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focusfanfour2ce5The Movie Snitch is dead. It started off as Reel Time Movie Blog, which was an offshoot of The Movie Blog. It’s not a total surprise. Last post I did on the site was an op-ed on the Deadpool film just before it was officially announced that the character would get his solo film. It wasn’t a big prediction – the spinoff had been in development for years, and most fans of the character and/or the X-Men films could sense it was coming round the bend. Most of the time I concentrated on film reviews both new and retro (“Forgotten Fridays”) but even that was getting taxing on me. Not because I didn’t like writing about films old and new. but I never fully agreed with the Review template Rodney Brazeau supplied me. I felt it kind of tied my hands, as opposed to my room for wit over at the other sites I contributed to. The death knell came for that review template when I did a retro review for Side Out an 80s film which I liked and I never quite figured out why I did. (It was a guilty pleasure) But it got me thinking about the reviews I did there, as opposed to those I did on Choking On Popcorn (a site that’s still around – in fact, so is my “infamous” review of The Exorcism Of Emily Rose Why is it ‘infamous’? Read the comments section at the end of that- I double dare you!) or some my past reviews from the ol’ Projector Booth from the early 2000’s (I saved some of them) and course, my in-depth overthinking on Daredevil and Jaws 2 here. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed my time at The Snitch. But with all of the content gone, and all the content I wrote for The Movie Blog gone, Dark Universe. Rest In Peace…and the Projector Booth film review hub (1999-2004) it’s kind of like an empty feeling.

Rodney, however, is more than right when it came to the State Of The Snitch. Movie blogging is not the same as it was ten years ago. Sorting through movie news stories is easy enough, sorting through what is gossip and rumor is another matter. One too many sites, in hopes to grab hits, run with gossip and rumors as “fact” or “confirming” something which isn’t official. Not to mention that when I found legit stuff, by the time I read the articles, checked facts and wrote my own post, a good chunk of my day was gone. And I did it because I loved it. But as days go by…you do want to see the sunrise. You do have other things going on. Other hobbies. My screenwriting passion, for one was getting a new wind in the sails. As far as movie pundi’ting goe, it gotten to the point where I would focus on reviews, op-eds and one of my favorite kind of movie news stories- the kind that connects to the film buffs. They weren’t “movie news” per se. but they were fun stories to post about. Call them…”human interest” stories.

I recently dusted off The Kernel because mt guess on the fate of The Sniych was correct. It had gone the way of the dodo. IRONICALLY, just before the site took a hit with some hacker (?) and spambots lined up like Disneyland, Anthony Whyte who briely was with me and Rod in the early goings of the Snitch, but apple polished the Movie Blog owners to come back and is now the editor there….offered me to return. That was back in July of this year. A week later, Snitch closes shop. Interesting. Anyway, I didn’t say yes. I didn’t say no. But I was curious about a few things. I did a quick check. Sure enough, for the year’s worth of posts and reviews I did over there, they are gone by the way of The Void. There are only small hints that I was even there, but ever since John Campea and Doug Nagy left, the suite was never the same. When the owners booted Rodney and the writing staff (including me) they became the laughing stock of the readers. The site has never recovered. Movie blogging is a dying art. There are some survivors, but when you look at those sites like Screenrant or /film, they run a tight ship.

.Would I return to The Movie Blog? The answer is…probably not. They erased ALL of my posts and reviews there and I’ve already climbed that peak. I could ask for some payout, but if I did, I expect the check to bounce they are so in the red. Would I go back to Choking On Popcorn? Maybe…but I doubt it. So right now I’m kind of freed up to write for any film site.

As for this blog, I am NOT going to talk about most “movie news be it rumor, fact or fiction. I will be focusing on writing and/or filmmaking process, op-eds and (for now) on reviews both recent and retro – in fact I have made a decision. When it comes to retro, I am going to bring back an old staple from my Projector Booth days.

The return of IN FOCUS.

In Focus was an in depth analysis of any film – not just a film review, although sometimes that was the case. It was a feature, and it wasn’t uncommon for some participants to post of their film school term papers online at the time. No kidding. You would have thought we were Film Comment reborn. Up in the corner of this post is what the In Focus moniker looked like. This post has nothing to do with the Fantastic Four, from 2005, but that’s only an example.

It is extremely possible I will revisit films I wrote about on the Snitch Forgotten Friday, such as Blue Thunder, The Last Days Of Disco Mary Reilly or Side Out. Also, I will be reprinting the past reviews/In Focus features that I had previously saved with an additional re-write/follow up because it some cases, it …well it is 15 years later and my views may or may not have changed.

