe plays the main character Jay, our main character that contracts the supernatural being after her sexual encounter with a boy named Hugh, played by Jake Weary. The premise of this film is that there will forever be a monster slowly moving closer and closer to Jay, solely because she had sex with Hugh. The monster can take any form that will help it to get close to her: a friend, a family member, or the form of a fear of hers. It can only walk, but it always knows her exact location. During the course of the film we follow Jay as she and her friends attempt to escape the monster as well as figure out the origin of the disease.


Although I am usually someone who greatly dislikes watching horror films, I actually loved It Follows. I find horror films that rely mainly upon jump scares, quick cuts, and sporadic camera movement to be scary are usually cliché and predictable. While Mitchell did use some of these tactics, the terror in this film comes from the acting, the well developed plot, and the terrifying premise. This film has clear symbolism of how sexually transmitted diseases act as a burden, forever following and shaping your actions. The horror of this film comes from this sense of always being followed, or having to look over your shoulder and watch every step you take. Instilling a feeling of paranoia in the viewer gives It Follows a different horror factor than most other films. I highly recommend that everyone take time to see it in theaters to achieve its full affect. 8/10

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Frequency

Frequency is a film about a police officer named John Sullivan who is down on his luck. His father, Frank, is dead, and he no longer has any zest for life. One night, after his girlfriend leaves him, he finds his father’s old police radio and turns it on. He begins messing with the signals, and somehow makes contact with his father exactly 30 years in the past, on the day before he died. Before the connection cuts out, John is able to shout out the circumstances that led to Frank's death. Frank is skeptical about the situation, and believes that he is being messed with, however, when the circumstances brought up in their conversation prove true, Frank believes and trusts John's words, escaping the fire to safety. Since John was able to warn Frank away from danger, his father's death never occurs. However, it is not without consequences. Since John and Frank were able to alter the past, life in which they know it suddenly changes. John's altered future is one in which his mother, in turn, has been murdered by a serial killer. Now John in the present and Frank in the past must communicate via radio to try to solve the mystery of the killer's identity and change the outcome again.













Frequency is one of my favorite films of all time. It is a great piece, built around a realistic and caring father/son relationship and ordinary characters who are trying to accomplish extraordinary things in order to change the past. The movie has a lot of heart and you really learn to care about the characters and worry about what will become of them. I also very much admire the uniqueness of the plot. It is both interesting to contemplate the complexity behind it, as well as to watch. It is a little slow to take off, but once it gets going, there starts to be action at every turn. It is definitely one of those movies that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME ZAYN?!

ZAYN. JAVED. MALIK. 
Why would he do this to us? "Does He Know" how much he has hurt the hearts of people everywhere? If you haven't heard, Zayn Malik 1/5 of One Direction, has officially announced that he is leaving the band.

One Direction became a household name back in 2010 when the five boys, Zayn, Harry, Louis, Niall and Liam auditioned for the British version of the X Factor separately. Manager extraordinaire, Simon Cowell "Happily" made the executive decision to not cut them and form them into a boy band. Their success only went up from here. They "Stole My Heart" and have created three award winning albums together and went on three world tours. They just announced that they were creating their fourth studio album, now one that Zayn will not be apart of. Also, their fourth world tour has already started, which means that the four other members will have to continue their tour without him. One Direction will never be the same without Zayn's precious high notes, incredibly good looks, and basically "Everything About You." 

I have a hunch that he is leaving for his girlfriend Yoko Ono...I mean Perrie Edwards. This news has people around the world shocked, because "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" from here? At least finish your tour please. Or lend Louis your beautiful voice because we all know no one will miss his as much. In an interview he says, "I'd like to apologize to my fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right." Well, I'm sorry to say Zayn, you have let me down. Why does it "Gotta Be You?" You have and always will be my favorite directioner and I don't know how they're going to continue these "Moments" without you. They might as well start introducing themselves as Harry, Louis, Liam and Niall from now on, because they will never be One Direction again. Even though I am very bitter, I will stay "Strong" and thank Zayn for making my teen years memorable, and "I Wish" a very passive aggressive good luck to Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall. 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The 50's are calling, they want "Dear Future Husband" back.

