Sunday, December 18, 2011

Whoohoo 100 posts

I've padded out this damn blog enough now to justify 100 posts. Whoohoo champagne for all!

If I type in Daniel Krone's film blog in a Goggle image search it turns up every photo I've used in my blog . . . neato ^.^

Almost there

Almost . . .

My Top 5 Films of 2011

1.) Drive - (And yes I f*cking love this song)

2.) Troll Hunter -

3.) Rango -

4.) Attack the Block - (It's also fun that my short documentary "A Cult Influence" was mentioned alongside this in it's article. :) )

5.) Tinker Tailor Soilder Spy - (My first classy film on the list. Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Mark Strong . . . a brilliant cast. This film is a masterpiece with only one's damned hard to follow. Other than that, a real, honest bloody spy thriller I loved. It takes a while to let the style sink in, but if you just go with what it's trying to do, it's a brilliant masterwork.)

*Runner Up* : - Source Code : It didn't expect much out of this one . . . and I was blown to pieces. Duncan Jones you are great.

Ballet Horror . . .

Two directors with the same initials both have directed iconic horror films about ballet:

Dario Argento

Darren Arronofsky

Deeper thoughts . . .

Points of view are what separates individuals the most . . . finding a person with a significantly similar point of view to your own is often inspiring. Which is one of the reasons I believe art fascinates us. It's a way to peek into a person's mind.


If a woman has sex with a man with multiple personalities is it like a gang bang? - Warning the content of this joke may be offensive to younger audiences - future note . . . put warnings in front of things so people can make a decision to read or not first

Steven King coincidences . . .

Annie Wilkes in the book 'Misery' uses an ax … but in the film uses a hammer.

Jack Torrence in the book 'The Shining' uses a hammer…and in the film uses an ax."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Prologue my thoughts

These 6 opening minutes were more enjoyable then most of the films I've seen all year.

It's no secret Christopher Nolan is possibly the hottest director alive today. And I think this coming July he may be remembered for all time, (If he isn't already) for completing his trilogy.

I do not want to nitpick this film, I do not want to cry that my favorite scenes were missing, or that he would do it differently in the comics. Nolan has spawned his world called "The Nolanverses" a universe by Christopher Nolan and fans of film.

Heath Ledger (R.I.P.) won a posthumous oscar . . . how can you top that ? The Joker is one of, if not the most iconic villain of all time . . . how can you top that ? And the answer is research. If you were trying to top an X-Men movie, you'd pick Apocalypse over Magneto if you were trying to top a Superman movie, you'd pick Brainiac over Lex Luthor . . . and so it goes in the lore of The Batman the only villain after Heath Ledger's bone chilling performance as Joker would be Bane. Played by the soon to be house hold name Tom Hardy.

There was one complaint among the fans who waited two hours to see 6 minutes of a film that's 6 months away and I'm not going to spoil it. One tiny detail that to me added to the realism of what's going on and a mystery about the character of Bane. I'll give you a clue though . . . Darth Vader has a similar problem . . . and it's slightly more noticeable in Bane. And since I'm comparing him to possibly the greatest villain in film history…that doesn't bother me in the least.

Bane is perfection. The Joker is chaos.

Bane is a chess player with muscles.

Nolan understands the language of film to a T. From sound to sight. Harry Lime (villain in 'The Third Man') is talked about for about an hour before he appears in that movie. Nolan even in 3 minutes can built up the legend of a character by mentioning his name in one scaredsh*tless throw away line. Same as he did with 'Why do they call this guy 'The Joker'?' 'I don't know, maybe he wears makeup…like warpaint.' And so they do with Bane.

This opening is bigger than the bank robbery. Not in the sense of explosions but in the raw tactile nature of doing a job. Nolan is structured in pacing and detail, not just in the hole of a story but in one 6 minute scene.

After the scene which left me speechless even after the unique way they did just the WB Title Card for the movie - which always leaves me chilled to the core. After the scene they show quick cuts from the movie only one pissed me off only one bothered me, and I hope it's handled better in the film. (Catwoman, who I'm not thrilled about.) But you get the sense of the scope of the film. It will be huge.

