If a movie is made using a formula
template then it most likely will not be great but will be much
than a movie made by a director that does not know what he is
An analogy is portrait photography. Many amateurs take
of other people and the results are poor to bad most of the
A portrait studio that has a formula lighting setup and back drop
turn out reasonably good portraits even if a non photographer
camera. But a gifted photographer can take a great portrait
the same studio setup or outdoors.
Like in many things once you know the rules and why they are there
you are free to knowingly break them.
Novel or original Screen play Writer
This is the idea the movie is
on. Tom Clancy wrote the novel "Red October". Larry
Ferguson wrote the screen play. (A screen play describes the
time, what the camera sees and the dialog. Often when
describing a movie they mistakenly give the director credit for
idea. For example see the comments about "12 Monkeys" and
Runner" which were screen written by David Web Peoples.
comments are really about the story not about what the director
Philip K Dick
wrote the books that were made into the movies: Blade Runner,
Recall, Barjo, Screameres, Imposter, Minority Report, Paycheck.
The producers purchase the movie
and fund it's production. They are the ones who set the
hire the director and may be influential in hiring the key
actors. This is a chain of events and so there may be a
producers (opening logos) associated with a movie. They
leave the movie and sell their part to another producer.
If you know what the different producer titles in the credits
A screen writer does the creative
process of coming up with the movie script based on a novel or
original idea. Scripts are written in a very standardized
so that the movie run time is very closely related to the number
pages in the script.
Sometimes the after a movie has started the script is found to
lacking and a new screen writer may get hired to finish the
The director is similar to the
of a ship. He hires all the cast and crew. He has
of what's filmed and how. He may or may not have final say
editing. The stunning visual images in "The cell" are the
of the directors vision and his choice and direction of the
designer. Another way to think of it is the director is
teller. For example the same novel could be made into very
different movies if different directors were chosen to make it.
It's important for a director or actor to be sure the movie is a
fit for them. If a director has made a number of very
movies that are all alike he may be tired of them and if another
similar is done it may be a looser. But if he is
a new type of movie it may be great. The danger is that a
may not accept challenging new movie types and keep making
versions of his prior movies.
One of the key jobs of the director is controlling the
This is the driving force behind how any movie is made.
locations used for a movie have a lot to due with the
Also the shooting order. If a very expensive actor is
it's good to film all of their scenes in the most time efficient
manner. In "Ticker" Dennis Hopper was only involved for a
days, yet he appears all through the film (this was overdoing it
the actors ended up having no interactions), although a low
ended up with some big actors in it the quality was poor.
It may be that the producer that hires the director has already
genre, but whoever sets it will hold all those at successive job
Sometimes the person who has written the script is the
This may be so the creative control is maintained.
The actors are the people that
in front of the camera. Actors have different levels of
capability. Some actors always play the same type of
like a thug, a slightly crazy person, a good looking woman, a
etc. Other actors have much more range and can portray
different types of people. You might not even recognize
actor you know is performing. Gary Oldham is great in this
regard. Michael Parks plays the old Mexican pimp in Kill
but you wouldn't know unless you were told it was him.
Sellers was famous for palying multiple parts (maybe up to 12)
Actors, like directors, tend to give their best performances
challenged. Robin Williams in "One Hour Photo" does a
job palying a character that's far from his normal comedic
Tarantino has chosen actors who were out of favor at the time
them in rolls that were different from what they had done in the
with a very good result both for the movie being made and for
This is not an exhaustive list, just
some that I like.
This is something I
started doing at about 4 years old and caused me to get into
Hidden Message? Prot (Kevin
Spacy) the alien says that sex on his planet K-Pax is
On earth Prot eats a banana including the skin and in a number of
places notices or comments on the great "fruit" on earth. At
point he disappears to travel to some northern countries. It
be that "fruit" is a metaphor for sex and that's what Prot enjoys
much about earth and his travel was to enjoy more of it
don't bother with the Dreamworks web
site, way too much
graphics for anything less than a LAN connection.
