At Face Value: Edge of Tomorrow

I had intended to shoot this review, but I’m about to leave for 2 weeks, and by then the review will almost be a month late, i say to hell with it and will start up again when i get back. In the meantime i will POST the scripts to my reviews.

Opening title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (gun loading SFX look off-screen and BANG, cut to: )

Opening Title

Edge of Tomorrow is not as original as people claim, the whole reliving one day thing (duck and gunshot) has been done before. In the genre of Comedy: we have groundhog day, in straight concept sci-fi: There’s Source code. Edge of Tomorrow, if you couldn’t guess, is sci-fi action. It’s good sci-fi action, it’s just not original.

Edge of Tomorrow is a video game made into a movie. Most action movies share connective tissue, but few really FEEL like a game. The last one like this was World War Z. That one with its jumping around to exotic locations and then fleeing from zombies was reminiscent of a Call of Duty game, just with zombies. Edge of Tomorrow is Contra. Let me be clear, it is not LIKE Contra, it IS Contra. Aliens invade, and it’s up to a pair of heroes to save the day. Unfortunately for our heroes, this game is hard as all hell. Luckily, the good guys have extra lives. When they die, the game restarts, but this time they’re a little bit wiser. They play it until they’ve memorized the patterns, then it’s a piece of cake. Granted that’s how all movies with this gimmick play out, but with the addition of alien invasions the movie makes the comparison without any help.

Story: half star

Like I said, it wasn’t terribly original. It’s still a cool concept and I love most movies that employ it. But concept isn’t the only place this movie sticks; it is utterly trope-tastic. The badass action chick, the crazy squad, the Sergeant who’s got a hard-on for war, the inevitable romance between our leads, it’s all been done to death. In spite of that, Edge of Tomorrow still has some strength in the writing. It uses the repeating concept to both humorous and serious effect. The dialogue is quite clever, and the charisma of the leads really brings out the best in it. BUT, I can’t wrap my head around the romance. I get why Cruise would fall in love, an eternity learning about her bit by bit, always putting his life in her hands. But why would she love him at all after not even 24 hours?

Acting: star

I was really on the fence about this one. I was ready to give it a half star based on the supporting cast, but after talking with a friend and fellow critic of mine, I’ve been persuaded it was worth full credit. The supporting cast and characters were cheesy and had little depth. Leading the charge for them is… Bill Paxton (stare and cut to shot of bill Paxton and back and forth). Good to see that Hudson finally got promoted I guess.

Emily Blunt is riding shotgun on this flick; to begin with she’s a very convincing rendition of the badass action chick. But as it goes on she opens up and becomes fairly ordinary. At first that annoyed me, but it grew on me as I kept thinking about it. Soldiers aren’t that hard all the way thru, they are capable of being as normal as the next guy. The performance is still excellent; Blunt very handily goes convincingly from the Full Metal Bitch to total vulnerability. She’s just an excellent actress, in movies that may be lackluster, she still manages to shine.

I’ve always been in Tom Cruise’s corner, sure he’s been in lousy movies, turned in lacking performances, and had an…interesting personal life. Regardless of all those faults, he’s never really had a time where he didn’t have great performances too. To offset Rock of Ages, Vanilla Sky, Oblivion, we’ve had Tropic Thunder, The Last Samurai, and Collateral.  This movie belongs in the latter. Like blunt, he runs a full range, starting at a total jackass moving on to hero. I’d like to add it’s so refreshing seeing him in an action movie where he does more than sprinting.

Visual: Star

It looked really good. The exo-suit was fairly similar to other designs from sci-fi, but that doesn’t stop it from working quite well. Hell, they thought through them enough to even get not one, but several jokes out of it. The aliens looked pretty sweet, almost instantly reminded me of the demon from Princess Mononoke. I really do wish we could’ve seen the drones better, how they fight, what they look like up close. This may sound similar to the complaints about Transformers, but it really isn’t. Transformers doesn’t even give the aliens the dignity of getting them in frame. The Mimics are really fast, so when they ARE framed (and are quite often) they are simply moving too much to get a good focused view. A fundamental difference.

