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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Movies

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Log o' cats

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 29/06/2011 21:52:48

I've been getting a heap of spam comments on my most recent blog post - so I hope that adding a new blog keeps the spammers at bay (if only they knew how small and stingy my readership is).

I've wanted to have an online catalogue of my DVDs and CDs for a while now - mainly so I could answer such important questions as "shit, I know I've seen that guy in something before, what was it?". Some could (and did) suggest that IMDb satisfies this requirement and they would be right. Then I remembered the other reason I have - to stop buying doubles of things at JB Hi-Fi. It is now much easier to check if I already have a certain DVD via my phone while at the "crazy discounts" bin.

I also wanted to pay more attention to writers and directors of films - to better predict whether I would like a new release.

Anywho - I finished it months ago and have filled it with my Movies, TV Shows and Music. I also have Video Games, but haven't been bothered enough to catalogue them all yet.

As usual, I love an elegant URL, so each item or section tries to do away with query strings or arbitrary IDs - which actually took a bit of effort. For example:

All movies:

All movies released in 2008:

Movies with a genre of romance sorted by my rating: /rating/

I also calculate some stats (which I hope to expand at some point).

Sure, there's probably an online tool that already does this kind of thing, but certainly not with such attractive and functional URLs!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

District 9

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 16/08/2009 09:07:58

I went to see a District 9 at the movies last night and it was pretty awesome! Go and see it.

I really hope they are already working on a sequel!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Popop in the movie theater

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 26/02/2009 20:30:43

My favourite television series of all time - Arrested Development - is finally expected to make the transition to the big screen as the last actor has reportedly signed on.

Michael Cera had previously let it be known that he wasn't interested in reprising his role of George Michael Bluth - and he thought fans would be behind him:

Quoting Michael Cera:
I don't think I would want to see a movie of the series if I was a fan, anyway.
I'm a huge fan of Michael Cera's work as George Michael - so I'm glad he's had a change of heart.

Production is expected to begin this year sometime. This combined with my favourite series of novels being made into a HBO drama - I'm a pretty happy fan!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Postin' a blog here, boss!

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 20/02/2009 21:02:51

Early last year when Belinda and I were playing the Xbox 360 game Scene It, we were stumped by a difficult question:

Quoting Scene It:
How many eggs did Luke eat in Cool Hand Luke?
I don't remember the multiple choice answers, but it was something like 5, 10, 25 or 50. Thinking 50 was a ridiculous amount I answered 25. When the correct answer (of 50) was shown - I wondered what kind of events would have transpired in this film to convince Mr. Cool Hand to eat 50 eggs. It's only taken me a year, but I've finally watched Cool Hand Luke. I should have done it much sooner!

Firstly - it was a really good movie. I've been meaning to watch some old, iconic movies for a few years now - like Deliverance, Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey - this has certainly encouraged my desire.

Something I like about watching old classic movies is picking up the various scenes that were referenced by shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. There were a few of them here. I understood why somebody was "Wavin' to the pope here, boss" in an episode of Family Guy, Jasper's "That's a paddling" run on a Simpsons episode was explained and I found the source of the famous line "What we've got here is a failure to communicate". But one thing was ringing a bell when I wasn't expecting it.

In one scene there was some music in the background that seemed a little familiar - and I hummed along as if I already knew it. The music stopped suddenly so I assumed it was probably a coincidence, until it happened again. This time I put a finger on where I had heard it - the Channel 9 News theme music. Turns out the theme music News Series 2000 (hear it here) was based on the Cool Hand Luke composition - and is used by a lot of US news programs as well. Fancy that.

I wonder if any other scenes from Cool Hand Luke were copied by singer / actress. Yeah, probably not.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Deep Voiced Knight

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 04/08/2008 22:56:05

I saw The Dark Knight on the weekend and enjoyed it muchly. It goes without saying that Heath Ledger's contribution was incredible. One small aspect of his performance that I didn't expect when going in was his portrayal of the Joker's voice - it was a pleasant surprise. Christian Bale's take on Batman's "man voice" however - was very distracting.

Looks like I'm not the only one to think this - nor the most eloquent. One of the blogs I read hosted a mock interview with the caped crusader recently - which sums up my feelings quite well.

Quoting Geese Aplenty:
And you know what's even more annoying? You do it in front of people like Rachel and Lucius, who know who you are. I'm surprised they're not all 'Bruce, we get it, you're a badass. Now stop pretending you have a 6-pack a day habit.' What is the third movie in the series going to be called, anyway? "Batman Enunciates"?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Autobots Transform and Rollout!