Cell, the - 2000 -
(ex NSA), Will
(Victim ) - see 1999
STOA Report on communications intelligence
- unknowingly raised as the star of a 24 hour/day TV show
(gum shoe) Ben
(gum shoe's assistant) Kim
(romantic interest) - bigger part than
Out of Sight
few words on looking for things. When you go looking for
specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of
things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When
looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are
Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find
(FBI & girl friend) Elmore
. & on Amazon.com
- Done in Hollywood, better quality than the dubbed
1998 - Starring Bruce
(FBI g guy) and Alec
(NSA b guy), Kim
- Book -Simple
Wag the Dog
(Fix it man) & Dustin
(Movie Producer) - New
- Book: American
- very close to reality?
(patient) and Samuel
(mathematician) - Warner
- Book: Sphere
- a Woody
film - Robin
+ + + + stars
(Radio Astronomer) - Warner
similar in concept to 2001 a Space Odyssey.
Men in Black
(seasoned gost buster) and Mr.
(new trainee) Linda
(coroner) -Columbia Pictures -comic book The
The Fifth Element
- Bruce Willis (future taxi driver) Milla
(ET saves world) Gary
(villain) -highly recommended
- 1997 - Jim
(Lawyer) - Universal Pictures -
- 1997 -Michael
(business man), Deborah
(game player) - PolyGram
(Postman) - Warner Brothers
- 1997 -
(gentleman thief) Elisabeth
(scientist) - Paramount Pictures - Book: The
- 1997 - Matt
(janitor) & Robin
(shrink) - Miramax Films
(cab driver), Julia
(assistant DA), Patrick
(CIA shrink) - Warner Bros.
- 1997 - Aidan
(navy man), Donald
(CIA) & Ben
(Mosad) - Sony -
Murder at 1600
(Washington DC cop) & Diane
(Secret Service) - Warner Bros.
As It Gets
- 1997 - Jack
(neighbor) - Sony
(SEAL) - Hollywood Pictures -
- Interesting genetic sci-fi
, Uma Thurman
, Jude Law
- 1996 - IMDb
- I didn't see this movie or Silence of the Lambs for some time
the title & what I had heard suggested that they were
movies. It turns out that they are both great.
- based on the TV series
(Marine) & Jeff
(TV repair man) Bill
(bad guy), Christian
(good guys) -
garage mechanic gets very smart -
(angel) - not the kind of Angel you expect
(whistle blower) - Warner Bros. -
The Long Kiss Goodnight
(teacher/spy) & Samuel
(private eye) - action & comedy
1995 - IMDb
- Keanu Reeves
courier/smuggler with a jack into his brain so he can
data. Hollywood Goes
- technical details on the CGI
(career criminal), Al
(demo man) - Warner - De Niro & Pacino have a
Same writer/director as Thief (1981)
Die Hard 3
1995 - IMDb
- Robert Patrick
has one line buy you can see the T1000 spirit that got him into
Terminator2 (strange IMBD does not have a listing for die hard 3
(Sub Captian) & Denzel
(XO) - Buena Vista Home Video - good sub movie
(woman) & Kevin
(con man) - trimark - heart warming
- 1995 - IMDb
sent back in time to find out how the virus that wipes out
started. As a young boy he witnesses his own death.
it's hard to say what's real and what happened in a
Mr. & Mrs. Peoples who also wrote Blade Runner and
Unforgiven. The first time I saw this movie it did not
it. Now it's one of my favorites.
- great cast - loan shark decides to become a movie producer
- 1994 - IMDb
directed by Quentin
one of the first movies to featureSamuel L. Jackson
led directly to Die Hard 3
(grows up) & Gary
(Sgt. Dan) - tour de force for computer movie
live in the same time frame as Gump.
(spy) and Tia
(bad girl) - action & comedy
The Joy Luck Club
(women) - Hollywood Pictures -
- based on the TV series
weatherman doomed to repeat the worst day of his
he discovers the key to moving his life forward
- the concept is at the heart of many religions.