Sound: Half star

…there was music, there was sound. Sounded like any other sci-fi action blockbuster. Not a thing in this department stood out. I’ve said no news is good news, but it needs to have something to offset. When nothing is noticeable I don’t have  a lot to go on.

Fun: Full star

It was clever, funny and hell, and the action was solid. Yes it’s full of clichés, but clichés exist because we love them, and they work here. I’m a total sucker for time travel shenanigans and I just ate it up here. I will be buying this movie and watching it again, it’s fun to see the little things they usually go for in these movies.

Total: 4 stars

In spite of all its flaws, mediocre supporting cast, slightly shaky visuals, and generic story structure… it totally worked. It all worked. The flaws fall into place in such a way that makes the whole even better. The whole world is a cliché, as a result, the mimics know what’s going to happen because it’s all been done before, not just in this movie, but in all the movies before it. The movie points out the tropes, uses them, and then seeks to climb over the obstacles just to make victory that much more epic. Edge of Tomorrow, I tip my hat to you.

At Face Value

SO i’ve moved up in the food chain, kinda. I’ve progressed to making video reviews entitled At Face Value. I’ve no fixed schedule at this point, and so far i’ve only reviewed movies in theaters. I suspect at some point i’ll go into more in-depth reviews of older movies. But since i work full time and only do this in my free time I’m slow at making them. I’ll link the videos to here and attach the blog to my vids.

Enjoy, AT FACE VALUE

Godzilla

X-Men: Days of Future Past

 

Another Year

…*shifty glance* yes I’m a horrible blogger; I admit that. I’m still working on going over to Vlogs and podcasts, but i’m sure you all know how well that’s going. So I finally have a job, been keeping busy, it’s been nice. After i stopped the blog again i stopped going to weekly movies. but I still saw some. (i’ll list those i’ve already done reviews on as well)

Django Unchained: ★★★★★ (yes it came out 2012, but i didn’t see it til 2013 so :P )

Warm Bodies: ★★★.5  Hoult was REALLY good as R, but the rest were ok. visuals and sound were nothing special. I thought it was very clever, a sympathetic zombie. didn’t see it til the summer on Netflix.

Side Effects: ★★★ Good story, but the rest of it was pretty forgettable. I prefer Contagion (its predecessor)

Spring Breakers: ★★★.5 It was quite an experience. The overall effect was numbing, but not just from boredom. It really was striving to reach an emotional deadness in tone and character. acting and story? eh. I appreciate how it worked, but i can’t really say I ENJOYED it.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Saw it on an airplane. An honest waste of talent. LAME, NEXT

Olympus has Fallen: ★★.5 it’s everything you’d expect, nothing special, but nothing really bad either. overall very unremarkable.

Iron Man 3: ★★★★.5  Marvel once again brought its A-game. acting wasn’t great, but everything else was really good. RDJ is really good, but i don’t feel like the performances were great, just what we’ve come to expect. Dialogue wasn’t quite as good as Avengers, but it’s made up for in character development and the big twist (which i really liked). Sound and visual were both really good.

The Great Gatsby: ★★★.5 It’s a very solid adaptation of the classic novel, but it really doesn’t do much with it. It feels like it just slapped it up on the screen with the Baz Luhrman visuals and not much else (it WAS very pretty). I’ve seen all the actors do better, they’re all good actors, but not doing much here. I was kinda bored with it by the end, ah well.

Star Trek: Into Darkness: ★★★ I was really annoyed at the story of this one. There is no new character development, and the ripping off of Wrath of Khan was WAAY over the top. The actors were solid, but no progress from what they did last time. Cumberbatch is solid as Khan, but his character was poorly written. Sound and Visuals were still really good…when i could see what the hell was going on (bloody shaky cams and Lens flare). the obscuring effects seemed to tone down in the second half of the movie (but the first half was almost criminal how little i could really see).

