Movies That Changed Everything: The Matrix

July 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Movies That Changed Everything

I’m an aspiring filmmaker.  Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.  This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.  Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…

The Matrix

Movies That Changed Everything The Matrix

The Matrix changed the way we looked at action movies forever. It dared to be intelligent while pushing the boundaries of technology and reality.

I missed The Matrix in theaters and I’ve regretted it ever since. The first time I saw it, I was with a group of friends and everyone kept talking.  You really have to pay attention when you’re watching it the first time.

“What the hell is going on?”

“Is anyone paying attention?”

Finally, we stopped the movie and rewound (yes rewound) it.

This time we paid attention.  I’ll never look at movies the same way again.

What is The Matrix?

“Unfortunately no one can be told what The Matrix is…  You have to see it for yourself.”

The Matrix is one of those movies that raised the bar when it came to action films. The filmmakers literally invented new techniques and visual effects that blew everyone away.

What stuck with me was how these new toys weren’t used simply because they were available.  The Wachowski Brothers used them to enhance their story.

And what a story it was!

When the film was finished, we all sat around talking about what we just saw.  We went back to watch some of the final scenes again and eventually watched the entire film again that night.

“I’ve never seen that before.”

The Matrix stuck with me because of it’s originality. It had so much depth and imagination.  With such a complicated premise it had to be difficult to pull off but they did it so effortlessly.  I have enormous respect for filmmakers who take risks and put it all on the line for an original idea.

I particularly love movies that you HAVE to watch more than once. Movies that demand you give them your full attention so you can immerse yourself in that world.  Films that achieve that kind of connection are rare but The Matrix is definitely one of them.

“It’s almost a miracle that it got made.”

That’s a quote from Laurence Fishburne from The Matrix Revisited.  In it they discuss how ambitious the script was and how difficult it was to get everyone on board.

It must have been challenging to explain the story but The Wachowski’s stuck to their guns and the risk paid off.  I wish studios would take more risks.

Inception is a good example of successful risk taking.

Movies That Changed Everything The Matrix

The Matrix is an incredible accomplishment.

So many films have imitated the film’s style and effects.  For me, The Matrix triggered an obsession with following the development of movies.

I had no idea it was coming out and even then I didn’t try hard enough to see it in theaters.  That became unacceptable and I vowed never to miss an event like The Matrix again.

These days, I’m at least aware of most main stream movies being released.  I spend an hour every day surfing movie news sites looking for information on my most anticipated movies.

The entire Matrix series is a huge success because they dare to be different.  They redefined what a ‘cool’ movie was and I still get excited whenever I go back and relive that amazing story.

The Matrix is definitely a film that changed everything.

Movies That Changed Everything

The Climb’s Poster Is Here!

July 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm

17 West Productions Independent Film Toronto

Here is the first poster for 17 West’s newest short film, The Climb.

The low budget short film was shot in Toronto and is currently in post production.

The story centers on Cameron and Destiny and their struggles on the streets. While Destiny lost all hope long ago, Cameron holds to his belief that he will find a way to change things.

It was written and directed by Jason McKinnon, produced by Eric Gamache and stars Michael Clarke and Alyssa LaPlume.

You can catch up on the film’s pre production here.

Learn more about The Climb’s 3 day shoot here.

Complete details on the production here.

Check out the film’s official page here.

The Climb Short Film 17 West Productions

Photo by Michel Savoie

Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan 2

July 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Christopher Nolan M. Night Shyamalan

In part one of Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan, I talked about wanting needing to be inspired by the movies I watch.

Both Christopher Nolan and M. Night Shyamalan have created original movies that have fueled my passion for screenwriting and filmmaking.

For years now, on the successes of The Sixth Sense and Signs, Night has been my favorite director.

However, the quality of his films have unfortunately diminished over the last few outings and left an opening for Christopher Nolan to become the new champ.

I left it all in the hands of their work.

  • Signs is my favorite movie of all time.
  • The Dark Knight sits at number 2.
  • The Sixth Sense was one of the coolest and original ghost stories ever.
  • Memento, The Prestige and Batman Begins are all solid and original films.

Both filmmakers craft interesting and entertaining movies that are filled with thrills and challenge our minds.  It’s these types of movies that inspired me to become a screenwriter in the first place.  I’m in debt to them both for constantly reminding me what hard work and dedication can achieve.

Who wins?

It was all up to the 2010 summer movie season where Shyamalan would release The Last Airbender and Nolan countered with Inception.

Director Wars: Nolan vs Shyamalan

Christopher Nolan has officially surpassed Shyamalan and become my all time favorite director.

Click here to read my review of The Last Airbender

Click here to read my review of Inception

Truthfully, it wasn’t even close.

While Signs remains my all time favorite movie, I can’t help but feel that M. Night Shyamalan has banked on his name instead of his stories to succeed.  He created three  straight classics (Or four if you count The Village.) and was basically given a blank check for his future projects.

He used his position of power to create Lady In The Water and The Happening. When those movies failed he turned to an existing property.  One of the reasons I love filmmakers like Night is because of the  original stories they create.  While I definitely didn’t enjoy his last few movies, at least he took a chance.

Having said that, he did miss and I believe he bought into his own hype.  His films had an arrogance to them.

For example:

Casting himself as a writer that would one day change the world in Lady seemed a bit out of place considering he is in fact a writer.

The Last Airbender just seemed lazy and the screenplay was the worst part.  Even after all the criticism and harsh words he has received, he still seems oblivious to the critics.  He’s more determined than ever to do things his way.

I have to admit, I respect him for that but in order to remain a massive fan, I have to enjoy his movies.  I haven’t.