(master) and Wesley
(student) - Book: Rising
- the comments by Connery are mostly (all?) true
- 1992 -
- Andy Garcia
& Uma Thurman
mystery where both of their performances are great as is the
(rock singer) - based on Saturday Night Live
(bad guys) - Warner Home Video -
(singer) & Kevin
Whitney is the only person I've heard sing the Star Spangled
that really made it sound great, gave me goose bumps, she's a
(TV weatherman) & Victoria
(English reporter) -
- 1991 - IMDb
- along with Hannibal
& Red Dragon
are great Anthony Hopkins movies
(banker) & Whoopi
(girl friend)- Paramont -
The Hunt for Red October
(NSA analyst) and Sean
(Russian Sub Captain), James
(head CIA)- Malofilm
- Book: The
- The book has more true spy tech stuff, like
the film and lens of the camera to get greatly enhanced images.
Die Hard 1988 - IMDb
- $28M to make grosses $137M leading to DH2, DH3 and DH4
1988 - A
great movie. Similar to Bill
Full Metal Jacket - IMDb
- 1987 - Vincent D'Onofrio very believable as Pvt. Pyle who
boot camp and shoots his D.I.
(bit part), Val
(pilot) - some great aerial combat scenes
(country boy) -
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
(martial arts instructor) - Joel
has extremely great mental-physical moves - must see.
Back to the Future
(mad scientist) - time travel
The Falcon and The Snowman
- Based on a true story about spying inside TRW. See my crypto
Beverly Hills Cop
(streetwise cop) -
(Three scientists) - invent a machine that
allows you to
experience what another experienced
- must see
-Were I worked someone called our telex machine trying to hack
(1) checkers... (4) Global Thermonuclear War...
(working girl), Joe
(cat) Music by David
- "putting out fire with gasoline"
(future cop) - a classic
by Mr. & Mrs. Peoples who also wrote 12 Monkeys and
Unforgiven. The first time I saw this movie it did not get
Stripes - IMDb
The Animal House crew at it again.
History of the World: Part I
(plastic surgeon) - Warner Home Video directed by
(sound man) -
excellent movie, even today (2006)
Eye of the Needle
- spy thriller based on pre Normandy spoof by Gen.Patton - book
- a fantastic performance by Mickey
(professional thief), Willie
(prision roomy), Tuesday
(girl friend), Robert
Same writer/Director as Heat - good technical details
Southern Comfort -
- 1981 -
, A squad of National Guards on an isolated
weekend exercise in the Louisiana swamp must fight for their
Vietnam allegory? Haunting music by Ry Cooder.
- 1980 - William Hurt
scientist conducts experiments on himself with a
hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing
(rich golfer), Bill
(grounds keeper) -
The Blues Brothers
(Jake) & Dan
(Elwood) - Universal Studios -> sequel BB2000
- Brooke Shields
(same first name, but much easier on the eyes)
(X CIA), Glenda
(drinking problem), Julie
(girl friend), Lloyd
(control tower), Leslie
(crazy soilder) Robert
- classic about Vietnam era - Porklips
- The Naked Gypsies
- The Conversation -IMDb
- Apocalypse Now -IMDb-
- Have We Seen the Elephant?
- Santa Rita
withdrew support for
American Zoetrope after they saw THX-1138 and so missed out on
Conversation, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, etc.
Note this is the
movie that had a
profound effect on hollywood. It was made for about $ 400k
grossed about $ 60,000 k and marked the end of the old
2001: A Space Odyssey
- Directed by Stanley
- a classic
The Thomas Crown Affair
(banker-bank robber) plays chess with Faye
(insurance investigator) -> new
- Why would Jane Fonda make such a movie?