Much Ado About Nothing: ★★★★

Man of Steel: ★★★

This is the End: ★★★.5 I thought it was really funny and well written. Nothing special in visual or audio. I will say this: I REALLY dislike Jonah Hill, here was no exception, I wanted to punch him pretty much the entire movie.

World War Z: ★★★.5

White House Down: ★★★ I liked this one better than Olympus has Fallen. They were both mediocre on pretty much all counts, so why is this one better? White House Down recognized how silly the premise was and ran with it, it went for campy action, running with so many action tropes. and for me that’s good, i’d rather let a movie be silly than be hollow action beats.

Pacific Rim: ★★★★ (i’m gonna devote a whole review to this one)

Red 2: ★.5 I was truly disappointed by this one, but my parents loved it. I could not follow it at all, i had only half an idea of why things were happening. If i can get Inception and (kinda) get Donnie Darko on the first go, you REALLY screwed up if i can’t follow.

Sharknado: oh the movie was absolutely terrible. AND THAT’S WHAT MADE IT SO FUN! it’s a terribad movie (so bad it’s good) but I still can’t give it points for anything since it really did suck.

Don Jon: ★★★★ I quite liked it, tho i can’t vouch for the accuracy of their N.J. accents. It was fairly predictable, but presented in a way that made it feel more original. The visuals and audio were solid, but not remarkable. I guess it was just carried on pure charisma, and you know what? that’s not always a bad thing. that’s the reason I enjoy Brothers (2009)

Gravity: ★★★★.5 I tried very hard not to watch this movie, i held a grudge on it for ages, but EVERYONE i listen to in the film community was RAVING about it. so i caved and saw it (in 3D). and it was as good as everyone promised it would be. STUNNING use of CG. AMAZING utilization of music, but more importantly it used silence. I cannot stress how powerful silence is, and yet so few movies really use that to their advantage. Sandra Bullock was pretty good, but I was more impressed by George Clooney. I can’t say why, that spoils the joke. My one complaint is i probably would have ended the movie about 5 minutes earlier (just me). i hope the movie is still as good without insane surround and a bug screen.

Thor: The Dark World: ★★★: Honestly i think this is one of the weakest Marvel films in this continuity (if not the weakest) Poor pacing, not great writing. It was very pretty to look at, but beyond that i wasn’t impressed. HOWEVER. the mid-credit spoiler had me silently screaming with joy.

Catching Fire: ★★★★ SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE FIRST ONE!! good direction, better handling of the adaptation. Most of their cuts made sense (tho some of their additions made things too obvious for the uninitiated). The action scenes flowed so much better, if only there were more in the third act. Music…kinda sucked, I’m not a fan of James Newton Howard’s score, it’s not BAD, but it could be so much more. Acting was very good. Jennifer Lawrence has in the last year become my new celebrity crush (sorry Natalie, but you being a momma means i gotta move on, but i still love you).

Frozen: ★★★★.5 it looked so generic from its ads, but were they so wrong. It seems Disney is draining the life and power out of Pixar and funneling it into their own pictures. Story was original (for a Disney movie). the voice acting was very good, they’re all good singers, there’s something different…It was very pretty. Where it really shines tho is the songs. look up “Let It Go”, no seriously look it up now. my one problem was act 3, there was not a single song in the last third, it really felt weird considering how many songs were in the first third. I wish it had been longer, I wanted another song or two, and i really wanted to see more development of Elsa (the snow queen), but disney movies it seems can’t be more than 100 minutes anymore (stares sadly at Mary Poppins). I’d like to add this: the opening cartoon “Get a Horse” was one of the most infuriating things i’ve ever seen. It totally insulted the magic of Mickey, turning him into something shallow and mean. Most critics love it, but i REALLY REALLY REALLY hated it. It actually ruined the first few minutes of Frozen i was seething so bad. (thank god frozen cooled my temper with its awesome music).

