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Old Skool Media

Movies are big deals, they’re usually the culmination of years of work for a hundred or so people, and that’s without thinking about how much they cost to make at the highest scale. At heart though they are simply about showing a story, its the same reason I play games, its the same reason I read books, escapism.

Years, of video games however kind of ruined the movie for me, I’m unable to passively watch films. I’m the guy that points out how x doesn’t make sense, and how this breaks the character. There’s not many films that get past someone thinking whilst watching. A lot of the time it’s fine, but sometimes it just kinda breaks the experience.

Below are some of my favourite films, the order is irrelevant because they invoke different feelings.

ps, click on the images to watch the trailers

Up the film

Up made me cry, twice.

The film filled me with hope and with a simple desire to just go out and enjoy life.

Whilst researching this article, I’ve found no other film that can be summed up by its artwork. You have the square old man, and the young bubbly kid. They’re forced to be together out into the wilderness and the old man learns something about himself and the ex's of his deceased wife. Go back up to the top of the page, and look at their eyes in that shot.

Since watching Up, I’ve had a few Up related presents: the children's reading book which sits next to my desk, its interestingly written as it tries to convey all the subtleties of the story in a way that’s obvious for children to understand.

“Dug was discovering it wasn’t easy to attack a 12-foot-tall bird. "I am jumping on you now, bird" the dog explained. It didn’t do much good.”

The other Up related gift I have is The Art Of Up. Now this book is beautiful, and most importantly for me it show’s the process involved in making a film like this. From marker sketches in 2004 you can see the characters attitudes, and the book helps you understand the importance of shape, colour and contrast throughout the film. It’s like having a guide book.

So the film? Well the film is an experience, an old man loses his wife and is about to be shipped off to a retirement home, but in a final act of resistance he ships his house off to south america to fulfill a childhood dream - accidentally dragging a child with him. He meets his hero, and eventually realizes that its not the end but the journey that counts.

Verdict? Up is a film to share with someone else, and to keep together.

Primer the movie

Not an easy film.
Not easy at all.

As someone who ‘gets’ engineer speak I can follow the first half of this film perfectly, and I can understand the concepts of how the time machine in this film works. I start to lose the plot a bit once they’re using it however.

If you found the Matrix complex, this is off the scale, the film was made on a seriously small budget, but at no point does it feel like they had to throw away artistic integrity in order to make a shot. It’s a film about engineers accidentally making a time travel machine, and it feels like it was filmed by engineers.

XKCD ( a web comic ) is what pushed me in the direction of this film, as it featured an awesome graph of character interactions over time for Star Wars / LOTRs and Primer. View the graph.

What I like about the film is that the characters are totally genuine, the plot may be difficult to follow, but it is engrossing, its free to watch online with googlevideos and the website has an active forum still discussing the plot 6 years after its release.

Not the sort of film you watch when you’re in a bad mood, nor the kind of film you watch whilst doing something, miss a key frame or don’t think about what they’re doing could mean just floundering through the rest of the film.

But definitely a film you should check out, but it demands your full attention.

ps: this link explains it all. Its a bit of a brain-fuck though.

Primer the movie

Quirky, beautiful, thought-provoking

The Full title of this film is Synecdoche, New York. The word synedoche here is used to mean a part of something that represents the whole. In the case of this film, the part is a reconstruction of New York inside a warehouse in New York after the pivotal character gets a grant to create whatever he wishes.

The man behind the writing is Charlie Kaufman, his works include Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine in the Spotless Mind, two films I loved when I was younger. Whilst those two feature some pretty meta-film experiences, Synecdoche really pushes it.

Here we have a man, whose wife makes the most beautiful miniature paintings, but they're falling apart. He worries that he's doing nothing with his life, and out of the blue gets a grant to create his magnum opus. He creates this by a play that really shows how people are in his life, so he starts to replicate reality by hiring people to live in his city inside a warehouse. He hires people to act out all the important events in his life, and then eventually the lines blur between what is inside the Synecdoche New York, and what is in New York. It gets even more meta than that, but I'll leave the rest to those who watch it.

I found out about this film through a well-known internet message board and was surprised to find it a cool film without looking at anything online about it.

I'm obviously gonna advise you to watch it, try the trailer first, and if you like it give yourself a good 2 hours of only this film.


To be honest its pretty likely that you've seen most of these films, but if you haven't and you need some incentive, here it is.

The Dark Night

The Dark Knight

With respect to films, there was the action films before The Dark Knight, then there is action films after it.

District 9

District 9

Whilst it's easy to mock the accents in this film, it's strong story with obvious ties with reality.

Having an unlikable main character is an interesting move, but watching his life fall apart you eventually root for him.

Inglorious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino at his best, certainly my favourite film from him.

A Nazi film where you can't be too sure how it'll end.