- the best auto chase & sound EVER
The President's Analyst
(shrink) - about TPC (The Phone Company)
gets his start and the song "Mrs. Robinson"
- Woody Allen spoof on James Bond movies
The Dirty Dozen
all star cast of bad guys doing good
Cool Hand Luke
(prisoner) - Captain says "What we have here is a
& others from this movie went on to make Easy
- The fire department's job is to burn books since buildings are
-> Mel Gibson is directing a version
for yr 2000
-lunatic artist disguised as a gorilla
- what can be found by many enlargements of a
The Quiller Memorandum
- all star cast
A Hard Day's Night
(son of who?), Susannah
(wench) David Warner -Henry Fielding's 1749 novel - a
& women enjoy eating
(girl friend) George
(boss) - in high school we then went to the local
- Still a great movie in 2006. 1986 remake called The Color of Money
(poor title it means something else)
The Mouse That Roared
- Peter's very small country invades the U.S.
Bell, Book and Candle
- directed by Alfred
Rebel Without a Cause -IMDb
- Perhaps the best teen-age drama of the 1950's.
The Wild One
- The Hell's Angles visit Hollister, CA - Harley
"Oh, the shame of it all"
- directed by Billy
(prisoner) prison escape [the classic Eames
was built for Billy]
The Man in the White Suit
(inventor) - Sir Alec made many great movies
DVDs have replaced tape as the
format for watching movies at home. This is not only
there's a huge improvement in the quality, but also because
additional information in the Features, alternate audio tracks
subtitle tracts. Some DVDs also contain programs that
run on a
The first generation DVDs were
layer that can hold just a little more than a 2 hour movie and
tended to have minimal special features. Maybe some
about the cast and/or crew. There may be more than one
track and or subtitle track, but not likley.
Second generation DVDs are double layer and can hold a little
2 complete movies. These typically hae a special
that includes such things as deleted scenes, bloopers,
ending. These typically include a choice of 2 or 3
the audio track and the same languages for the subtitle track.
On some movies the commentary audio and/or subtitle tracks
have a lot
of good information for students of making movies.
To find these you need to use your remote to select alternate
tracts and/or alternate subtitle tracts. I call them
you can not get to them using the root menu or any menu under
menu (like special features or bonus menus).
I recently have been finding
features. For example in Basic Instinct there is a
commentary track by a woman who sounds like a college
does not understand what the words she used mean. Many
In Collateral there's a hidden subtitle track which I think is
Mann that has information about the use of HDTV instead of
it's effect on the night scenes. For me this file looks
"real" than those movies who use film for night scenes.
When a DVD gets dirty and
finger prints it will cause the picture and/sound to break
This can be fixed by washing the disk using soap and water,
in air or using a lint free wipe. If there are scratches
abrasions that are causing the picture break up then washing
fix the problem. But using CD
will provide a cure in many (but not all) cases. I got
it at my
local Video rental outlet (that also has a disk polishing
they use to maintain all their rental DVDs).
May 5, 1998 106/10 ; 106/11; 106/3; 451/63 - contains wax, non
based solvent, dispersing agent & polishing compound -
need to work
in radial strokes or across visible scratch to bevel sides of
and fill with wax. It really works.
DVD v. BluRay
As far as I can tell the video quality is about the
same. I have a few movies in both DVD and Blu-ray
formats and can not tell the difference. I think the
bad rap that DVDs get is because they are not being properly connected.
redbox DVD Vending Machines
For the last couple of months the shelves in Video Rental room
local Lucky store have been mostly bare, like they were going
business. When asked the clerks didn't know
About a week ago (16 Apr 2008) the Lucky store ad had a code
for Red Box DVD rental and the store address appeared in the
ad. But a phone call confirmed that they do not
have a Red
Surfing found redbox.com
a store finder based on zip code. It turns out that
one redbox within 20 miles of our town center.
The machine has a light box on the left side with a couple of
movies illustrated. A touch screen and credit card reader on
front. The black thing on the right is the input/output
slot. The DVDs are in a special case 5 5/8" wide x 4
7/8" high x
a little less than 1/4" thick. The four corners are
there's a slot for the robot to work with.
The back has a hole in the center so the 2D bar code can be
the front has three windows and if all the open area is
scanned you can
stitch together a complete bar-code.