Nolan doesn't give a damn about characters…he's making stories about olympians, titans and gods…stories not just worthy to be written in paper but chiseled in stone and film to be seen forever…LEGENDS. Comic are the modern day greek myth…it's a fact...

Bane isn't a god. He's a Titan, even the gods fear him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Human beings are just not that creative . . . no seriously

Note - Not all classic articles start out with an Einstein quote.

"All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree." - Albert Einstein

"Whenever you don't see the monster it is scarier . . . . your mind is an untapped resource of creativity." ~ Some moron. Possibly quoting someone else, possible moronic.

"If coincidences are just coincidences why do they feel so contrived?" - Fox Mulder

Naturally human beings are honestly not at all that creative. And lets face it just look at genetics…ectomorph , endomorph, and mesomorph . . . . even god got bored with the human design. Just 3 different genetic body types!!!  Come on, we don't even have cat people . . . for reals y'all! 
Every complex thing is just a layering of simpler things. The basic principles of math starts with 1 + 1 = 2. And ends up with  (Or some derivation of such. If you're wondering the answer is 42 . . . and if you get that reference I'm sorry. . .

"When analysis of the draft human genome sequence was published by the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium on February 15, 2001, the paper estimated only about 30,000 to 40,000 protein-coding genes, much lower than previous estimates of about 100,000." (***I stole this quote from a website on the Human Genome Project) - - Lets say for the sake of argument we have exactly 100,000 genes.

Count to 100'000. It'll take you a few hours depending on if you actually count in seconds, 1…2…3… or faster 1.2.3…ect, but eventually it will end. And realize in that time how much sex you could have had or beers you could have drank and pity yourself for wasting your damn afternoon on counting numbers in your head. But in all seriousness and in the grand scheme of the cosmos and all its mysteries you remember like a bad acid trip while watching 2001, that stars are ruffly the same thing, repeats of sequences of matter that are not all that complex hydrogen & helium and such. Patterns that fold in on one another to create the illusion of diversity. 100'000 genes that create what apparently is a highly advanced animal. 100'000$ will last you in moderate living only a few years. I would think such a complicated creature would have several million, billion, or trillion but accurately has only about 35'000 genes in it's entirety.

The periodic table of elements only has about 117 elements (some of which are man made and amalgamations of others) and most of the elements aren't all that common that make up the things in the known universe…not earth, not the world, but as far as scientists are concerned the whole damned UNIVERSE!!! That's an even lower number than the genes number (but I realize I'm comparing apples to something like quantum theory)…oh my! or 'oy vey' if your Jewish or prefer the phrase. These number are pathetic in comparison to the trillions of stars in just one tiny galaxy or trillions of cells in just one tiny kitten body…. -  - possibly a tribble. Might as well be, we don't really see them that clearly…and this thing looks like trouble. *.* adorable trouble. atorable.) Anyways…

& before you start saying things like, what about monkey genetics, pigs, rats, or any other animals on the planet . . . well basically they have similar but slightly different genetics than our own. (That's why we test human medicine on them…because basically on a cellular and biological level they react the same way people do. - sorry folks :( <- sad but true . . . a song by Metallica

Remember the cosmos…watch this … & stand in awe of the universe and then pull back and realize that at a close up level every piece of mater has the "Same basic building blocks" and the universe has the same "complex building blocks" . . . a simple layering of simplicity to create the illusion of complexity. (Mind explodes…*insert Scanners picture here*)

Talking again about the thesis of this diatribe, I meant essay, I mean article ehem, behold the subject of human creativity.

Dragons…dinosaur bones…= dragons.

The ancient Chinese dug up dragon bones (dinosaurs) and drew pictures of what they thought they might be. 
and 1'000 of years before Europeans ever even went over to China they were drawing things on their walls that looked like this  slightly different but the same basic myth.

