Archive for August, 2009

Crash (2004)

August 26, 2009

Writer(s): Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco

Director: Paul Haggis

Director of Photography: J. Michael Muro

I just watched Crash and I can honestly say that I will never watch that movie again. Its not because it was bad, actually it was very good. It was just a ‘super drama’ and offers no real enjoyment what-so-ever, but I’m sure that was the intention. I wonder how many people watched this movie and decided to change their lives from that point on, I bet zero.

Great writing, good acting, slightly about average cinematography.

And as always: Fuck racism, Fuck ignorance, and Fuck hate.

Do the right thing.

IMDb: Crash (2004)


Inglorious Basterds

August 23, 2009

Writer(s): Quentin Tarantino

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Director of Photography: Robert Richardson

Another awesome feature from Tarantino and Robert Richardson. I loved it. Heavy on the dialogue (classic Tarantino) but it was all well written. There are so many movies these days that are filled with nonsense dialogue and one-liners, but when Tarantino writes dialogue everything said has meaning (mostly aiding in character development). You can tell he actually thinks about what his characters would say and why they would say it. Not that I condone the subject matter at all, but there is a monologue where Jews are compared to rats and its absolutely brilliant and fits that character 100%.

So tie all that in with nazis being brutally murdered in the most awesome ways, some well placed comic relief, and you have a movie that Craig Samuels likes very much. And there weren’t even boobies in it! 😉

Robert Richardson did an amazing cine job. It’s apparent by the very first shot of the movie. Nuff said. If you know anything about what a Director of Photography does then you will see for yourself that Richardson is a pro. Beautiful.

PS Brad Pitt and his endless amounts of whitty, Tennessee style sayings are hilarious and awesome.

PPS Does anyone know why its spelled Basterds instead of Bastards? I’m sure I could easily look that up right now, but Im not going to…

Inglorious Bastards

IMDb: Inglorious Basterds

A Dark Desert Highway

August 23, 2009

Was on a 19 hour shoot yesterday called A Dark Desert Highway. Its a pretty cool film noir piece thats chalk full of deception, murder, and sexy females. Classic.

It was a really laid back shoot (which may be the reason it took 19 hours) with a lot of really cool people doing their jobs well. They told us upfront that it was going to be a 16 hour day (11am – 3am) but obviously we ran a bit late and I got home at 6 in the morning.

Here are a couple iphone pics from when I was working this beast with Jacob on the Straight Shooter jib arm, and Mark as 1st AC on the camera.


Classic Film Student Bullshhhhhh.

August 21, 2009

Lately I have been thinking of posting my personal comments on movies I watch. I’ll try my hardest to not sound like a know-it-all film student because I myself cant stand those bitches. I plan to keep them very very brief and mostly comment on Story and Cinematography.

So if you read this crap check back in the next couple days for my opinion on District 9 and Inglorious Bustards (which I’m seeing tonight).

Ignorance must be bliss…

August 8, 2009

Something Everyone Should See:

I made this documentary (Bikes Not Allowed) about a year ago and put it on youtube around that same time. Tonight it received its first comment. Unfortunately this comment perfectly illustrates what I was trying to expose. Its so interesting to me how, though not as serious, comments like this so closely resemble racism. Its far too easy to be prejudice in this world and this is just another example of how ignorant people can be.

Here is the comment from “bowlrider”:

Bikes should go and get your own dirt park. Skaters paved the way for parks..advocate for your own needs. Your pegs ruin coping..most bikers I come in contact with are a bunch of babies. Go ride dirt..Again your pegs and pedals and bike are made out of hardened steel..nit meant to hit coping. Werent your pegs originally meant for freestyle on flatground. Stop feeling entitled to ride at skateparks. Its a lame argument..get your shit together and get dirt parks bulit so you can jump and whatever!

A Day in the Desert

August 4, 2009

On Thursday, July 30th, 2009 Tosha and I went on an adventure into the California desert. We traveled 3 hours from Carlsbad to a smaller than small town called Landers. Our mission was simple: drive to the residence of one Lee W. Callahan (Tosha’s father) to hang out with him for a day. And that’s exactly what we did.

This was be my first time meeting Lee but I wasn’t very nervous, I was more curious than anything because I had heard a lot about him from Tosha. The drive into the desert was a breeze and went by very fast, but for every inch we got closer the temperature got hotter. By the time we arrived it was around 102°, but at least it wasn’t humid.

Arrival / Day 1

We were first greeted by Lee’s two doggies, Tonopah and Joshua (short for Joshua Tree) and seconds later by Lee himself with open arms and a big smile. After the pleasantries and a little snack we got a tour of the property and all of his rock cutting and polishing goodies.

We then decided to go for a drive into the desert (mainly to check out some petroglyphs that Lee knew about). If you haven’t been to a place like Landers then it may be hard to understand but essentially it’s in the middle of nowhere except it’s not far from a normal country town with paved roads. Landers consists of sand roads marked by hand made signs or plastic bags (flags). Some of these roads would be considered by most to be “trails” that they would only use for dirt-biking or quading. Actually they used to be horse trails and wagon roads to gain access to private properties and mineral mines. Now-a-days these roadtrails wind deep into the desert for no other reason but to gain access to the desert.