Favorite movie i saw? Pacific Rim. Loved it :D BEST movie i saw this year (not counting Django) i’d probably say Gravity.

Movies i still want to see from the year: Oz the Great and Powerful, Evil Dead (to compare), Trance (i hear it’s quite good), Now you see me, Lone Ranger ( i gotta see the trainwreck myself to believe it, but i totally called how much it was gonna bomb), the way way back, Wolverine, The Spectacular Now, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2 (…kinda), The World’s End, Rush, 12 years a Slave, All is Lost, Blue is the warmest Color, Mr Nobody, The Wind Rises, American Hustle, Saving Mr Banks, Wolf of Wallstreet, August: Osage County

Much Ado About Something

I love Joss Whedon. He makes so much awesome stuff, Firefly, Buffy, Dr Horrible, THE AVENGERS. What’s it about his movies and shows that are so amazing (to me)? for me it’s his characters and actors. He seems to bring the best out of all his actors, especially with incredible characters with some of the most clever dialogue known to man. This is why i rushed to see Much Ado About Nothing. Whedon and Shakespeare? I’m sold.

STORY: One Star ★: It’s Sheakespeare word for word (slightly abridged). You have to be stark raving mad to give that man less than full marks. So I’ll talk about the story behind the movie. From what i’ve read, Whedon would have his actor friends over to his house on a semi-regular basis and they’d read Shakespeare together. There was about two weeks between shooting and editing The Avengers, he decided to use that time to gather his actor friends and shoot this movie. I was a tad worried it’s be a little silly and over the top (like Ocean’s 12). It turned out quite well :D

Acting: One Star ★: Like i said, Whedon picks great actors. One thing. DO NOT go in looking for something EVEN CLOSE to a Kenneth Branagh production of Shakespeare. Those are very bombastic, actors chewing the scenery. The actors are much more smooth in this production. The chemistry between Benedick and Beatrice is still quite solid, the actors don’t have to be married to work well off each other. Sean Maher as Don John is kinda bland, but he’s still more interesting than Keanu Reeves :) . Nathan Fillion, My hetero man crush, is great as Dogberry, and that’s not just me saying it as a fanboy. My viewing group all loved his performance.

Sound: Half Star: Nothing special, but not bad. I like Joss Whedon’s simplistic score, it’s a lot like the stuff i wrote in school. He also had some interesting…adaptations of the Shakespeare songs, made em sound modern :D .

Visual: Half Star: Sure it was black and white, but nothing really sticks out. it was simple, effective, but simple and effective doesn’t impress me to a full star. I loved the look of the location and costumes (shot at Whedon’s house).

Enjoyability: 1 Star ★: It had a lot of very funny moments. And as I said before I really like both Whedon and Shakespeare, so that kind of material appeals to me naturally. *Shrug* not much more to say on my behalf. I think you’ll enjoy it if you like witty dialogue and good acting, this movie is FULL of it, but of course you have to be ok with dated vocabulary and style. That is one thing i liked about it as well. The actors spoke very clearly, it’s a common problem in Shakespeare that they get so into the line you can’t hear what they’re actually saying.

Mr. Whedon, I invite you to produce more Shakespeare movies. Of course first you need to get the Avengers 2, Dr Horrible 2, and Rebooting Firefly (I can dream) off of your plate. SO, movie was quite good ★★★★, I’d recommend it, but I know it’ll not be for everyone. Reviews coming up: White House Down (very silly) and because I’m watching it right now: Inception

 

 

Rating System

I know i promised a review of World War Z. I will get to that, today was car shopping and i didn’t that night because i was on a date.

It occurs to me that I don’t have a standard rating system across all movies, i give numbers just on how i’m feeling. i can say 7/10 or 3.5 stars, but what does that mean?

