Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nope - The Pants are Still On

Ever notice how things change in life? As we grow older, our hair thins, the opposite sex stops noticing us, and we realize our parents knew a little more than we gave them credit for when we were teenagers.

Just like with life, movies on occasion, go through similar changes. Sometimes a film starts out serious, with the intent to scare the pants off people. Having the pants scared off someone might be a good thing if our date, GF/BF, or wifey/hubby is hot. But not all movies have what it takes to be scary just like there are people who might cause us to cringe if we witnessed their pants flying off.

Let’s take Dracula, (the Dirty Old Man) as an example of how movies can change. When the film started initial production, the intent was to create a scary film. A low budget, poor acting, and in an ironic twist of fate, an unusable audio track plagued the film. The ruined sound track may very well have saved the film from being recognized as one of the worst films ever. The producer, taking a step which I considered as a wise move, opted to re-dub the audio with a comedic tone. The new dialogue served to poke fun at the films lack of scary qualities.

He must have the same hair stylist as Don King.

Now all is not perfect in the world of a blood sucking dirty old man, dialogue timing being one of the more noticeable problems. One is left wondering at times where the associated body is for the voice we hear speaking the dialogue. And the puns! Oy! With that one word, I’ve said way to much and will say no more on the matter.

If you don’t mind wasting 80 minutes of your life to have an occasional laugh, then take a peek at the film.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Only the Lonely

Some things simply weren't meant to fly. Dodo birds, my fifth grade teacher, and this old contraption are prime examples of flightless wonders that even if they did manage to get airborne, would crash down to the ground like a ton of bricks.

On the other hand, crashes sometimes yield stories that shock us when we discover the unusual events involved. Film writers occasionally translate their vision of a tragic event into a filmed sequence for the viewer to become involved with. At times, it leads to unique films that draw the viewer in through the connection to reality. Although, in some cases, the basis in reality is altered so dramatically that the story takes on a life of its own.

One example of a movie based in reality, yet deviating substantially from the facts, is the movie, Sole Survivor. Initially aired in 1970, the movie takes inspiration from a real life incident of a World War II bomber crash which happened during 1943. A B-24 bomber, the "Lady Be Good" crashed while on a mission from Naples, Italy. The wreckage for the "Lady Be Good" wasn't discovered until 1959. An exploration team searching for oil, discovered the wreck resting in the Libyan desert where she originally crashed,

After an exhaustive search of the surrounding desert, eight of the nine crew member's bodies were retrieved. Among items recovered, a crew member's diary proved to be quite informative, providing details of the harrowing experience leading to the crew's demise. As in many cases, real life stories provide the inspirational seed of creation for movies. And the “Lady Be Good” crash served as the basis for the movie Sole Survivor.

The story line, a rather haunting one, is well done in my opinion, embodying considerable originality. The writers twisted the context of the crash in a novel way to give the viewer an eerie experience revolving around the death of the crew member's. The fact that it has some basis in reality is what makes it even more interesting. To add to the interest, throw in the actor William Shatner, who many of us grew up watching on TV, and you're sure to have an interesting presentation when it comes to the spoken dialogue.

The film, nearly impossible to find, has never been officially released on tape or DVD, making it a rarity. If you find this movie, what ever you do, don't let it get away if you like unusual films! Buy it, copy it, do anything within reason to get a copy. While it may not be a blockbuster, it has reasonable substance worthy of watching. What's more, you can claim you've seen a movie many people have never even heard of.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wanted: Definitely Not You!

Ever browse through the job listings and find a posting that makes you wonder whether the job is even available? When a company slaps together a sad excuse for a job posting with odd requirements, one wonders.

I’ve seen better examples, but the following posting reminded me of the occasional practice of listing jobs which have already been filled ‘unofficially. Note how the pesting wuzn’t evan spill chicked – so vary profezional:

We have a position for…

Required skill set:

-- 5-6 yrs total experience required
-- No more than 7yrs of experience
-- Candidate must be ablel to develope CODES on SQL 2005 and / OR 2008
-- CRM experience is a big plus

Start - 2 weeks
Duration - 4-8 months ( extension depending on clinet )

A well thought out posting like this next one is far more likely to stoke people up for a job versus the first example.

The ideal candidate will have:

* 5+ years experience with C / Objective-C / C++ / C#
* 2+ years experience with Macintosh software development tools
* Experience as part of a multi-person software development team

The really, really ideal candidate will have:

* Experience in biblical Greek and Hebrew
* Experience in the field of information retrieval
* Fluency in a second modern language
* A fantastic recipe for chicken curry

Experience in biblical Greek and Hebrew might not be a commonly found skill, but the fantastic chicken curry recipe is a nice touch to make the listing stand out! :))

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moonlight Screening

I love science fiction and fantasy. Not only films, but stories too. So much so that in my spare time, I write short stories in the fantasy genre. While professional publishing momentarily evades me, I currently display my work on sites like Booksie. It isn’t just an interest in writing stories though. In the grand scheme of things, I would like to hone my skills enough to create and shoot a short science fiction Super 8mm film of my own creation. It was my interest in science fiction films that led me to look into something new, the subject of today's post. No, something new is not right. More like something old to be more precise.

Having had a conversation in a previous post about the movies “Alien Trespass” and “The Host”, I found myself stoked up even more about science fiction and fantasy tales. Poking around on the Internet for a few minutes, I turned up something quite interesting. There is a thriving interest in 8mm and Super8 film shorts of old science fiction movies from select die-hard film buffs. Take a look at this box cover from the film "Destroy All Monsters":

The films have fairly short play time, usually in the 5 to 10 minute time frame. What’s more, the films are sometimes silent so don’t expect a blockbuster presentation in full surround sound. But the idea of pulling out a projector and show a film on the living room wall late at night for a moonlight screening is too cool! For me, it’s the grainy feel of the film that really grabs me. I just love the odd atmosphere it creates. I really want to track down a few of these 8mm shorties some day. Guess it’s time to add more projects to the list of things to do!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Make Mine a Stepford Wife... NOT!

Anyone else think this looks like a scene from The Stepford Wives - plastic dolls with no minds of their own?

Speaking of The Stepford Wives, it certainly was a unique horror movie for its time. The original film, released in 1975, carried an interesting message about what men might do if left to their own devices and given ample opportunity. Certainly a unique premise that proved to be influential, embedding itself in US culture in a lasting sort of way. On occasion, you can still hear people use the term "Stepford Wife" when talking about someone. As for the film's general feel, while the high-energy action or gore of a typical horror film are absent, it definitely shares aspects with the thriller genre. And thrillers can be quite interesting to watch as they slowly expose the plot for your enjoyment.

Apparently, upon initial release, disagreement ensued about the message the film intended to communicate where some believed it meant to degrade women. It's up to the individual to watch and judge for themselves, but I think it took a poke more at chauvinistic men who would rather have a plastic barbie-doll servant instead of a thinking counterpart.

Say no to a Stepford Wife if you move to Stepford, Connecticut - or anywhere else for that matter. I want my girlfriend to have a mind of her own - one that is creative, spunky, and full of a zest for life. Life is far more interesting with a girl who is willing to be true to herself, challenging other people's ways of thinking and viewpoints when she sees or hears something that she doesn't agree with. But say yes to watching the 1975 version of The Stepford Wives if you enjoy unique thrillers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

If you enjoy fantasy, horror, or humor, you might enjoy some of the short stories I upload to Booksie. One of my latest works, Circumstances Beyond Their Control focuses on the horror genre. As an aspiring writer, I welcome any comments about the story. Comments can be added by using the textbox control at the end of the story.