For those that I didn’t save it’s all good because it gives me an excuse to talk/write about them again.

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christianbale I never thought it would come to this, but I really am disappointed with my film-geeker blogger pundits and peers overall in regards to The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not that they disliked the film, or, even if they did, they saw it and formed an opinion. All film is subjective. I understand that. But when my peers put together the top tens of 2012, the reason for having Rises lower than other films -specifically The Avengers– is due to Dark Knight Rises having too many plot holes. I found it rather odd. While The Avengers is pure popcorn fun and I’m not really knocking it in any way, many have noted the film has the most movie error mistakes of the past year. Some people noticed, some didn’t. Some….just don’t give a rip. But my point is…why dump on one film while giving the other a pass? To add to that, last summer I heard of all the “plot holes” in Dark Knight Rises and was confused more by those who made those charges. Didn’t they see the same film I did? Well, I bought the latest Batfilm on video and re-watched it a few times. Even did the Ultraviolet – Flixter thingie. Now, I think…I think…I know what went down. Continue reading

Happy New Year to All!

Resolutions for the new year:

– Keep writing.
– Get more work
– Keep the faith!
– Be a little more active on my personal blog.
(gears may change soon)

But there are also things which have come to attention on a personal level that some bridges are still burned for whatever reason. Most of these things should be water under the bridge. Most of these things, if not all of them, have already been forgiven. You are still, in spite of everything, a friend. You know who you are. So I leave 2012 with a scene from 1989’s ‘Dead Poets Society’.

I’ll be back soon with a closer look at one of the past year’s best/worst films. I’ll also share that post on Movie Snitch. There will be also an in-depth look at one of the past years biggest films in the week or so to come.

Happy 2013!

– DjS

They are watching. They are everywhere. You'll need special glasses to see them...

The plan was to catch the immature morons with video cameras who, for some reason, still think it’s okay to take video cameras into movie theaters. A nice effort, I can’t say I’m against it. But it seems more bright ideas have come to pass, and now…the concept of catching morons on camera filming theatrical films has expanded to average movie -goers as well. It isn’t just about crime anymore, or seeing which nitwit whips out a cell phone and chats during a movie. No, this is something a bit more dumb.

From Torrentfreak:

Besides traditional CCTV cameras, Aralia Systems offers elaborate piracy tracking devices. One of their products is an anti-camcorder system that projects infrared light beams onto a cinema audience. These beams are reflected back off camcorders and will trigger several alarm bells.

Basically, it comes down to extracting as much information from movie goers as possible, by adding analytics software that can read people’s physical reactions as well as their emotions.

According to Dr. Abdul Farooq from Machine Vision Lab, the project should make it possible to record and analyze the public’s emotions. These emotions will not be used to track down camcording pirates, but will serve as a market research tool for the movie industry and advertisers.

So let me get this right. The executives want audience reaction to the movie being shown for marketing purposes. That’s it in a nutshell. Now, there is some good that could come out of this. Advertisers can finally take note that the majority of commercials that play before movies (not trailers) are under the wrath of many patrons. I personally boycott any product I see for a month. If I already own the product, I won’t use it for a month. Commercials before movies are an annoyance. Reaction to movie trailers can REALLY be helped by this idea though. Maybe they will hear a moviegoer say “You buttheads! You just gave away the twist ending!” or at least the “oohs” and the “aahs”.

But as for the film itself? It is a waste of time. Why? Isn’t that what “test screenings” were for? Not only that, but if a film is already released, it isn’t going to help (or hurt) the marketing of that film. I’m sorry—but people don’t go to movies because one dude picks his nose. One person laughs at a joke on the west coast. Another yawns at the same joke on the east. Does that help? No.

And what about my pet peeve regarding First run films showing up on VOD? It won’t have any effect on those films.

If you want to use the tech to catch pirates in the act, fine. If you want to use the tech to catch a knucklehead texting and talking on a cell phone in the middle of a movie and alert an usher to ask them to cease, fine. But targeting John and Jane Doe to see them how they slurp up soda or do some necking in the back row? Come on now.

Forget the distractions, and find the fools with the camcorders in the multplex. Because you want to see what “others” are up to, suggests that you aren’t that serious about piracy in the first place. Hey, you never know. John and Jane Doe making out in the back row might be more interesting to see on a viral site that another poor pirated version of SAW 3D.