SO i’ve decided i will work on a star rating system AS FOLLOWS:
Each star is its own category, if it’s good or better = 1 star. Eh = .5. Bad = no star in that category.
CATEGORIES: Story (character development too), Acting, Sound (music included), Visual, Was it enjoyable (to me and perhaps anyone i saw it with). The last could also be rated on rewatchability, it’s flexible

here’s that rating system applied to the movies i’ve reviewed:

  • Last Samurai: ★★★★★
  • Sunshine: ★★★★1/2 (story is flawed, but i still love it)
  • Princess Mononoke: ★★★★1/2 (again flawed but love it)
  • Transformers 1: ★★★ (half stars in both acting and visual, no star in story)
    • Transformers 2: ★ (half visual, half audio)
    • Transformers 3: ★★(no story nor acting stars)
  • Hunger Games: ★★★1/2 (story and visual effects were weak, kinda enjoyable)
  • Amazing Spiderman: ★★1/2 (entirely Eh)
  • Premium Rush: ★★★★1/2 (they’re all good except story which wasn’t bad)
  • Django Unchained: ★★★★★
  • Phantom of the Opera: ★★★1/2 (story and acting were weak)
  • Man of Steel: ★★★ (good visuals, audio mostly enjoyable and fair acting, but NO story)
  • World War Z: ★★★1/2 (fantastic sound and action, not great effects acting or story)

it’s funny, on just an opinion system some i would have rated higher, like sunshine or mononoke, or some lower like premium rush which i wouldn’t give more than a 4. Guess the new system is keeping me in line and standard. I can live with that.

World War Z to come. I will be seeing Much Ado about Nothing this Monday, i will review that too.

Once More with feeling…

I’m a bad blogger, i keep getting discouraged/busy and leave it.

UPDATES THEN: I’ve now graduated from University of Tulsa. I was SO glad to get back from New Zealand. Tho an educating experience with some bright moments, overall it was a very bad trip.

The Future of the blog: So now i’m trying to go semi-pro on this stuff. As such i’ve dedicated time each week to go see a new movie and then review it. This should work better since I’d have to conjure up ideas before, now every week it’s already there. ALSO I’m planing on transforming this stuff into Vlogs. I’m gonna start by just recording me talking about the movie after it’s over (a la Brad Jones Midnight reviews). I’m also working on producing short films for sites, hopefully that will lead to money in my pocket, experience under my belt, and a stepping stone to make better reviews.

So first off: MAN OF STEEL

CALLED IT

CALLED IT

Watch the link before the post, please?

THE OSCARS: Gotta say I predicted about 90% of them, then again, they’re not that hard. I was surprised by Cristophe Waltz (but not disappointed). I really though Tommy Lee Jones had it in the bag. The ones that DID upset me was the ever popular snub of Ben Affleck for director (c’mon even MacFarlane pointed it out). the other was Skyfall not winning cinematography. I’m sure Life of Pi was gorgeous (didn’t see it), but MY GOD was Skyfall GREAT for its cinematography :P . The rest I may not agree with, but I do understand them all, which I can’t say for every year.

I wish i could’ve WATCHED it, but I didn’t have access, but i could follow teh awards and saw a post on the key jokes of the show. I REALLY want to see a video of the Les Mis cast singing one day more, LOVE that song. I’ve not seen it, but from some of the jokes, I liked MacFarlane, he was a bit coarse as you’d expect, but I like that. THERE obligatory Oscars commentary. :)

Never Met a Stranger

My momma always said: “Wherever you went, you never met a stranger” (there, got the Forrest Gump reference out of my head and potentially yours). She was absolutely right in this statement, I often strike up conversations with random people I meet, no matter where I am. I love to have someone to talk to, some of my friends I’m sure would claim I like having someone to talk AT, but i assure you that is not the case. (talking a lot doesn’t mean i don’t want return talking as well).My favorite example of this trait in me: When I was I think 9, I met a boy on the beach of a small Florida town, about 2 years later, I met him again. We both had relatives in the town (it’s heavily older retired folks) but I met a random kid, and years later we ran into each other again AND recognized each other. ANYWAYS, this article is to those strangers I have met here in NZ, and the fun I had with them. I admit, I don’t remember most of their names, comes from chatting for less than an hour and not being strong with names.

