Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from GreaseCar.com.

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.

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Ten Worst Movies of 2008

3 January 2009

After going-on about creationism, the New World Order and other disagreeable people I know or have encountered, I’ve decided to do something just for entertainment value.

My favorite Movie reviewer on YouTube, Fury of the Flim Fan, has posted his choices for the ten worst Movies of 2008.


Part One (#10 to #6)

Part Two (#5 to #1)

It’s hard to imagine the contempt that some in Hollywood must feel for us when they release movies like these. Honestly, in these hard economic times, when people are struggling to make ends meet, how some directors and producers think that releasing any movie is better than releasing no movie at all.

But, I’m not letting others off the hook either.

The actors that starred in these films are partly to blame. They must have known how bad these movies were when they read the script. They could have refused to act in these films and not had their share of the blame for these abominations.

And speaking of scripts, after the writers went on strike, I was all in favor of them getting their fair share of the proceeds from the results of their work. I feel that the writers of these frakking pieces of excrement should be run out of the country and never allowed back in. Permanent exile from the USA should be their punishment for putting pen to paper and helping create these things.

Here is the actual list of Fury’s Ten Worst Films of 2008, in reverse order.
10. Babylon A.D.
9.   Hell Ride
8.   10,000 B.C.
7.   88 Minutes
6.   The Happening
5.   The Hottie & The Nottie
4.   In The Name Of The King
3.   Postal
2.   Meet the Spartans
1.   Disaster Movie

Actress Leelee Sobieski actually “starred” in two of these movies and was blamed for contributing to their degree of excrementitude (is that a word?), along with the unapologeticlly awful writing and directing. Leelee actually was nominated for various awards for her acting in other films, but the last time she won anything – a Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Mini-Series/Made for TV Film for A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries – was back in 1999 and the last time she was even nominated was back in 2002 – for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for Uprising – and she received numerous nominations for her starring role in Joan of Arc in 2000. But, in the intervening years, her standards for what movies she will appear in have slipped into low-budget, low-quality Bantha poodoo.

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer share the blame for two worst films of 2008. Both Fury and I agree that these two men must have a very low opinion of movie audiences in America when they’ve released two such horrible films. While I liked parts of Meet the Spartans, overall the movie took a joke and ran it into the ground numerous times and the gay jokes got tiresome after the first ten minutes. The follow-up Disaster Movie was the biggest disaster of 2008.

And that’s a fact!

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YouTube Movie Reviewers

28 December 2008

I don’t know how many times I’ve read a movie review in the newspaper or seen one on TV, gone to the movie and hated it, even though the reviewer loved it. Sometimes they got it right. Sometimes not. Of course, I always knew that they did it for a living, with their network or newspaper paying them to review movies.

For the most honest opinions, I’d simply ask my friends how they liked the film and usually go by that. If they liked the film, I’d go see it. If not, I’d usually wait until it came out on video.

With YouTube, I found several people who opened channels where they would review films. I found that their opinions were the most trustworthy, since they weren’t beholden to any corporate body, being just regular people who like going to movies.

To be credible, they must have a thorough background knowledge of actors, producers and directors which gives them added information in reviewing a film. If a director or producer has a good track record, the movie is more likely to be a good one. The same is true if they have a bad or lukewarm track record. An informed review is better than simply having some guy with a cam sitting in front of his computer on a ten-minute rant. The sound quality and production of their videos are uniformly good and I recommend linking to them and checking-out their reviews before you go see your next film.

The most popular, with 20,000+ subscribers is Mr Black’s Movie Reviews. He once had a long list of reviews on YouTube, until some one filed DMCA claims against him. I’m not sure if he contested them or not, but he never used actual clips from the films, just the trailers. Such use would easily fall under the Fair Use section of the DMCA which allows use of clips for the purposes of commentary, such as a movie review.

He branched-out with a second channel in order to comment on social issues, keeping it seperate from his movie channel. I subscribed to that one also, but won’t link it here, as it has nothing to do with movies.

