A Perspective from Within

I’d thought I’d take the time to not review a movie.

“Why’s that,” you ask? As a critic myself, I love to review movies and tell others what I think of them. But my criticisms come mainly from my experience in the film industry itself, which makes my view different from most other’s even if only slightly. A viewer will watch a movie and think “Oh, this movie was good,” or “I just hated this movie.” I, on the other hand, see every film ever made as a result of a miracle. It staggers the mind how so many people can agree on a project, produce said project, then release that project to a number of people. (It’s even more staggering if it’s a bad movie with a poor premise.)

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The Guilty Pleasures Pile: Carnosaur

Science Fiction; U.S.; 1993; 83 minutes; written and directed by: Adam Simon; based on the novel by: Harry Adam Knight; produced by: Mike Elliot; Executive produced by: Roger Corman; New Horizon Home Video

Actual Quality

Guily Pleasure Quality

There are some movies that defy all thought and predictions. Films that go beyond the boundaries set for them by their contemporaries. Films that literally boldly go where no respectable person has gone before. (Mainly because respectable people know better.) These are films that are so bad they’re good. You laugh at they’re vain attempts to make you care, the silly ideas that are meant to scare you, and performances that no one, not even the actors and director, seemed to know what they were going for.These are the films that find themselves in our Guilty Pleasures Pile, and though many on this film blog have already thrown stuff into the pile, I’m going to make my first contribution in a while to the stash with a little mockbuster film Roger Corman executive produced en lure of Jurassic Park called Carnosaur. In fact, it’s fun to see how these two franchises kept butting into each other’s territory.

Corman was known in the olden days as the director who looked for one thing from his actors and one thing only: Stand on the tape mark, you turd. Actually, he was a wonderful guy to work with and lot of fun, but you had to hit your marks. He didn’t care what your line sounded like, he didn’t care how you did what you did… he just wanted you to stand on the tape mark and say your piece so he can say “cut”. Read more of this post


Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; 96 minutes; 2010; U.S.; Directed by: Tom McGrath; Procuded by: Lara Breay Denise, Nolan Cascino; DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images, Red Hour Productions

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed in Hollywood matter how hard marketing tries to make me enjoy them: Will Farrel movies and DreamWorks movies.

Well, that last one is a slight exaggeration. The first two Shrek films were enjoyable for me when they were funny. But the franchise was quickly exposed to be no more than a mindless and spiteful Disney mockery when their jokes failed to entertain those watching them, even if the viewers did tire of the Disney formula that DreamWorks was trying to demolish in their own jerky way. And as for Will Farrel, I’ve never enjoyed him in… anything. To me, he just comes off as a sick joke that’s trying too hard to be funny. Heck, I didn’t even like Elf, and that movie was trying to stay away from Farrel’s usual tacticks.

So why would I even watch a film that packaged these two annoyances together into one set for the Hollywood studio to throw at me? Well to be honest, I don’t quite know why myself. But I’m sure glad I watched the new DreamWorks film starring Will Farrel: Megamind.

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Jurassic Park

U.S.; Science Fiction/Adventure; 128 minutes; Directed by: Steven Spielberg; Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Gerald R. Molen, Steven Spielberg; Amblin Entertainment, Universal Studios

It always surprises me how much people will forgive in a film because they simply call a “popcorn flick”. It’s one thing for a film just to provide a premise for tons of action, loads of special effects, and doesn’t ask the audience to engage in any critical thinking throughout the film. Films like that are actually a lot of fun to watch and can provide good action or suspense from time to time. But it’s another thing to forgive sloppy filmmaking, clumsy story-telling, stale actors, unnatural dialogue, and gaping plot-holes just by labeling it among the “popcorn flick” sub-genre of film. Too long have people looked-over the ugly flaws in Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi/disaster exploits simply because his films didn’t ask them to do any critical thinking at any one point. Why can’t there be a group well-crafted films that are just made for the sake of entertainment without being so utterly stupid at the same time?

Well, films like that do exist. Ladies and Gentleman, I submit for your consideration Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Read more of this post


This will probably be one of the most negative reviews I’ll ever write for a film I actually enjoyed. Maybe that sounds like an absurd statement, but when you’re dealing with a film that’s been hyped as much as Inception has, anything less than a film genuinely deserving of masterpiece status (as its current 9.0/10 rating on IMDb would suggest) is bound to be disappointing. I can’t say I was exactly surprised that Inception didn’t blow me away given my reactions to Christopher Nolan’s other films (of which I feel Memento is still the best if only because it’s a perfect distillation of what he does best). In that sense, Inception hit better than par for the course. But, masterpiece? Greatest film ever (or should that be: “EVAH!!!!!111”)? I don’t think so. No, what Inception is, is an ingeniously original, thrillingly plotted, occasionally provocative action film with too many glaring flaws to be deserving of its reputation.
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How to Train Your Dragon

At this point in the 13th year of the Disney Conglomerate Animation Studio War, it would seem that Pixar is emerging as the clear victor over Dreamworks (DW). In recent years, Pixar has been so good that they’ve earned an Oscar nomination for best picture (Up!), and has created a group of hardcore fanboys and fangirls devoted to everything they create, including their non-theatrical shorts (which, thankfully, they finally released on DVD). But people have short memories and they may forget the early days when DW looked like the better company. In the first three years of the war, the only battle DW lost was ‘99/’00’s Toy Story 2 VS The Road to El Dorado. Ever since then, the only battles DW has been able to win were those in which Pixar didn’t even show up for (like in 2005 when DW released Madagascar to Pixar’s… errr, nothing). With the acclaimed release of Toy Story 3 in ’10, I figured it was just a matter of procedure that I’d have to wait to actually see the films before I could declare a winner. Well, How to Drain Your Dragon may have just put a kink in my divinations; suffice it to say that this is DW’s best film since the original Shrek.
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UW Cinematheque: Korean War Memories

One of the great joys of living in a city with a major university (and attending that university, in my case) is the wide variety of cultural activities that the university offers. In my case, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my favorite of these events is the regularly scheduled UW Cinematheque, a program that runs every weekend while class is in session screening 35mm prints of a wide variety of films from all over the world that would likely only be seen on DVD otherwise.

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