First is the one I saw on a semi-regular basis, so I guess she doesn’t count, but it’s my blog so I’ll talk about her: Teresa. Teresa is another intern in the Globalinks program in Wellington. However, her program is very different than mine. First off: she arrived in the country 2 weeks before the rest of us and didn’t have an orientation weekend. I really don’t envy her for that, but there is a method to her madness. This past week, she left for Australia to do a term in a University there, so she had to arrive early to get in 6 weeks before school picked back up. Ok, enough stalker-ish info.  I don’t know if the two of us would have ordinarily been friends, but that’s part of making friends with strangers. More importantly, we were both Americans. It’s just really nice to being able to quickly relate on background, current situation, etc. So we hung out from time to time, grabbing meals, went to the zoo, little things. Teresa was sadly my only consistent friend thus far, guess I need to promote one of my acquaintances. Have fun in Australia, the land where everything can kill you!

Next “friends” of note are Katja and Steffi, from Cologne, Germany. I only met them this past weekend on a bus ride north to Whangarei. I admit, I’m surprised that my ice-breaker actually gave them reason to chat with me, I recognized that they were conversing in German, and said so (clever, right?). The three of us chatted on the 2-3 hours on the bus to our stop. Conveniently they were staying at the same hostel as me that night, so I continued to hang out with them for the remainder of the day. They are quite lovely, and I enjoyed their company. We didn’t have a terrible amount of common ground, so much of our conversations was back story and talking about New Zealand. Their English was impressive, they could keep up with me even at my ridiculous speaking pace :P . Steffi said she enjoyed the practice/challenge and appreciated that I didn’t overly simplify my vocabulary for them (slightly degrading I’d imagine). I gotta say, Europeans amaze me with their knowledge of the English language, it’s really easy to forget that they don’t speak it normally, though with Steffi and Katja it was easier to remember because they still spoke to each other in German. Trip is just starting for you two, so I hope it continues to be amazing!

NEXT! ACTORS! I only did one week of work on the set with Martin Square, but in that time i was able to make friends with a few of the actors, Ben and Charley. Charley is one of the MANY street performers in Wellington, his weapon of choice is beatboxing, particularly dubstep. Ben, not sure what he does, but he too loves making movies. He even tried to get my most recent script off me to get it made with him and his friends in Auckland. I politely declined, I want to shoot “Stuffed Giraffe” myself. I fear I’m becoming one of those guys who doesn’t want to trust another director with his scripts. I connected with them both (separately) mostly over a mutual love of movies. That seems to be my standard way to bond these days, group ranting about movies. It’s so easy for me, and SO many people love movies that it’s often a good choice. I say that, but then I instantly think how it’s kinda funny that all my friends at TU really AREN’T movie people (Joey and Lydia, my movie pals, aren’t AT TU at this point). Boys! keep making awesome movies!

In the same vein, but different location, is Chris. I met Chris while killing time in Martinborough (small wine town) while waiting for my bus. Chris is from England, I feel like I’ve met a lot of transplanted Brits here. He’s in acting school, talking with him was so simple, able to (once again) ramble on about movies. However, there was a nice change of pace: not only did he ramble back, but with the same amount of passion for the art, not just the entertainment. He recommended I watch Human Traffic, a British movie I’ve never heard of, but I trust his taste enough to give it a try. See you at the Oscars sir!

Now i get into the short mentions of those that didn’t stick quite as thoroughly in my mind. My two friends from my Poor Knights Island dives (I can’t believe i can’t remember their names since it was only yesterday since I last saw them). One (a lady) is from San Diego, but has lived in this part of the world for about 18 months. The other (a guy) is from Denmark, he said that he’s soon going to Asia. Once again we chatted about movies and background, and of course: diving. Next is the couple i met in a Japanese restaurant  on Valentine’s Day, we talked mostly about the sights in both NZ and the US. I hope i didn’t spoil their dinner together, but they insisted it was a pleasure to chat. Last one that sticks out in my mind are Zach and Sami (sorry about spelling). I also met them on Valentine’s Day, but instead this was when i was returning to my flat. We chatted for about 5 minutes, starting with me pointing out how his shoe was untied at a crosswalk. Once again, film was my ally, they are Journalism students, avid film people too.