And when the 'unicorn' is one of the most popular animals in mythology, which is basically just a (hollywood pitch meeting senerio) "horse/deer meets horn on head" and other extra myths added to it such as, "only virgins can see it"; is the same difference between a hamburger with cheese or a hamburger with an avocado on top. At the end of the day the base is still a hamburger and you can layer as much on top as you want in order to come across as complex, different, unique or ect but you are still using the same ingredients as everyone else and human beings usually respond to creativity when they see something they feel they are unfamiliar with or with a sharp enough twist on something we are familiar with.  (Uni-antler horse thing)

If only virgins can see them why does it have a big phallic symbol on it's head anyways ?

(Not Simba)
(3D makes everything better, which is why I like reality)

Why are their so many remakes…why does everything look the same? Where are my keys ? If any or all of these questions came to your mind recently than perhaps it is our interlaced mass media culture and our basic human need to find patterns (there's a fancy word for that I didn't bother to look up) that allow us to find them constantly in our own media.

Hollywood storytelling is made up of tropes, patterns, mimics, and homages among other things to create new stories. If you can doll up something else a little and make it look like something else you can be seen as a storytelling genius. But on a more basic level the human mind amalgams experiences and images and repackages them into a form that allows us to forget where we first saw them and regurgitate them out as our own creativity or someone else's. I grew up on Child's Play  and had no idea what Dead of Night  was.   How many hollywood pitches start with "it's like The Matrix meets Kramer vs Kramer" (*A film I'd totally see…) . . . "Divorce needs to bring out the big guns" … comparing one film to the next in order make it digestible for a producer to envision is a common practice. (Ex: - A horse meets a horn on it's head & no virgins allowed)

"Tessellation" is a big fancy word for tile patterns, when you layer all those things on a single plane you get a pattern, when they're layered in 3 dimensions and with 5 senses can feel unique and fresh but sadly all things in nature come from the same basic principles and organic material do as well. God himself, herself, or itself in theory uses algorithms to make the illusion of infinity seem possible…even shows like 'Sliders'  (a show sadly not about a burger chain like "White Castle") a show about people who 'slide' into alternate dimensions with kooky outcomes like 'where women rule the world' or 'a world of vampires' ect . . . started to run out of ideas. That and 'Sliders' is an Americanized version of the basic concept for 'Dr. Who'. A show that features and R2-D2 robot with a plunger on it's head…that and Dr. Who created that design first.

Basically all life on this planet was built up the same way math starts out & how binary code went from the basic principals of a webpage to the complex 'evolved' entity that you're probably surfing through right now, possibly from your phone. (I know porn is in another open browser, it's okay unless it's balloon porn.)

My brother years ago saw the film 'JFK' and forgot about it … several years after that wrote a short story titled' 'The man who walks between the rain' … (two seemingly unrelated events) but then I revisited that film and came across the line 'Mr. Shaw you're just like a man who walks beneath the raindrops'. His brain saw it, digested it, forgot about it, and recycled a clever phrase he remembered back out as originality and because I remembered the title and was able to track down the origins of that idea noticed how common such practices have become in the so called 'creative human mind'. Same way 'Inception' raped most peoples brains. Remember 'Don't think about elephants dancing with russian circus bears' now ask yourself what is the first thing you thought about when you read 'don't think about elephants', that's right…balloon porn, you sick bastard.

Why do you think hollywood is turning to things like this for … inspiration
 ("Real Steel" 2011)

Steel Twilight Zone Episode  (The title of this Twilight Zone episode is "Steel"…for real's yawl…remember all true originality comes from Richard Matheson.)

Below are some strange coincidences I also happened to notice :

 (Maleficent's castle guard in 'Sleeping Beauty'*) 
 (Jabba the Hutt's castle guard in 'Return of the Jedi')

(Seriously a Team Mouse vs. Team Lucas who would win - ? - ) "Lawyers with light sabers and lawyers with wands."

The Outer Limits Episode: "Fun and Games" 
The 'Gorn' from Star Trek 
'Bossk' the Star Wars bounty hunter

Let's face it, nothing is original. We're influenced by everything and constantly; however because of our current mass media culture it's become far less removed than in previous memory because finding these types of connections, especially from my point of view, is just a simple mouse click away.