Unfortunately, Mr Black took a long hiatus from YouTube for personal reasons and he had people (including myself) scared to death that something had happened to him. After contacting him direclty, he replied that he was soon to return and begin reviewing movies again.

Mr Black’s “reviewer voice” is straightforward and his diction is good. His reviews and knowledge of movies are the result of long years of watching and collecting movies. He once posted a video displaying his collection of DVDs and the sheer number of them is staggering!

Until he does come back to YouTube on a regular basis, his reviews are missed and I hope for his impending return.

I have to admit that I was once totally reliant upon Mr Black review films for me. If he hadn’t reviewed it, I would stay away from the film unless friends of mine had seen and liked it. That was until another channel opened-up and that channel is Fury of the Film Fan.

With slightly over 2000 subscribers, Fury (as he often calls himself and his fanbase refers to him) has as extensive knowledge of movies as does Mr Black. The number of reviews has grown over past months and I became utterly reliant upon his reviews, as I had with Mr Black.

Fury does take a stand when he has gone to see a film that he feels insults the audience’s intelligence. “Meet the Spartans” was a review he excoriated in his review, much to the outrage of the film’s fanbase. Likewise, he also trashed “Disaster Movie” for its utter stupidity. After the abuse he took for his “Meet the Spartans” review, most people might back-off giving a negative review of a film like that again. Not so with Fury. If he feels that a director or producer has taken the easy route and released a film that is subpar, he will take a stand and state that the movie-going audience deserves better and the fact is that we do.  There are no Sacred Cows on this channel.

Fury has also involved his wife in making videos and he has talked about seeing movies with his wife and son. He bridges the distance between himself and you by letting us know a bit about himself, without giving too much away, which is always a good idea, due to the abusive crazies who haunt the Internet.

Fury is likeable, personable and usually responds to emails that I have sent to him. He does care about his subscribers and that’s always a plus. You will seldom see a movie reviewer that works for a TV network or newspaper that spends any time responding to letters from a reader or viewer. I am surprised at his low number of subscribers and the low view counts on his videos, as he is a top-notch reviewer who I think could actually do this sort of thing professionally and I have told him so.

Still another channel devoted to movies is Chuck the Movie Guy who doesn’t really do that many reviews of movies and most of his videos are actually interviews of actors. His videos look like they were taken right off a television newscast. It’s a good channel if you like seeing stars interviewed, not so good for reviews, though. He is a little shy of 9000 subscribers, which is a respectable number and there is an opening for channels which concentrate on interviewing movie stars. I give him points for the quality of his videos and his ability to nail-down famous people for interviews.

Probably the most original review channel is Spill.Com which is actually done as a cartoon! They have over 11,500 subscribers.

The reviewers provide the voices for their respective cartoon representations and it sounds like a group of friends who get together to review films. A good channel and I almost always agree with their assesments. However, I do prefer to have a single voice for my reviewer and having several people all reviewing a movie took a bit of getting used-to. But, it is an entertaining channel.

Another channel with a similar format is Blunty3000 which has four guys sitting at a table talking about movies. With 51,485 subscribers, they have even more subscribers than Mr Black, but the channel isn’t exclusively for movie reviews. They also talk about video games, do interviews and talk about the latest tech toys out on the market. Not a strictly movie review channel, but a good all-around spot to catch-up on news about interesting things.

Another channel is The Don and Murph show which stars two guys and they do seem to have a story that they act-out in the review, but I just can’t get past how irritating their voices are. They have almost 7700 subscribers, but I can’t count myself among them.

They used to do quite a number of movie reviews, but lately have been posting videos not related to films. It’s not a horrible channel, but it isn’t one I plan to subscribe to anytime soon.

So, my three favorite movie review channels on YouTube are:

  1. Fury of the Film Fan
  2. Spill.Com
  3. Mr Black’s Movie Reviews

There is no order of preference here, as they are all good reviewers. On a personal level, I like Fury the best.

Just my opinions.

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