Days 11, 12 and 13

Published on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 01:19AM

I just finished my 13th film of 2014, so things are looking good on that front. However, writing a post about every film I see has proven to be a bit of a challenge. It is way more time consuming than I thought it would be. From here on out, I will attempt to post every day, but if time does not permit, I will post a recap post like this one.

Day 11: The Wolf of Wall Street (8/10)

The Wolf of Wall Street

At The New Yorker, Richard Brody writes:

Its furious cinematic inventions are no mere flourishes; they’re essential to Scorsese’s vision of Belfort’s story, and to the disturbing moral ideas that he extracts from it. “The Wolf of Wall Street” may be Scorsese’s most fully realized movie, with its elaboration of a world view that, without endorsing Belfort’s predatory manipulations and reckless adventures, acknowledges the essential vitality at their core.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself. This is brilliant filmmaking.

On a side note, there has been a lot of press (and criticism) about excessive swearing in the film. Apparently, the word “fuck” was used in one form or another more than five-hundred times. I thought it fit the film and it’s characters perfectly, so it didn’t bother me in the slightest. I also question whether the people making this criticism, or merely pointing it out, have ever seen a Scorsese picture.

Day 12: Her (9/10)

Her

Spike Jonze is not known for making conventional films, and Her is no exception. It tells the story of a writer named Theodore, who falls in love with an operating system named Samantha. The concept is a bit quirky, but the story is deep.

As Steven Rae of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes:

Jonze is playing with hefty concepts here: loneliness, longing, the nature of consciousness, the need for human connection - and, increasingly, the fear of it. Her is a wistful, wonderful meditation on where we are and where we might be going. And where this Theodore Twombly fellow might be going, too.

Jonze has crafted a beautiful love story here, and Joaquin Phoenix makes it work with his brilliant acting. I love this movie.

Day 13: Night of the Demons (7/10)

Night of the Demons

Night of the Demons is good old fashioned 80s cheese. If you like these kinds of movies, give it a try. Even if you don’t, it’s free to stream on IMDb, so why not give it a shot anyway?

Day 10: Cutting Moments

Published on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 01:48AM

Cutting Moments

Sarah, Patrick and their son Joey are living in suburbia, and from the outside, they look like they are living the American dream. From the inside, we quickly learn that this family is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff, including communication breakdown, child molestation, self mutilation and sadomasochism.

Calling this movie disturbing doesn’t even begin to describe how messed up it is. If you decide to watch it, power to you. Don’t blame me. I am officialy saying that I recommend this movie to nobody.

Rating: 6/10

Stream: You can Google it if you want to see it.

Info: Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia

Day 9: Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times)

Published on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 10:58PM

Six Men Getting Sick(Six Times)

Six Men Getting Sick (Six Times) is David Lynch’s first film. He made it on a budget of $200 while attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1966.

Six heads grow stomachs, catch fire, get sick and vomit. The film loops six times, hence the “Six Times” in the title.

Rating: 6/10

Stream: Hulu

Info: Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia

Day 8: We Are What We Are

Published on Thursday, January 09, 2014 at 11:33PM

We Are What We Are is Jim Mickle’s remake of Jorge Michel Grau’s Somos lo que hay. It tells the story of a seemingly harmless family with a horrifying secret. Once a year, they observe a tradition that has been passed down for generations. They kill and eat a person.

I enjoyed this movie, and Jim Mickle is quickly becoming one of my favorite modern horror directors. He also directed Stake Land, one of my favorite horror movies from 2010, and Mulberry St.

Rating: 8/10

Stream: Amazon Rental

Info: Internet Movie Database, The Movie Database

Day 7: The Signal

Published on Wednesday, January 08, 2014 at 09:27PM

“Anna, I need a couple of things that Ken borrowed, namely my hatchet… and some garbage bags.”

A mysterious signal is being transmitted by television, phone and radio. Those who are affected by the signal are murdering and torturing people left and right. It just seems like the right thing to do for some reason. The others are killing people because they need to protect themselves, but are they crazy too? Are the people they are protecting themselves from really after them, or are they dilusional?

I really liked this movie a lot. The story is broken up into three parts, with a different writer/director for each segment (David Bruckner, Dan Bush and Jacob Gentry). The segments have distinct styles and tone, yet somehow they come together to build a cohesive film. This is also among the best mumblegore movies I have seen.

Rating: 8/10

Stream: Amazon Prime

Info: Internet Movie Database, The Movie Database

365 Day Movie Challenge: Days 1 - 6

Published on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 at 01:07AM

I started my challenge a few days into the year, so this first post contains the first six movies I have seen in 2014. From this point forward, it will be one post per day. :)

Day 1: Lovelace (5/10)

Linda Lovelace’s story is a sad one, and it deserved way better than this. Decent writing and a few standout performances couldn’t save it from the over all…bleh. It really felt like I was watching a 1980s made for tv movie.