So that being said, we drove into the desert. At first I saw these red plastic bags tied to bushes along the trail and thought it was garbage that got stuck. Lee explained that they were markers so you don’t get lost. I though to myself, “that’s dumb, how can you get lost in a flat desert?” But it turns out I was the dumb one because after driving 5mph for 45 minutes on dirt roads that fork, and wind, and curve, and fork, and wind, and curve, I didn’t know where the hell I was or how to get back.

We finally came to our first stop at some pretty large boulders. We let the dogs out to play and climbed the rocks. From the top I saw one of the most beautiful sights ever, Yucca Valley right before sunset.



After a little we got back in and drove some more to find the petroglyphs. At first I couldn’t remember what a petroglyph was but once Lee said, “see there are some circles on those rocks,” I immediately remembered. It was so fascinating being that close to “art” that someone created soooooo long ago. And what was even more fascinating was trying to figure out what the markings meant. It was unreal. By then the sun was almost down and we had to hit the “road” before we got lost for real.

That night we set up the new tv and dvd player Tosha got for him and watched most of Watchmen as we ate a delish meal that Lee prepared for us. But Tosha and I were exhausted so we crashed about half way through the movie.

Day 2

The next day things go kicked up a notch as Lee had a couple special things in store for us. We woke up slow and Lee made us coffee and breakfast. Then we loaded into the car and took about a 10 minute drive to a structure called The Integratron. Now I’m not going to say anything more about The Integratron except that it was conceived and built by a man who was: abducted by aliens, returned to earth, and from then on the aliens communicated with him telepathically to help him build it. Read more here THE INTEGRATRON. As we were there looking at it from outside the fence we were greeted by a man inside who advised us not to go up some road (that we weren’t even thinking of going up) because some lady got attacked by 70 ferrell dogs while jogging and the owner is a crazy guy with a gun. Nuff said.

After that Lee took us to see a man he calls The Professor. From the road The Professor’s house looks kinda like a junkyard with a bunch of standing telephone poles connected by wires of all shapes and sizes. As we drove through the gate we were greeted by an alarm that sounded through loudspeakers placed all over the property. I wasn’t sure what to think at this point. We got out and followed Lee around the back of the house where we saw The Professor high up on a telephone pole twisting a wire around another wire. The Professor is a 50something bald man with a bushy white beard, tanned leathery skin, and a set of spectacles at the tip of his nose. I would classify him as an insane, but genius, bigot. He said ‘hi’ from up atop the pole and continued working until he was done. When he came down we got a tour of the property and got a look at all of his “mad scientist” projects. He explained the vast system of telephone poles and wire systems connecting them. I’m still not totally sure what they were for but in a nutshell they help him receive all kinds of information from all over the universe. I think its mainly weather activity and lightning strikes but if he had said they were for talking to aliens I would have believed it in a second, I’m not kidding this guy is loco. He then proceeded to show us this little shack next to his house that he used as a command base; it was full (floor to ceiling) with wires, circuit boards, knobs, levers, dials, etc etc. By then I though this guy was totally insane and just had a bunch of junk stacked up, but as he gave a demonstration of what each thing did I was shocked to see that it all worked! For the grand finally (of that room) he showed us what I think he called a Spectrograph. He quickly hooked up a portable boom box to it, turned the lights off, and played this disgusting organ music (perfect for a mad scientist) as loud as it would go. While it was playing he shouted to us that we were watching a 3 dimensional image of sound as depicted through time… or something like that. Anyway we sat through a whole “song” and watched these green lines bounce and squiggle in a chaotic manner and the whole time I tried to picture sound through time and make sense of the movements, but it was to no avail. When we thought it was finally over and we would be able to escape the hotbox, he turns off the music and turns on a different speaker to full volume, he called it the earth channel. We could hear really loud static and even louder popping noises. He explained that each pop was lightening striking the ground, BUT, get this, it was in a 2000 mile radius! Who knows if its true or not but it sure was poppin! Har har.

After that we went inside his house to find more machines with graphs and dials. It smelled nasty and there was nothing in there but the machines and a cot that he slept on using towels and blankets. He showed us more stuff including a Seismograph monitor linked to his seismograph somewhere on the property. It was like watching a heart monitor at the hospital except every time you stomped on the ground it would peak. It was another example of some crazy shit that he had that surprised me when it actually worked. At this point Lee had to make up some excuse for us to leave or else The Professor would never stop talking about stuff that none of us understood. I do believe that he is a genius though, I think that he understood everything he told us and I believe that all the things he built worked as they were supposed to. Also I almost forgot to mention that he supports himself, and all these projects, strictly on welfare and handouts. He mentioned that he got one handout recently of $25,000 to start a new project…

And that’s it folks, the rest is pretty much history, Tosha and I hit the road back to Carlsbad not too long after.

To sum it up I had a great time and would love to have stayed longer. Lee is an awesome and interesting man and I can’t wait to visit him again.

PS If you have made it this far in the reading I commend you for your strong willpower.