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 04/11/2007 16:36:35
Updated by Joel Dixon at 13/11/2007 23:39:10

Bell and I had a quick browse through JB Hi-Fi and found a very cool special edition of the Transformers film on DVD. Firstly, I loved the Transformers film, one of my favourites of this year. Secondly, the DVD case transforms!

Transformers DVD
DVD case. Admittedly, it's not too taxing to guess what this will transform into. "Robots in pretty ordinary disguise"

Transformers DVDs
The DVDs are stored in a little cavity on the back

The transformation itself is pretty weak - but it's the first DVD cover I own that can transform!

Ingenious DVD marketing people! Apparently when Saw IV comes out - it will actually contain a human eyeball! Looking forward to that one.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Top 5 non-Hollywood movie endings

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 24/10/2007 11:08:25

I was watching Without a Paddle the other day (I'm a Seth Green fan) and it wasn't too bad. But throughout the film, no matter how dim the future looked for the main characters, I knew it was all going to work out OK. A lot of movies coming out of Hollywood seem to spend most of the time trying desperately to fool you into thinking the story will end in a disaster, then do a spectacular switch-a-roo at the end.

I'm also reminded of the time I watched Pirates of the Caribbean with Bell, I was really enjoying the movie until they pulled a complete Disney ending and everyone was happy (except for the bad characters). It's made me think back to the movies I've enjoyed because of an unexpectedly sad or weird ending.

The death of the main character isn't enough for me, as they can be quite common especially in mafia / crime movies. There are also a lot of movies where the main character does die at the end, but everyone learns a life lesson and the world is a better place. Movies with a moral to the story don't count no matter how tragic (think Romeo and Juliet). I'm after the unexpected, coming-out-of-nowhere and for no good reason endings which aren't just a logical progression of the storyline.

We need these unexpected tragic endings from time to time, to keep us honest. If there is the real threat that all of the characters contract rabies and die from a freak electric can-opener accident - you are more invested while watching the film.

I will note that I am probably missing out on many other great non-Hollywood movie endings. There's many movies I've never watched (which I'm currently rectifying), so some killer endings are probably missing. If you know of any - please comment to this entry and let me know - I would be very interested.

Here are my personal top 5 non-Hollywoodland movie endings:

Honorable Mention - Bambi
Bambi didn't make the final list - as I don't remember anything about the actual movie (including the ending). It does however get a honorable mention because I can still remember that I was extremely upset by the movie at the time. After checking out a synopsis on the Internet I can confirm - yeah, that would have upset me.

5. Memento
A great movie that makes you think, and definitely needs to be watched twice. Guy Pearce plays a man with a weird form of amnesia in which his brain is unable to store new memories. For assistance he leaves himself a series of notes and has a number of tattoos on his body with various facts he feels are important. It wasn't the easiest movie to understand or try to guess what was coming up - but I still think the ending was notably unexpected.

4. Saw
A top movie written by a pair of Melbourne boys - directed by one of them and the other played a main character - I blogged about this movie when I first watched it. As I said then, one of the better twist endings and completely unexpected. It's a horror movie, so you know people are going to die at the end, but there was one aspect of the finale that forced an audible gasp from me.

3. The Sixth Sense
I have to admit I didn't see the twist ending of this movie coming, and I think that was the same for a lot of people. This movie really kick started another round of the surprise twist ending for mainstream films - and at it's time of release it caught many people by surprise. This is another movie where it pays to watch it twice.

2. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
This movie would easily be number 1, if they had have kept the original ending. I've kept it in my list because they have preserved the original ending in the DVD as a special feature (be sure to check it out). The story is that Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and director Rawson Marshall Thurber were very happy with the unconventional ending, but the movie studios wouldn't allow it (instead creating the bubblegum ending in place now). See the movie's Wikipedia entry for more.

1. Easy Rider
Easy Rider is a great movie that's clearly stood the test of time. Interesting story, pretty good soundtrack, and a brilliant performance by Jack Nicholson in his first big role (for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar). While I had heard of this movie for a long time (as I'm sure a lot of people have), I didn't know that the ending was going to be so unexpected. You have to watch this film if you haven't already - and then you'll definitely know what I'm getting at with this blog post.

Easy Rider

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I have found the Explorers

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/10/2007 15:13:39

I think it's been bothering me for 5 years now, I can remember wondering about it while I was still in Uni. There was a movie that I used to love as a child, almost as much The Goonies and Flight of the Navigator. I was very young when these movies came out (around 4 I guess) but they received high rotation on the VCR until I was old enough to appreciate them.

