Friday, August 27, 2010

AllMoPs 2

All Manner of Plugs: Issue 2 (8.27.2010)
a weekly recommendations email

Written by J.S. Lewis

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Here we go! Issue 2! The first step is often considered the most important. No matter what direction, what decision, what destination, the first step starts you there. However, the second step speaks volumes. The second step is the first step to demonstrate a continuation. There are three times: none, once, and more than once. The second step is the beginning of "more than once." Okay, I'll stop. Thanks for plugging in again!

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Michel Gondry is one of world' s greatest visionaries. He is the guy behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "The Science of Sleep," and yes, sweded films. He occasionally brings his ideas to the realm of music videos. Also, this is a pretty sweet song.

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*This section will feature links to rather random items, like today's video of a dancing panda:

I'm not sure what is more worth highlighting, the baby panda in this clip or the annoying commentary by the lady filming it. Decide for yourself.

I came across this link on a friend's blog (tifsong.). Just click on the plug and begin scrolling down the page and be amazed.

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Familiar with "Fable"? It is a very successful series from one of the most creative video game developers, Lionhead Studios, and their ringleader Peter Molyneux. I was a huge fan of the first (a revolutionary action-RPG), but have only spent a little time with the second. The third installment is coming out on October 26 for the Xbox 360 and the opening cinematic for the game has been released. Like last week's clip for the new "BioShock" game, it is one of the best in recent memory and works just fine as a short film (with or without knowledge of the game itself, though with is obviously more rewarding). Seriously, this stuff is on par with the Pixar shorts they show before each feature! Do yourself a favor and check it out.

"Halo: Reach" is nearly among us. It falls into trembling hands on September 14th. I will be responsible for two of them. As part of their advertising campaign they have released several trailers, teasers, and some live-action bits. It is impressive. The modern trend for spreading word on video games results in creative projects all on their own. The best way to describe many of them being "short films". You can imagine my appreciation and approval! Just look at a some of these for Bungie's (the studio that started the "Halo") final entry in the beloved franchise: "Deliver Hope," "Remember Reach," and Rooster Teeth's "Red Vs. Blue: Deja View."

"Mafia II" is now out (on 360, PS3, and PC)! It is the sequel to the superb PC game released back in 2002, which is still one of the grandest stories I've ever come across in a video game. "Mafia" is proof that games can have character growth, compelling drama, and prove to be a playable cinematic experience. The sequel is made by the same studio (always a good sign if the first was good) and is currently receiving really good reviews (about a 80% average on Metacritic for the PC version, a bit lower scores for the console releases). I spent a little bit of time with the demo yesterday. It feels true to the original, looks and sounds great, but is still quite a different game. I'm not sure if I will be playing the whole thing anytime soon with the likes of "Reach" almost here and all.

Now for some pitiful news: A man in Hawaii is suing NCsoft (a video game company in South Korea) for $3,000,000. Why? He's addicted to one of their games, "Lineage II." Craig Smallwood claims he has clocked in around 20,000 hours playing the game and he is so hooked he can't take care of himself anymore. "Lineage II" is a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) like the infamous "World of Warcraft." An article from Hawaii News Now simply states, "A federal judge is allowing the lawsuit." I first heard about the story from this news clip on NBC.

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One of the most bewildering offscreen happenings in Hollywood in recent years has been the passage of Jaoquin Phoenix. "What the heck happened?" is all most of us can utter in regard to the man's current life. Back in October of 2008 he announced his retirement from acting in order to focus solely on the start of his rapping career. I still vividly recall seeing his changed persona on "Letterman." Sheesh! What the heck happened? This was the once outgoing and charming actor responsible for such remarkable performances as his portrayal of Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" and playing a venomous prince in "Gladiator." We all saw him and loved him in M. Night Shyamalan's (another guy of who we sometimes wonder "what the heck happened?") "Signs." Well, now the offscreen flummox is going to be seen onscreen (I'd say "viewer discretion strongly advised" after what I've read the film contains). Casey Affleck (Ben's little bro) has also donned a director's cap for a documentary entitled "I'm Still Here," subtitled "The Lost Year of Jaoquin Phoenix." Ready for more confounding fodder? Take a look at this trailer. But wait, there's more! (This story just gets more and more intriguing...) Compare these two statements made by Phoenix (as found on Wiki) at different times to different ears: in response to whether or not his "rapping career" was a hoax he said, "This is not a joke. Might I be ridiculous? Might my career in music be laughable? Yeah, that's possible, but that's certainly not my intention." Then, on another occasion, he said, "It's a put-on. I'm going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it." If the latter is truth, the guy is a genius in my book (like Shyamalan), but loses points for letting the cat out of the bag. If the former is true... what the heck? (like Shyamalan)