Day 2: Contracted (6/10)

It’s a little gross, and borderline ridiculous at times, but I still enjoyed it. Parents: if you are looking for a movie that will scare your kiddies into waiting for marriage before having sex, this is it. ;)

Day 3: Boogeymen 2: Masters of Horror (7/10)

This was a decent horror documentary that focuses the “masters of horror” from the 70s and 80s. It’s narrarated by Bruce Campbell, and includes interviews with Dario Argento, John Landis, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg and quite a few others. If you like horror from this era, definitely check it out.

Day 4: The Battery (7/10)

If I put together a list of my favorite horror movies from 2013, this would probably be in my top 10. Most Zombie movies are forgettable at best, so this movie was quite a surprise. I like zombie movies a lot, and this one ranks among the more memorable that I have seen. I really wish I had more time to go into detail, but it’s getting late. Basically, if you like zombie movies, you should see this. Heck, see it even if you don’t like zombie movies.

Day 5: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (6/10)

I’m not sure if they consider this Paranormal Activity 5, or a spin-off. It feels more like a spin-off to me. The story is a complete departure from the earlier films, and the choice to abandon the stationary camera angle was a good one. Overall, I liked it.

Day 6: Grotesque (5/10)

This movie was banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), so it peaked my interest. Simply put, most people should not see it. The gore and make-up effects are quite good, so if you are a gore hound, you may like it for that. That is pretty much where the redeeming qualities end. The entire movie basically consists of gore and torture and…that’s pretty much it.

365 Day Movie Challenge

Published on Monday, January 06, 2014 at 07:43AM

People who know me know that I love movies. I watch movies, read about movies, watch movies about movies, read about the people who make movies…I’m not joking. I love everything about them.

However, in recent years, I have found myself watching fewer and fewer of them. I am significantly busier than I used to be, but honestly, that is just an excuse. I am fairly certain that I could watch a lot more if I really wanted to.

Well, I do want to, so I am making it an official challenge for myself. A 365 day challenge. I am challenging myself to watch at least one movie every single day in 2014.

Here are the ground rules:

  • I need to watch at least one movie every day. It can be something as short as The Alphabet, or something as long as Cleopatra. As long as it’s a movie.
  • I need to write something about it. It can be something as simple as a quote, or as complex as a review. I just need to write something.

Well, I guess that’s pretty much it. Wish me luck.

Sad Day For Geeks

Published on Monday, November 19, 2012 at 04:39PM

This is a sad day for geeks.

Build & Analyze and Hypercritical, two of the best tech podcasts around, are ending in December.

This really sucks. :(

Instant Watch Database Redux

Published on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 at 12:18AM

People who know me are well aware of the fact that I have been working tirelessly on a brand new version of Instant Watch Database. I am still a few weeks away from a release, but I wanted to give everybody a glimpse of what is on the horizon.

Let me start by saying that I’m not taking the site in a drastically different direction. Simplicity is one of the things that sets Instant Watch Database apart from the rest of the Netflix sites out there, and I didn’t want to change that. At the same time, I wanted to take the site to the next level. Striking a balance between these two goals has been a challenge, but I think the end result will be one that makes most people happy.

New Look and Feel

First and foremost, the look and feel of Instant Watch Database will be changing quite a bit. The layout will remain the same (for the most part), but I decided to part ways with the red and black “Netflixy” look. I won’t go into the exact reasons for this decision, but it was done to prepare for some exciting new features I am still working on.

New Look and Feel

New Look and Feel

Better Mobile Compatibility

If you use Instant Watch Database on a mobile device, you may have noticed some quirks that make the experience less than perfect. I have spent a considerable amount of time addressing these issues.

Back-end Changes

I have definite plans for the future of Instant Watch Database, and those plans required me to make some drastic architecture changes. None of these changes will be obvious to you, but they will facilitate some of the exciting changes that will be coming soon! :)

Premium Memberships

Instant Watch Database has always been a free service, and it will continue to be. All of the basic site features will remain free, but features that currently require a login will soon require a $4.99 yearly subscription.

These are some of the features that will be limited to premium members:

  • No advertisements (Banner ads will be coming back, but not for premium members)
  • Sorting/Grouping queued titles
  • Excluding queued and watched titles from your search results
  • Queue management (e.g. removing items from your queue without being logged into Netflix)
  • Several brand new features (including some social goodness) that will be available when the new site launches

Oh, I almost forgot to mention something kind of important. If you already have an Instant Watch Database account (as of today), you will automatically become a premium member when the new site launches, and you will never be required to pay the yearly fee. Just my way of thanking everyone who has helped make Instant Watch Database a success. :)

PHP Frustration

Published on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 11:00PM

Making PHP act like a real programming language is frustrating. That is all.