The world might be vast but it's made up of the same basic ingredients. The trick is to let yourself go and stop looking for the patterns. Like that one over there.

I mean Young Sherlock Holmes & Harry Potter are practically the same film, one film has a scene were pastries come alive and jump into a little boys mouth…and the other is Harry Potter.

  fish + woman = mermaid / creativity . . . sexy creativity and no balloons
 (The Company of Wolves)
 (Wicked City/Anime)

 (A brilliant thesis similar to this blog I found recently) 

(Part 1 of a 6 part review I did for the film Inception picking apart it's references and influences. After all an idea has to come from somewhere.) 

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. ~ Edgar Alan Poe 

A Dream Within a Dream ~ Edgar Alan Poe

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Hugo". . . not that fantastic really . . .

Are we running out of ideas so quickly that simply homaging greatness is akin to greatness itself ?

"Hugo" won best film by the National Board of Review . . . I wonder what film they saw.
; - - - A picture from the book I've yet to read. (If I ever will)
"Hugo" is a well shot, decently acted small quaint children's film that cinephiles will get an extra kick out of. It isn't a cinema masterpiece. And the 3D isn't the greatest 3D ever recorded as some critics have said, and truth be told it's miles better than "Shutter Island" just a tad better than most directors films and below Scorsese's other films. But Martin has been homaging the history of film since "Taxi Driver". Which contains numerous homages to Godard films and John Ford films. Two of Scorsese's biggest influences. "Hugo" for my dollars is far less subtle. It's very noticeable "Hugo" by the end of the film isn't about the adventures of a young's about the preservation of old films.

;-Although I did get to see "Voyage to the Moon" from 1902 cleaned up and in 3D on the big screen. Which I must say was a magnificent treat for a film lover, but homaging a filmmaker that's over 100 years old as important as he was in the history of film does not a great film make. But still great to see :)

Okay lets get this review started. The sets are gorgeous (oscar worthy) though as advertised as an amazing adventure, there are only a handful of sets showcased in the film. A toyshop, library, house, train station, movie theatre, and the gears of the clocks inside the train station. That's it, they travel outside of the train station once and when they do it's usually a street corner near a bridge, river, and a movie theatre.
"Hugo" Cabret is an orphan cliche and stumbles across the wonderful trope of an adventurous young french girl whose idea of adventure consists of books. (She's basically the French equivalent of Lisa Simpsons) but played rather sweetly by Chloe Moretz. made famous as Hit Girl in the hit film "Kick Ass" (And if you try to think perverted fan-fiction thoughts she'll murder you.)

"Hugo" however isn't violent and barely passionate, it is a quaint cute little story that has the substance of a Hallmark story of the week, however directed by a master director.

"Hugo" is a young boy whose an apprentice clockmaker with his father who finds a mysterious wind up figurine and tries to repair it. Then dies and "Hugo" is whisked off to work with his uncle repairing clocks in the train station and he's the drunk cliche trope character who doesn't love "Hugo" and basically uses him for cheap child labor.

At the beggining of the film "Hugo" is caught stealing parts from a toymaker and the toymaker asks him to empty his pockets after he's caught stealing. The toymaker finds a little notebook with drawings of the wind up figure and begins to feel sad, he takes the boys book and threatens to burn it. His granddaughter is Chloe Moretz who befriends "Hugo" and assures him he won't burn the book and he can get it back later. She also informs him that her grandfather cried when he read through the book. (This is a piss poor plot device used to get to what the film is really about.)

Ehem, the Grandfather character gives "Hugo" some ash tells him he burnt the book and the boy cries and then later is revealed this is a trick...hurray now "Hugo" has to work off his robbery and being an orphan in order to win back this book. Well Chloe and him eventually break back into the grandfathers house, spilling a mysterious cabinet filled with crazy fantasy drawings (which will later be revealed) getting his book back and discovered that in all the coincidences the clockwork man "Hugo" has spent numerous hours repairing only will operate with a key Chloe Moretz says her grandfather gave her. Get it now...the key that Chloe has works on the machine that "Hugo" had and his father tried to repair that he found in an old museum. "Hugo" thinks that turning on the machine will solve some mystery about his father or the meaning of life or something...his father died in a fire, basically repairing the robot is his idea of finishing something his father started which is him embarking on a mystery his father was too dead to even know about all the dad character wanted to know was what it did when you turned the machine on, yet to my amazement the film tries to fool the audience into thinking this big mystery will give "Hugo" closure, when in reality his dad died before he even embarked on it. (Which really bothers me from a writing standpoint.)