Anytime the English director Danny Boyle makes a film I am going to see it. His films never bore and always puff my noggin (i.e. "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine"). He also crafted quite a gem that is moving up my own "Top Films" list every day, the Best Picture winner from last year, "Slumdog Millionaire." Boyle also snagged Best Director that night. Thus, I'm eagerly awaiting his next project: "127 Hours." I'm excited about another Boyle-ride, the proficient James Franco playing the lead, and story's origin. Here's a quick synopsis as found on Apple's Movie Trailer site: "'127 Hours' is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah." Us Utahns remember this story well, especially how it ends. Boyle called it "an action movie with a guy who can't movie." Here's the first trailer released for the film. I know where I'm going to be on November 5th!

I first saw this a week or so ago... a child movie critic reviewing some of the latest summer movies. This clip is not only relevant, because the films discussed are still in theaters and are all well-worth knowing about, but also shockingly funny. This tyke is a wee-bit eccentric to say the least eh? He has a clever critic title: "Lights, Camera, Jackson!," but I still have a grudge against him for giving "Inception" anything but an "A" (according to his scholastic grading-scale aptly dubbed "Report Card").... then I have to remind myself, he's eleven. Check it out!

Like aliens? Like monsters? In movies I mean. I sure do! Two of my favorite films from the last decade fit into those two camps, " 괴물 (The Host)" and "Cloverfield." Maybe you're as excited as me for "Skyline" and the cleverly named "Monsters." Then again, maybe not. Both are from relatively new directors who were responsible for visual effects before they got seats with their names on it. Both come out later this year. However, the monster/alien flick I'm most psyched for will be coming out next summer: "Super 8." Produced by Spielberg and directed by J.J. Abrams, nuff said. But I will say this: J.J. is a modern-day King Midas... everything he touches is gold.

Friends and family frequently question me, "Is 'Inception' still number three?" They are referring, of course, to IMDb's Top 250 where "Inception" has been sitting between the "The Godfather"s for a month's time. Well, I just checked this afternoon and it has gone down one notch. "Inception" is currently #4 folks. We call this "settling", expect more to come.

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Issue 2 is past, and yet, not long ago it was new as can be. If you have any comments, questions, requests, complaints or threats please let your voice be heard by If you wish to be removed from the AllMoPs send-list, let me know. If you wish to add someone, let me know. Until next week, have a fabulous remainder of August and thanks for plugging in!

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AllMoPs 1

All Manner of Plugs: Issue 1 (8.19.2010)
a weekly recommendations email

Written by J.S. Lewis

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You may have noticed by now that I occasionally send e-mails your way with movie news, YouTube links, and all manner of endorsements (plugs). I've always had a desire to be a source of news and information to a variety of people. My family will recall when I made the Boulter Banner, a neighborhood newspaper in which only a few issues saw the light of day. Later, things became slightly more official when I was a writer and editor for my high school newspaper. After graduation I had two e-mail series documenting my adventures (first in Alaska and second in Taiwan). Today begins another periodical: All Manner of Plugs (AllMoP).

This isn't about the life of J.S. Lewis (though I am the author and this electronic publication will appropriately always smell like me). This is about random items I'd like to share and make aware. Simple as that. Do with it what you will. Perhaps you'll treat it like a newspaper and read only the parts that pique your interest or lay it on the floor to suit your puppy's needs (the latter is not recommended if you are reading this electronically, which you probably are). There is no guarantee that everything herein will interest you, but I can ensure that everything herein does interest me. For this first issue I've only included a few sections, in the future you will be treated to more and more.

Today also marks the commencement of a new blog of mine: All Manner of Posts. This was no accident. In fact, this e-mail series and that blog go hand in hand. Check it out!

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*MVOTW = Music Video of the Week. I heart film. I heart music. Whoever married the two with the creation of music videos deserves a place in every Hall of Fame. Someday I will learn the history of the music video and share my thoughts on it. In the mean time I will endorse a different music video each week.

Kid606 is an electronic musician AKA techno DJ. This is not a song you'd likely hearing pounding the insides of a club, but more like one you'd come across in the modern art section of the Smithsonian. This video channels the awe that I feel from watching Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." And... are those mini-monoliths? Regardless, it is slow and aesthetic. Take a break, watch this video, and remember sometimes.