The nice thing about meeting strangers is I can have the same conversation topics with little trouble. Telling stories and talking about movies are the easiest topics for me, for them to always be fresh conversation is great. In NZ it’s even easier, everyone starts by asking where I’m from and what do I do back in the states. It’s great to have a pal to just pass the time with. Don’t be afraid to say hi to people on the street, how bad can it be if they don’t want to talk? With that I’m off. Hasta Luego!

Week 1

So this post is REALLY overdue, since week one ended almost two weeks ago.

DAY ONE: Tuesday, we had Monday off since it was a holiday. I get to the office, nervous but excited (I didn’t sing the song though). It didn’t start well, Started by mistaking the Director for my boss, not the best foot to land on. Inside I meet my boss, Jeff, for about 30 seconds, he quickly sends me upstairs to meet Sadie, The production manager. Well Sadie isn’t here, so i sit myself down and wait. About half an hour later one of the other editors invites me to sit in on an editing session, spent about an hour with them. They were nice, still chat with them when they’re around, but I made a point to stay out of their way. After that I go upstairs to find people in a rush. My first chore is to go to the equivalent of Office Max, which was a few blocks away, and print some pictures. I’d like to point out I’d been in the city…5 days? So I had NO idea where this place was. Lucky me i was given a crude map of where to go and found it with little problem. When I got back to the office, everyone was gone. Once again i turn to my map, the location was really close but in a University…easier said than done to find a specific place in a university when you don’t have specific directions. I wasn’t dressed to be running about on a hot summer’s day. I was told to wear business casual, in the US that’s a polo and slacks. Apparently in NZ that’s dressy, business casual is a t-shirt and shorts, i took to that nicely. So I find them, I spend the majority of the afternoon being the extra muscle, moving boxes and tables, fun stuff. After “lunch” which served at 5 in the evening, I was assigned to work with Byron, the Gaffer (that’s the guy who’s in charge of lights). Very quickly he was asking for tools, between his accent and not knowing lighting tools beyond the basic led me to be VERY lost. He was awesome though, he was very easy with me, even took about 5 minutes to just walk me around his truck and give me a crash course what everything was and where they were kept. For me the day ended about 8, for everyone else, I hear it went to about 1 in the morning. They didn’t want to torture the intern, or so they said. Well i was exhausted after my first day, but by the end of it I was having a good time.

DAY TWO: I met up with the crew about 10 in the morning at the office for transportation, today we were shooting in a house. From here til the end of the week i was the essentially the best boy (the guy who helps the gaffer). From time to time i would do other tasks for the crew, but My main responsibility was to help Byron. Starting this day i started working a lot for Ants, who was in charge of unit. Unit is the group that makes sure there is coffee, water, and munchies for the cast and crew. This job is not as simple as you’d think and there are sacred rules that one should NEVER break. for example, NEVER go through the unit boxes, it’s tantamount to breaking and entering to them. I learned some very interesting info about the shoot that day too,only one of the people i was working with were part of Martin Square. They’re all freelancers working for Red Sky productions (company owned by the director). This day was fairly simple, watch the stuff, and occasionally fetch some equipment from the truck.

DAY THREE & FOUR: I put these together since they were essentially the same, we were shooting in a lecture hall at a local hospital. I was never allowed on set, so i sat in the lobby with the sacred duty of making sure that the gear never went walkabout. These 2 days were not as eventful, more practical application rather than learning. For example, i was asked several times to grab some things for Byron, never had to ask twice. He wanted quackers? i ran to his truck and grabbed him the quackers. But it was good.