Well the machine turns on and draws the famous "Voyage to the Moon" picture of a rocket in a moon with a face...and the kids turn over the picture to Chloe's grandmother and she cries and talks about hating the past. Well the go to the library (Chloe's character loves books remember) and research the film, and find an expert on George Melies (Whom we find out is Chloe's grandfather and the toymaker from the train station - both of which I believe were completely made up for the sake of the book and have no basis in fact about the real George Melies, but if I can believe Eli Roth shot Hitler in the face than I guess I'll believe this.)

Anyways they end up sneaking an old film of Melies back to Chloe's grandparents house and showing the grandmother who becomes very nostalgic as possible a lot of film fans are. And the grandfather George Melies (played pretty well by Ben Kingsley) stumbles in on the session and reveals the whole history of how he made the films, fell in love with making the films and eventually had to sell his old films, joined the war effort, burned down his studio and founded a toy shop in the train station. And that's the plot of "Hugo" there are a few side characters that have cute little moments, the most memorable being the station guard played by Sasha Barron Cohen and a few others that aren't really important to the plot but have cute moments.
The film ends in a theatre with a beautiful montage of Melies films and a hammy speech about preserving films with "Hugo" now feeling apart of a family and ending with Chloe's character in a cliched voice-over about 'that boy she met' at an after party after a screening of Melies films.

"Hugo" has a level of charm that is beautiful but not masterful, and no where near perfect. I was happy I saw it but not enriched in anyway as I'd expect a great film to always do.

<- "Hugo" is not like this.

(No sound)
<- This is what "Hugo" is about. It is not a film about a young boy who loves to tinker.

So many film lovers are praising 'Hugo' and I don't really see why. The history of film is interesting but something I already knew about and the part where the film meets the real world history I felt didn't match up that well.
(The real George Melies) (Ben Kingsly as him)
;--- There is even an homage to this famous old picture.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The American

There is a certain type of film that annoys the piss out of me….boring films.

'Hollywoodland' I remembered finding tolerable and actually enjoying though it was long as hell and I can barely remember it now and recently 'J. Edgar', Warner Brothers cuddle monkey for best picture drug on and on and on as if every little detail they found in their research of this man had to appear in the film and slowly just to make sure the audience got it. . . .but that's not the film I'm reviewing.

"The American"

About a year ago I saw a film titled "The American" with George Clooney with my lovely friend Tiffany. 1 1/2 hours later Tiffany was sound asleep and I was glued to the film waiting desperately for something to happen.

"The American" with George Clooney, directed by Anton Corbin (director of the amazing film 'Control' about Ian Curtis of Joy Division *Control) is a well acted, well shot, and overall piss poorly paced film.

But honestly I'd rather watch "The American" that a film like J. Edgar, because Italy is prettier to look at than desaturation st. and an annoyingly grading voice over - - - regardless my impressions a year later of one of the most hypnotically boring films I've ever seen are that Tiffany is kind of cute when she's asleep…I mean….ehem.

"The American" was marketed as the next 'Bourne Identity' with George Clooney. But the truth is it's a character study of an old spy on one of his last jobs and it takes its sweet ass time. Apparently I think the director was trying to savor something or capture something that wasn't really there. Capturing a moment in time is what film is about but I think he missed that it doesn't have to be slow for an audience to remember it.

I believe Roger Ebert described it to like an older samurai film…and I guess from the small handful of those I've seen it makes since. Long quiet scenes of him sharpening his sword in an all too familiar ritualistic fashion would be similar to a scene where George Clooney literally builds a silencer for a gun practically from scratch in real time. (One of the more interesting scenes in the film I might add.)