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*This section highlights a select few raindrops that have fallen into the lives of gamers (video games that is).

"Bioshock: Infinite" is in the works and this teaser trailer looks absolutely amazing. This is the third in the innovative first-person shooter series from Irrational Games. Confession: I haven't played the first two games (other than spending some time with a demo for the original - which I loved). Luckily (perhaps unluckily for some) this next installment won't be out until 2012, so I have plenty of time to catch up with the series. Even if you are not into video games I highly recommend checking this out; it works just fine as a short CGI film.

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*This segment is brought to you by my Film Tome. The Film Tome Report is a quick look onto the cinematic horizon (what is approaching), occasionally a reminder of where we are (what is already here), and possibly a look in the rearview mirror (what has passed us by). Expect something film-related each issue because I am so biased.

If you have ever seen "Les triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville)," you remember. One time when I was watching it my cousin came in the room, after observing just a few minutes he revealed it was one of the weirdest things he has ever seen. "Les triplettes de Belleville" is one of the most refreshing animated films of the last decade to not come from a studio called Pixar or Ghibli. Writer and director Sylvain Chomet has been on my radar ever since. I've been waiting with bated breath for his next feature film (his genius segment in "Paris, je t'aime (Paris, I Love You)" was hardly enough to quench my thirst) and it is finally coming! I am delighted to share news of "L'illusionniste (The Illusionist)," see the stunning trailer for yourself. It's already been released across the pond, but there's no word when North America will get our eyes on it. I highly doubt a wide theatrical release in the States, so chances are you'll have to see it on a DVD (as it was with "Triplets"). You can count on me to let you know when and how.

Bryson (and perhaps the rest of you) may find the following of some interest. There is a new doc among us entitled "I Am Comic," directed by Jordan Brady. It claims to be "an ode to the art & occupational hazards of stand-up comedy." The film features the personalities of Jeff Foxworthy, Lewis Black, Brian Regan, and many others. Here's the trailer. This might be another one you'll only get to see at home.

The recent reign of James Francis Cameron isn't over yet. Apparently 2.7 billion dollars wasn't quite enough for "Avatar" to make back. It will be returningto select 3D and IMAX 3D theaters on August 27th for another run, this time with the words "Special Edition" attached. What makes it special? 9 more minutes. All those diagnosed with a case of the "Avatar blues" are already pre-ordering their tickets.

My final bit of film-related news is a rather sad bit. "At The Movies" just aired their final episode last weekend. Never heard of it? It used to be called "Siskel and Ebert and The Movies," and then later "At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper," and then after so many hosts swaps it just became known as "At The Movies," ending with Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott in the iconic chairs. I knew this end was coming. Back in March of this year Disney announced that the show would be "airing its last original broadcast the weekend of August 14, 2010." Why? Said Disney, "from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable." The Holly Reporter commented, "Online reviews and aggregator like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic have made finding knowledgeable opinions [on] movies easier than ever for fans, yet have also evolved the consumption of criticism is such a way that made the half-hour review show seem dated." Ironically, most of the time I would watch "At The Movies" was via their online website. You can check out their last episode here, featuring reviews of the latest movie and a sentimental look back at the show's history. Look forward to a more detailed post regarding this issue on my Film Tome soon!

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There you have it, All Manner of Plugs: Issue 1. Now that you've had it, what do you think? If you have any comments, questions, requests, complaints or threats please let your voice be heard by

If you wish to be removed from AllMoP's send-list, let me know. If you wish to add someone, let me know. I'm fine with it being forwarded to others, but if these others desire to receive AllMoP on a weekly basis, I'll be more than happy to include them on my send-list. Those of you receiving this on the first send are my initial consumer. I have to begin somewhere and so I thank you (I'm quite aware that you didn't even sign up for this). You are either my close family and/or close friend, I figured I could count on you. Until next week, have a lovely time and thanks for plugging in!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


From astronauts to zombies, from yodeling to bouncy balls, from CTF to XYZ, from watermelon to Donkey Kong, from earwigs to Vanity Fair, from Ukraine to flying fish, from golf carts to tyrants, from sourdough to hummus, from indigo to rumpus, from queens to jawbreakers, from killjoys to Papa Murphy's, from octopi to lemon pie, from mouse pads to the Netherworld, and much, much more.

The possibilities are limitless.

Anything goes.

Explanation: I love to write. I could have started dozens of blogs about dozens of things... instead... I bring you one: All Manner of Posts.

Stay posted.

-J.S. Lewis