While I've enjoyed watching Flight of the Navigator and The Goonies again since these young days - the third movie had completely slipped my mind, and I haven't seen it for at least 10 to 15 years. Every so often it gets stuck in my head - I can remember certain parts but never enough to start a google hunt.

The main thing I remember is that there was two or three kids that built a circular space ship. The ship was controlled by a computer keyboard (very cool back then) and I vaguely remember some kind of spherical field generated by the ship that caused damaged to whatever it touched. I don't remember where they went in this ship, or anything else in the movie after the ship was built. The only other part I remembered was that one of the main characters designed the ship based on a few dreams. Anyone remember this?

Enter the Get This Podcast (I knew I listened to these guys for a reason). Tony Martin mentioned an old movie with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix called Explorers and I could almost feel my brain fizzle. Eureka!

It feels really good to get that mystery solved! I was pretty accurate in my memory. After some quick research I found that the main character had a dream about a circuit board which is for the actual bubble device (he later dreams another circuit board for a device that creates oxygen). The ship was driven using a computer, and the YouTube video linked below confirmed my suspicion that it was very cool!

One thing I had completely forgotten about was that the main characters go into deep space and meet up with aliens. I might have to find this movie on DVD and give it another viewing sometime!



Monday, September 24, 2007

Cable TV + PVR = Crazy Delicious

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 24/09/2007 11:27:20
Updated by Joel Dixon at 01/11/2015 10:59:17

Apologies to the hilarious SNL skit Lazy Sunday for the blog title

Note: Some links in this post are NSFW (due to words of naughtiness)

While in Edmonton I decided to get the premium digital television package from my communications provider - as I knew I'd have a fair amount of spare time on my hands. I also took the option of buying a PVR device, to prepare myself for the hockey season. I made a good decision, if I do say so myself.

The first thing I did was check out the extensive Electronic Programming Guide. With the hundreds of channels and a week-long programming guide - I filled up my PVR's 80 Gb hard drive very quickly. As the hockey season hasn't started yet, I stuck mainly with movies. There's at least 6 channels that are dedicated to movies, as well mainstream channels running weekly movies.

I've been able to see movies I've been meaning to catch for a while now (such as Monty Python's Meaning of Life, Scarface and Half Baked), some old favourites (Fletch 1 and 2, Die Hard and The Firm) as well as some movies I'd never heard of.

One such movie that I hadn't previously heard of was Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story. It caught my attention immediately, as the opening scene involves He-Man figurines involved in a staged paintball scene. I highly recommend this movie - it's a bit of a mix between Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and The Office. Here's the trailer for the DVD:

But the thing I like the most about my cable and PVR mix is coming home, cooking dinner and sitting down to watchable, pause-able, fast-forward-able and rewind-able television (without the expense of DVDs).

I'm surprised Australia hasn't been bigger in the PVR space. The closest is Foxtel iQ, which is pretty good but doesn't cover all of the free-to-air channels. You can also buy a regular PVR to attach to your regular TV - but the programming guide only goes two days in the future.

I have heard that Tivo is coming to Australia soon - which is about time - but there still isn't an all-channel programming guide available. Since coming to Canada, I'm really aware that Australia is getting shafted in both the Internet and television industries. Perhaps I will have to keep purchasing those DVDs.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Deck Dogz

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 15/01/2005 01:09:00

As it way my birthday today (the 24th of such occasions), my girlfriend took me to see Deck Dogz. The story revolves around 3 teenage "Deck Dogz" (skateboarders) trying to get to a skate tournament that will be hosted by Tony Hawk. The kids hope that by showing Tony a Nose-slide underflip to darkslide, they'll be sponsered and taken from their crummy neighbourhood. Getting to the competition is quite a trial with parents, the police and drug pushers trying to stop them.

I had never actually seen a preview for this film - but I had heard there was an Aussie skate film with Tony Hawk appearing, so I thought I'd give it a go. It turns out the film is really just a kids skating movie (al biet with drug and sexual references), and I found myself waiting for the "drama" to finish and the skating to begin. Even if I had have known it was a kids movie, I probably still would have gone (as I love watching great skateboarding - from Tony Hawk, or preferably Rodney Mullen).

The acting was quite poor, the plot a little too far fetched to go along with, and the cutaway visuals of the boy's thoughts were a little too distracting. There were a few laughs to be had though, and I'm happy they knew how to display skating footage, because it was the movie's saving grace.

All in all - I'd say 2 out of 5.

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