With four possible exceptions, the year 2009 for me has been a bust. Nothing but these four items made the year worthwhile. Good fortune and good times went into hibernation; whether or not they come out of retirement in 2010 remains to be seen. I should spit on the ground, shake my fist and give a rant to all my angsts and the names to my pain.

If you don’t know me by now, you will never, ever know me.
Oooooh oooh
-Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff

So I won’t do that. Instead, this is what you get:

* For those that did me wrong? Forgiveness and peace.

* For those who I wronged. Forgive me and give me peace of mind.

* For those who still think I did them wrong yet didn’t do one lick of offense, the door is still open and we can still work things out. Peace be with you.

*If none of the above is not suffice, may God deal with both of us, and set us straight, or, at least partially crooked.

And that, in a nutshell, takes care of all the negative waves I had the misfortune to deal with, be it personal, really personal or professional. That’s all the time I give to the negatives. I could moan and groan about them all, but why bore myself, let alone those who read this.

So let’s get on to the good stuff.

    Getting my Associates Degree from Baker/June Ceremony

    Old friends from Kearsley., Ferris State and XGen coming on Facebook. (I hardly visit MySpace anymore) Two additions actually took some sting of the 2009 bad away, I won’t say who, because I don’t want anyone feeling left out. They know who they are anyway.

    It may have been seasonal, and I still may be waiting for a better paying job, but I did like working at ToysRUs for the last three months. In these times, a paycheck is a paycheck.

    I got a better car.

I would like to say 2009 was a good year for films. I really can’t. It’s been a long time since I beared witness to such a lousy year. But with all the trash, from Bride Wars to A Perfect Getaway to that awful, awful 2012, there were a some good flicks- even if those good flicks showed up on HDNet first and/or was tainted by an actor’s antics (Two Lovers) on David Letterman. Or that they showed up early in the year, being film festival favorites from the year previous. (Sunshine Cleaning and Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombres) Or released overseas before coming to the states (Taken).
District 9 was a pleasant surprise, 9 was also fairly decent, and I’ll discuss Avatar shortly in another post. The best horror-suspense film was The Orphan because everything else- mostly remakes- stunk. But by far one of the best films of the past year is no surprise. That film is Pixar’s Up. I’m not surprising a soul with that revelation. That was not only a fun movie, but a very touching one as well. The opening of the film has such power that you actually miss a character once the character leaves within a few minutes. It’s also been a long time since a talking dog cartoon had made me laugh.

The Lemon List (10 worst of 2009 in my disorder):

    Friday The 13th (remake)
    Bride Wars
    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
    The Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past
    Push
    Observe and Report
    Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
    The Perfect Getaway
    Obsessed
    2012

Coming close: Land Of The Lost, What Goes Up, Blood: The Last Vampire. Knowing, Battle For Terra, Horsemen and Twilight: New Moon.

The top 10 films of 2009 (10 to #1)

    Sin Nombres
    The Orphan
    The Hurt Locker
    Two Lovers
    District 9
    Star Trek
    Me and Orson Welles
    Up
    Avatar
    Sunshine Cleaning

Coming close: The Road, 9, State Of Play, Public Enemies, 17 Again, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Taken.

Good but not great (and should have been better) : X Men Origins: Wolverine, Fired Up, Terminator Salvation, Angels & Demons, The Uninvited, My Bloody Valentine 3D and The Proposal.

Best all around actress: Amy Adams. (Sunshine Cleaning, the only reason for sitting through Night Of The Museum and Julie & Julia)

Best all around actor: Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation and Avatar)

Best supporting actor: (tie) Jackie Earl Haley (Watchmen) and Stephen Lang (Public Enemies, Avatar)

Best all around Supporting actress: Rachel McAdams (State Of Play, Time Traveler’s Wife and Sherlock Holmes)

First of all, a general welcome for all those who have stumbled upon this new blog of mine. Being that we are winding down the year 2009, I hope the majority all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas season. Hopefully New Year’s eve will be just as terrific for you as it will be for me. How do I know it’ll be great for me? There’s an old saying: the world is what you make it and I want you to have a party. Toast the coming year and while we normally say ‘Peace on Earth and goodwill to all’ during Christmas, shouldn’t that also be a resolution for the 2010, as it should be with every year?

Anyway, before I start talking and discussing films, I want to list four things that I liked about entertainment media in 2009, and at least four things I didn’t. Continue reading