The film opens with an assassination of apparently a spy in George Clooney's midst who he's been with he has to kill. And then cuts to him going out to his assignment to Italy. Which transitions from a beautiful shot of him driving through a tunnel. And the music pulses well and I thought…hey this film is pretty good….

And then he reaches Italy.

He checks into a crappy hotel with a coffee bar across the street (I know because there is a scene where he orders coffee in real time).

George's character is a man of simple pleasures…his work and hookers…a typical brooding loner male character in fiction. But not without it's merits as much as I'll say the film is boring and barely anything happens George's performance as well as the other actors aren't bad and the cinematography is gorgeous (In the since of a perfume still photo ad in a magazine) and I thought worthy of a little golden man statue at least for making this boring film worthy of keeping my eyes open.

George is an old spy on a last job who occasionally talks with a local priest about the meaning of life and such odd stuff and receives instructions through a pay phone (which we later gather is a boss setting him up on one last job)

During his work preparing for one last assassination he trains his new home built gun with silencer in the woods with a woman he falls for who if I remember correctly is another spy. Maybe sent by his boss. I can't remember.

Sometime during the middle of the film another assassin appears and attempts to kill George in a rather anticlimactic but rather action packed chase and shootout sequence in the tiny, tiny streets of the italian villa George is living in...a good sequence but too shadowy, short, and chaotic.


George has a hooker he constantly goes to who we get the feeling likes him more than he does her; for him it's just ritual and a way to stave off loneliness and boredom.

George's beautiful woman partner…whose purpose I can't remember.

George's boss and the priest he encounters (whom as I remember gives him vague platitudes about life and such.)

After preparing for this final assassination job…George during the climax is finally going to do it and during that he's double crossed (best to my memory) and assassinated by either his boss or that beautiful woman he was with. (I can't remember) Then after he dies a butterfly fly out after him…

; fade to white.

This ending could have been memorable and justified if it was intense and explosive, but indeed it was not.

I didn't re-watch "The American" to write this review, it's really just in my memory from a year ago so it might be completely inaccurate and encouraged to write from my viewing J. Edgar and being reminded of this genre of slow films that probably shouldn't be slow. Ill disciplined.

But I must say I think these films believe that because they are long that they are epics in the since of . . . "Lawrence of Arabia", "Dr. Zhivago", "The Last Emperor" and that because those films are classics and remembered that if they have that same discipline of slowness that they will be remembered as great epic classics as well…is FALSE! Reason #1 is scale. These films are epics because they are telling epic stories and reason #2 is purpose . . . these films are purposely designed to be paced that way they aren't paced slowly for the lack of understanding of why a scene should be long, slow or fast at all.

Because your films are long does not make you an epic. A film's pacing needs to be intrinsic to the type of film it is and not needs to be added because the director was afraid to cut any scenes or worse because the director believes that making scenes long and tedious will make them better.

Subtlety in the mists of action films and fast paced films is nuanced and resonates and allows you to see layers on multiple viewings…subtlety in slow brooding films is obvious because no matter how subtle you are it's easier to catch something quick, when nothing else is happening.

I would have enjoyed this film more had I known what it was…it is not horrible. Just watch it realizing what it's going to be.

I also realize that their must have been something I missed because at the end of this movie I wondered the purpose of the butterfly, a meditation on life...I'm not sure. I'm not sure I even remember why he had to die. This is more of rant than a review cause I didn't really want to sit through this film again just for the purpose or remembering it. But I have a feeling in the future I'll watch it on a day I have nothing better to do and I might enjoy it more.

George's character has a lot of similarities to Ryan Gosling's character in 'Drive' he's quiet, brooding, and has a specialty. But the craft of filmmaking around these characters makes their entire feeling different. Had "The American" been directed differently I think the film would have been praised, there is definitely enough talent involved but I believe a quieter more internal film is what Corbijn wanted anyways. 'Hugo' is a quiet film that takes place in a train station with a small handful of characters that are quiet and basically human...but the advertisement makes it seem like a great adventure. This film like many others was just another lie trying to get asses into seats and with the right point of view might have fared better.