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Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

23 Feb

If the name Tony Jaa rings a bell, thats probably because you were introduced to the movie Ong Bak back sometime around 2003. Ong Bak was a  film which introduced alot of people to a few new things: Thai Films, Hilarious English Dubbing, Muay Thai, and the insane fighting skills of Tony Jaa.

While although Tony Jaa has yet to breakthrough into the realm of credit I think he deserves, we are lucky enough to see him in a whole trilogy of Ong Bak films. Having delayed watching Ong Bak 2 and 3, I finally watched the entire Ong Bak 2 film.

A couple things to remember when watching Ong Bak 2, is that it really is nothing like Ong Bak, thats right, not a tuk-tuk in sight in this film. In fact, the film takes place in the 15th century, in ancient Siam, making for a unique setting, in a world very few people even know about. The second thing is that, just as in the original, the storyline is so faint, it ultimately fails to pull you in. Which is sad, because with the right amount of plotwork, these films could easily have become epic historical action films comparable to the likes of Gladiator, Braveheart, Apocalypto, or Croutching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

However, do not let that prevent you from watching this film. For what the movie lacks in story, it makes up for with a whole lot of flying knee kicks to heads and sternums. And the movie posesses the best use of an elephant in a fight scene, hands down.  Combat scenes are elaborate and well choreographed, and the absence of music in some parts really brings out basis of this film; the fight. Listening to leg kicks and throat jabs is all you really need sometimes. More points for some simply stunning scenery, elaborate costumes, and decent musical score.

I give this film a solid thumbs up.

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Infected Area: Monsters

8 Feb

On the discussion board today is a film I saw last night. The film I saw was Monsters. It’s safe to say that I had no previous knowledge or expectations about this film before I saw it. I had pretty much only heard of the name, and was told it was a low-budget film from a friend.

One thing I love about low-budget films is that the film makers don’t  possess the funds necessary to create large action sequences or incredible CG. This forces the filmmakers to focus on the story, the characters, their relationships, and ultimately be creative to draw in their audiences.

Monsters is no exception, the film follows Andrew; a photo journalist as he is forced to put aside his assignment and help the daughter of his boss Samantha get back to the United States from Central America. The catch is that 6 years ago, a space probe returning to earth with samples thought to prove the existence of alien life crashed into Central America. And ever since then, the ‘monsters’ have been multiplying, pushing the limits of the Mexican and American governments capability to contain them.

In order to return to America, the couple has to travel through ‘the infected zone’, an area off-limits to humans and is meant to contain the monsters. As they do so, they develop an interesting relationship, as Andrews cynical yet realistic point of view combines with Samantha’s soft-spoken gentle nature. The characters are easily likable, and you can’t help but hope they succeed in their journey to the border.

Scifi monster movie buffs might be disappointed with the very little actual monster contact. The best relation I can think of is that of Cloverfield, in which you saw very little of the monsters themselves. But the similarities stop at that, as Monsters is far superior in quality to that of Cloverfield.

So for a movie that was created with 2 people, filmed entirely on locations, and utilized local people as characters in the movie, this was a spectacular film. Check it out.

Ashton Kutcher’s Pad

4 Feb

I don’t normally follow what celebrities are up to, but I do follow the housing market. And thats when I stumbled upon this house.

Before Ashton Kutcher met Demi, he was in need of a bachelor pad to call his own. Apparently he bought this house for 1 million dollars, and proceeded to renovate it with his father. The house was expanded to 3235 sq.ft, and features large windows, rare hardwood finishings, and pool out back. It is now for sale, and listed at www.zillow.com.

2010 Films in Review

30 Jan

2010 may not have hosted the best movies of any year on record (1977-Star Wars obviously…), but it most certainly had some worthy works. Despite the usual expected travesties such as Twilight and Sex and the City sequels, there were some remarkable films. One of the first to come to mind would be Inception, the film that played on the realities of a dream. A great action film leaving you with the same sort of feeling you had after watching the Matrix for the first time, waking up in the middle of the night screaming “WHAT IS REAL!?” Well maybe not that far, but another DiCaprio hit none the less.

Other worthy mentions would be the Social Network, with the surprisingly entertaining depiction of Mr Zuckerberg himself, the unexpected humor in Kick Ass, the ever likable Boston gangster film genre of The Town, and the witty remarks of Tony Stark in Iron Man 2. Furthermore, the less popular but incredibly well written film Remember Me starring Robert Pattinson showed this British actor is capable of portraying a decent character other than a sparkly vampire. Never Let Me Go, was a difficult and sad yet incredible movie to watch as well, same goes for Winters Bone which Jennifer Lawrence does a fantastic job in.

I maintain 2010 was a good year for movies. It’s hard to explain the value of movies to non-movie buffs, and I can never express enough the importance of watching each film for what it is. Let yourself into the story, experience what the filmmakers are trying to portray, because films are not merely entertainment, they are depictions of all the feelings and emotions we have in this world.

So I’ll leave you with one of the best movie montages of 2010 I’ve seen. Kudos to the creators of this, they did a good job. We’ll see how 2011 turns out.

Trailer Mashups

4 Nov

So you know about music mashups, when 2 or more songs are blended together to come up with something new. What made you think it ends there? There is an ever expanding selection of really well put together movie trailer mashups which I highly recommend taking a look at. Most can be broken into 2 categories, mashups being the audio from one trailer blended over the visuals of another movie. Then theres recut, which is entirely different audio played over a recut selection of clips from a movie. They are addictive and highly entertaining to watch, take a look at my favs below.

Electric and Compacts: They Are Here

1 Nov

So maybe you’ve noticed them on the streets already, or maybe your city has been plastered with billboards of them, there’s no denying, a new era of the automobile has arrived. Who ever believes that all North Americans drive hummers and other excessively large SUV’s is still living that 2002 generalisation. It was hardly true then, and its definitely not true now, its 2010! Let it go.

North American society is ready for the change, then again, it always was. Because after all, nobody wants to intentionally damage the environment, they just never had the opportunity for change. It is evident the worlds auto manufacturers have built it, and yes the people, they are coming.

It appears that things are fast changing, the streets are filled with the likes of Juke’s, Cubes, and Mini’s. And the CRZ’s, Leaf’s, Cruze’s, and Volt’s are on the way. It’s true, insanely small engine, hybrid, diesel, or full electric cars are fast replacing the fleets of models that ruled the streets before. And they’ve come with a variety of entertaining media campaigns!

The Art of Tilt-Shift

12 Oct

Tilt shift is a method of photography which can provide a new aspect to traditional photography that was previously imposibble. One of the most common effects that tilt-shift photography can accomplish, is the effect of miniatures. By altering the focus of an image you can present a very real subject with a miniature effect. This can be done either with the hardware itself, or through a method which is becoming more and more common today and that is done digitally in post production. I presented a video previously on the blog which had this effect, and it spurred me to elaborate more on the subject.

If you are unfamiliar with tilt-shift photography, the basic principle is that you can alter the plane of focus of the lens through phyiscally tilting or shifting a specially designed lens. Whichever method a photographer or artist chooses to create these effects, the results are truly amazing. And with that, I am including a couple of my favorite tilt-shift videos.