The center of the front (redbox on label) has a 2D bar-code in
center that's the case serial number. Marked Made In
7234609 Article dispensing system and method for same, Michael
DeLazzer, Franz Kuehnrich (redbox), Jun 26, 2007, 221/10;
221/97; 221/133; 221/191; 221/281; 221/287
this patent outlines the key features some of which are:
- each machine is linked via satellite to a central
that can interact with each machine in many ways
You can check the inventory of your local machine on line
and rent on
line then to pick up you only enter your email and zip
code and swipe
the charge card.
- The door on the front of the machine uses an RFID tag
unlock so when a cartridge is going to be replaced the
when it's approached.
- The cartridges are replaced not by a route driver like
conventional vending machines but by the driver of a
like Fedex or UPS.
- The Foodmax is open 24/7 so you now have 24/7 access to
rentals at $1 (plus tax) each including new releases.
- 2,000 DVD capacity.
11/408607 System and method for calibrating a vending
apparatus - is an
application that is mostly a continuation of the first patent.
There is a very limited number of available titles (about 200)
to a brick
and mortar Video Store (20,000) or even a supermarket video
room, let alone an on line rental system like Block Buster
or Net Flix (>100,000). This may just be a
or a business
decision by redbox? Limited phone support hours 1
(866)-733-2693 No idea what hours they are there "leave
The on line trailer feature did not work for me and at the
the store locator also had a window saying something like OOPS
Redbox has the capability of offering as many titles as the
in the end is much more expensive. For example with a
gas at $ 3.60 (Apr 2008) if you make a special trip the actual
very high. If there happens to be a redbox machine at a
frequent or on your route to or form that store then it's not
expensive. Having the mailman deliver and pickup the
be a lot lower cost option.
Some of the titles (with major U.S. actors) were made outside
and have their main (IMDB) title something other than the
uses, making it difficult to find on IMDB.
I subscribed to try out the streaming movies available on a
connected Blu-ray player (see: Home
Once I got DSL then I could get Netflix streaming, but just
barley. Netflix requires a minimum of 2 Mb/s download
speed and I'm getting about 2.2 Mb/s, so often get buffering
It turns out that the new release (popular) movies are not
available from Netflix. On the que page there are just
dozen movies that have been there for weeks marked "long wait"
long wait". I'm now using Red Box to watch these and
from my Netflix que.
The post office treats Netflix as a special case since they
are a very
high volume operation. The envelope used by Netflix is
"machinable" meaning it works on the high speed automatic mail
machines. That greatly lowers the mailing cost compared
machinable mailing pieces. Because of this the time in
quite short. Here are some examples deposited in the box
of the post office on Orchard Ave, Ukiah, CA. Pickup times:
Mon - Fri:
noon & 5:15, Sat 2:15, Sun: none.
Note the Orchard Ave facility does't sell stamps or postage,
mail trucks are loaded/unloaded and the route trucks are
Sent in bold
DVD in normal font.
Summary Table Bold for
, normal font for arrival day in mail box
tbd = to be determined
Saturday after 2:15 is the same as Monday morning.
It looks like there is no advantage is mailing prior to noon,
pickup works just the same.
It looks like my rural mail pickup is just as good as putting
return envelope in the Orchard St. post office box before the
last emptying of the
day (typically 5:15).
4 Jan 4pm
Jan 6 2
Jan 8 5
14 Jan 3
18 Jan Holiday
22 Jan 5
? reading email on Tuesday at 4:12 pm yet Netflix shipping
time stamped 12:04 pm.
It's not yet 12 pm EST so the time most likely is UTC.
The Prisoner -
of One web site -
The Avengers - Elan
DOOMSDAY - Unofficial
Page - June
1998 Movie - Adam
Richards reviews - New
Avengers - Search
Results - TV
page - James
Home Page -
The Twilight Zone - snap
- One of my favorites (screen play was in TV Guide) 6.The eye of
Plastic surgeons in some unknown society make one final attempt
a young womans face so that she can live among normal people - Lycos
Post - The
Comments to Brooke
[an error occurred while processing this directive] page created Jan.