I do hope he will return to form someday and make another movie that inspires me.  I won’t hold it against him like some people have over the years.  He’s putting his heart and soul into his films and I wish Hollywood studios put more faith in artists like him.  You never know when you’ll get another Sixth Sense.

On the other side of the coin is Christopher Nolan. A director who has an incredible resume.  He took original ideas and crafted outstanding screenplays (credit his brother Jonathan as well) then executed them perfectly on the screen.  His imagination seems limitless and the studios wrote him a blank check as well.

What does he do?

He creates films like The Prestige and then completely DOMINATES one of the most precious franchises of all: Batman.

Not only that, he followed up Batman Begins with arguably the finest comic book adaptation in history in The Dark Knight. A film that featured one of the best villains we’ve ever seen!

Then what?

He begins to work on a 160 million dollar passion project called Inception

The hype begins to build.

How will he follow up after the success of The Dark Knight?

Inception was a phenomenal film.  It really is a modern day classic and a masterful piece of filmmaking.  Sounds pretty deep but it is such an intelligent story that’s filled with entertaining action and visuals.  How can you not praise the high level of creativity.  Whether you loved Inception or not you have to admit it was a pretty clever story.

When you compare that to The Last Airbender, it stops being a competition.

Nolan wins this round and as a result…

I have a new favorite director!

Christopher Nolan Director Inception

The Aftermath

The race was actually closer than you might think. I have a deep respect for both of these directors.  They have each created films that have inspired the writer I wish to become someday.

We all owe a small measure of our success to those who inspired us to go down an unknown road.  A road that may not lead to success at all but thanks to films like Inception and Signs, I’m determined to find out where it goes.

Top 6 iPhone Apps For Movie News

July 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Top 6 iPhone Apps For Movie News

I’ve had my iPhone for nearly a year now and I’m constantly looking for new apps to feed my constant need for movie news.

Surprisingly, there aren’t too many around yet that focus solely on movie news.  You can easily find apps like New York Times that have entertainment sections but most of them feature more on celebrities than the movies themselves.

There are ways of getting around the lack of movie apps.

Obviously, Safari is a pretty solid option.  Many news sites and film blogs have easy to navigate mobile versions but I still tend to favor apps.  For that reason, it still doesn’t count to create an app out of a web page.

Although I did make one for this blog for faster access.

While I’m still holding my breath for a Joblo.com app, there are still a few I use every day.

Here are the top 6 iPhone apps for movie news lovers:

/Film

Easily one of the top movie blogs online.  The best app I’ve downloaded for general movie news by far.

Blastr (aka SCI FI Wire)

Looking for nerdy movie/tv and sci fi news?  This is the best of the best.  They don’t update with a ton of stories everyday but 9 out of 10 are interesting reads so it works out.

Variety

While I’ve had some issues using this app, it is still a great source of movie news when you need it.

IMDb

There are always dates or names that I HAVE to know immediately.  IMDb is the first place I go for all of that information.

Digg

This is a great app for casual reading and opinion pieces.  I head hear looking for reactions and features on the latest headlines in the film industry.  (Technology too.)

Flixter

I use this app primarily to get show times but it also has a fantastic trailer section and Rotten Tomatoes integration.  Not bad Flixter…  Not bad…

The Wishlist

I’ve tried to find the mysterious Moviefone app in the store to test but have been unable to do so.  I want answers.

Beyond that, here are a few more sites that I hope will release an iPhone app someday.

More to come as more apps are released.

PS: Let me know if I’m missing any.  I’d like this to be a Top 30 list by the end but we have a long way to go!  That is all.

Inception Ignites An Idea

July 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

The Athletic Nerd Movie Reviews Inception

(10/10)

After months of speculation and hype, Inception finally arrived and easily went beyond my enormous expectations and delivered an incredible experience.

Movies like Inception are the reason we love going to the movies!

It was the most original and interesting film I’ve seen in years. Not since The Matrix have I seen a movie so intelligent yet filled with action and thrills.

It’s an amazing achievement to create something so complicated in a way that fascinates the audience so well. It will definitely mess with your mind but your heart will be racing as you witness the incredible visuals.  Once your mind catches up you’ll be consumed by how detailed the story is.

I definitely have to see it again SOON.

I don’t even want to delve into all the surprises that Inception has because everyone should experience this film without any knowledge of the mind bomb about to explode in their brains.

It’s that good. From the writing to the acting to the amazing action sequences. I absolutely loved the zero gravity fight in the hotel.

I’ve never seen that before.

Christopher Nolan has done it again. The stories he comes up with and the teams he assembles to pull them off are at the top of their game right now.

Every film he has directed is filled with imagination and creativity.

It’s inspiring.

So much so that I stepped out of the theater humming the incredible score and thinking about my own screenplays.

Suddenly, I stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk and had a breakthrough.  I’ve been developing a drama for a while now and it’s been going well but not amazingly well.

Until today…

The Athletic Nerd Movie Reviews

I can’t explain what happened but something that I hadn’t considered occurred to me and the story took off.

It’s like Inception blew up a damn and the water started rushing forwards again.

I rushed home and quickly opened my notebook to write down the new direction I wanted to take the story.

Development can now continue because I woke up and cracked the problems I had with the story.  Everything became clear.

This is what a good movie does.  It inspires.

Inception is hands down the best movie I’ve seen in 2010 and it may be the champ come January because I’m still stunned at how incredible it was.  As a screenwriter, I’m always looking out for movies I can turn to when I need to feel inspired.

Add another movie to that list!

Click here to read more about the movies that inspire.

Inception Poster Christopher Nolan 2010