On March 16th, singer Meghan Trainor released yet another romanticized 50's-era music video titled "Dear Future Husband". Trainor has a number of other well-known songs such as "All About That Bass" and "Lips are Movin". While many of her songs are very catchy to most listeners, I believe that the video representations of her songs are wildly ineffective and go against all progress that women have made in the past 60 years. It was not only her choice of lyrics, but the artistic choices in the video made that were a bit off.

I can see why some people might like the video; there are a lot of fast cuts and a billion costume changes, but I think all those elements were just a distraction from the fact that the song is really really terrible. There are a lot of pop-y colors that don't look good together at all, and overall the video is just one big clusterf*ck of old-school romantic gestures and Trainor bopping around from side to side. I just want to ask the director why they think Trainor going out with all these guys who do something the teensiest bit wrong calls for her to dump them? The storyline of the music video just doesn't make sense at all.

The lyrics are also very confusing. Just an example of some of the lines from the song are, "take me on a date, I deserve it babe, and don't forget the flowers every anniversary / Cause if you treat me right I'll be the perfect wife, buying groceries, buy-buying what you need". These lyrics are just bringing back themes women were forced to follow mid-century, because that was the "norm".
According to an October Rolling Stone interview that her newest album is all about how she wants to be treated with respect by her future partners. While this is a very relevant theme for women all over, her latest video regresses to 50's-era ideals of everything being about the man first.

Throughout the video, Trainor is shown doing various "housewife" activities, such as washing the floor, cooking, and waiting in the bedroom; all for her "future husband". A number of things are wrong with this picture. First off, this girl is only 21 years old and singing about her future husband. You're young, successful, and well-known! Go and write some songs about women deserving equal pay and not needing a husband, instead of this bullcrap about everything your future husband needs to do. You are a popular celebrity in the 21st century and you have the power to make a difference through your creations.

If you so desire, watch the music video yourself and see what I mean.

Southcliffe

Southcliffe is a Netflix mini series that came out in 2013 and stars Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson. This series is very strange in my opinion and after watching the pilot episode I am still not sure how I feel about the show. It leaves the viewer rather clueless to what is going on and ends rather abruptly. That being said it is common of TV shows to do this to keep the viewer coming back for more however this was a little different. the first episode ends with a very long shot on a field with only natural sound, and it was very confusing.

I personally liked the cinematography in the show. The shots were abstract and long but there was something beautiful about it. my issue with the show so for is just the lack of information given to the viewer. Also the lighting in Southcliffe seems to rely very heavily on the cool side. almost every shot was lit at around 5600k (that I noticed). While this is not necessarily how I would choose to light something, I found it very intriguing.

The show only has four episodes which are around 45minutes long and if you are looking for something twisted and strange I would recommend this, however if you are someone who likes conventional methods of filming I don't think this would be for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Green screen sweeping the nation

With the technology that we have in todays society there is a lot of cool things people can do to make their vision come to life. I never really noticed how many shows were shot in a green screen. Not only you can create a virtual set but It also can be an easier way to get the shot you desire. Green screen is also a budget saver because if you are shooting something that is "on the moon" you don't actually have to go there or try to mimic it by creating it. All you have to do is have an image or a video to put it behind the subject, and they are there! Badabing badaboom.

Technology is truly amazing and the capabilities that we have achieved in the film industry has created a whole different playing field with films then the past. We went from silent films to what we have now. 




Films and Tv shows need to be visually pleasing and sometimes getting permission to shoot in a specific area is impossible so the next best thing or even the better thing is doing it in green screen. After watching this video (http://www.rightthisminute.com/video/bet-you-never-knew-these-scenes-were-filmed-green-screen) It amazed me how many shows and films used a green screen for things you wouldn't even think of having, Just a single scene was shot in green screen from Ugly Betty and it just made me realize that everything is shot in green screen. It is just crazy how you would think that it is just on the street of NYC but in reality, they are not outside, not in NYC and in a green screen studio.