So after the first four days i felt pretty good about my internship, but alas I’ve not been on set since then. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot, but I do as they tell me. They want me in the studio for now so here I sit. Working on a script with a stuffed giraffe :)

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy (still love input on future reviews)

Orientation

If you told me I’ve only been in country 10 days, I’d say you’re mental, can’t be that short. Well, now it’s been…just about 2 weeks, two weeks tomorrow when I arrived here (I take far too long to actually write these posts). They’re gonna come in spurts, I can’t submit them from my residence, the internet is VERY limited. Therefore I need to wait till I have a free moment at work. Right then, status report.

We were met at the airport and taken to our initial housing: a Hostel. I had never seen a hostel before so I really had no idea what to expect. I best sum it up as a hybrid of a hotel and a dorm. The room is just your bed, kitchens are open access. Overall it was quite nice, tho a tad cramped with all my suitcases in addition to my roommate’s. We went on a basic walking tour of Wellington, saw the major places. That afternoon we mostly had off, then dinner, nothing big. The major challenge of the day was staying awake till 8-9. I had been awake since Monday morning. In order to quickly adjust to New Zealand time schedule, I needed to stay awake until about midnight Tuesday (home time). The time difference is (to Phoenix) 4 hours behind, but a day ahead or rather 20 hours ahead, I find the former easier.

Day two started with ZEALANDIA! It’s a nature preserve at the edge of town. They surrounded it with a 10 foot tall fence. The trees are cleared about 9 feet to each side of the fence. They are VERY serious about keeping predators; they even had us inspect our pockets and bags to ensure we weren’t bringing anything with us into the preserve. It was beautiful, but cold. The weather the first few days was not nice, cold, windy and misty (It has since warmed up). I couldn’t take the pictures I wanted, My long lens was MIA (deep in the suitcases) so I made do with the shorter one, but that means in pictures you’ll see white blobs instead of birds (once I find internet capable of such uploads). That afternoon and evening we had to ourselves, I just hid in my room, I was still quite tired.

Day three was cool. We began with a tour around Wellington to see shooting locations from LORD OF THE RINGS. It was cool, but not quite what you’d expect. If you’ve ever seen Plymouth Rock, it’s like that, still cool, but not as big as anticipated, at least for me. For example, the filming locations for Helm’s Deep and Minas Tirith is a quarry, we got to look at a quarry from the far side of the road (it’s still working). I think my favorite was up on Mt Victoria. Up there the shortcut to mushrooms and night scenes with the Ringwraith were shot. It was cool to look up a hill and see where they made the famous silhouetted shot of the wraith. That afternoon was Te Papa, a giant museum on the Harbor of New Zealand, it’s a museum, not TOO much to say. Ate dinner with an intern who had been here 2 weeks, by herself (don’t envy her for that).

Now we’re on Saturday. From here on I’m on my own. That morning I was put in a taxi and sent to my new apartment. It’s a lot like a hotel room, not bad. The rest of the place looks as though it used to be quite nice, but it’s since fallen into disrepair. I’ve never once seen someone that works here, though things occasion are cleaner than when I saw them last. Well this is when it really hit me: I was essentially alone with NO clue what to do. That was a hard day, felt like crap, called home, the works. This is what we call “culture shock”. No matter how big and strong you are, you will break down crying at least once in confusion from the shock. EVERYONE I’ve talked to (a large pool) says the same thing. I am much better now, kinda settled in.

Thoughts: The food here is…ok, mostly small places, still trying to find places I’ll regularly visit. If you come here, I hope you like Thai/Malaysian/Indian, you’ll be eating that a lot. That’s not the problem, the REAL problem is prices. Yes the American dollar is worth a little more than the New Zealand Dollar, but thing here cost about twice as much, so your money doesn’t go quite as far. It’s been tricky finding affordable places that provide food I’ll enjoy many times. Also need to budget my money, 20 weeks is a long time. Alright, I’m off, I’ll tell about week one at work soon, probably type it up tonight. Cya!