Dark City – Director’s Cut

Feb, 11, 2017 – Watched:

Dark City (1998) – Director’s Cut

Had this film sitting on the HDD since last April and finally was in the mood to watch it. So lets break it down.

Conceptually this film had something going for it. Visually, this film had much too enjoy despite being a little too obvious with the miniatures laced throughout the scenes. With that said the cinematography was lovely.

But can that save a film from bad acting? Unfortunately not. The lead in this movie scores an A+ for bad acting. Over the top stuff from certain characters as well (Keifer), and I hate to say it, it’s laughable at times. And when you put that all together, its hard to take it seriously.

To sum it up, aesthetically pleasing to the eyes but the acting is too much to get over. This film had something going for it from the concept stage (enough that the Matrix used the same sets) but the execution of this wasn’t fulfilled properly.


VFX – 7/10


The Witch

June, 18, 2016 – Watched:

The Witch (2015)

Had this one for awhile, couldn’t find the right time or mood to watch it, until tonight. 1.5 hours exact. Goes by super fast. Why? Cause it’s just that damn enchanting from start to finish.

Beautifully shot (throw back to using in-camera zooms for certain shots at times) and a sinister score to match the unraveling chaos that ensues within the fringes of the woods. I’d say there is only one thing left to say to sum it all up…


Black Phillip, Black Phillip

A crown grows out his head,

Black Phillip, Black Phillip 

To nanny queen is wed.

Jump to the fence post,

Running in the stall.

Black Phillip, Black Phillip 

King of all.


Black Phillip, Black Phillip 

King of sky and land,

Black Phillip, Black Phillip

King of sea and sand.

We are ye servants,

We are ye men.

Black Phillip eats the lions

From the lions’ den.


VFX Breakdowns and reads – http://www.3dtotal.com/interview/766-magical-solutions-intelligent-creatures-the-witch-by-trevor-hogg-2015-vfx-a24-design



State of Grace (1990) cue – Ennio Morricone

May 1st is around the corner. Well, it’s actually here. 5 months into 2016 already. Damn. Time flies.

I came across “State of Grace” a few weeks ago. Decided to watch it last night. April, 30th, 2016. And drank a bunch of Tullamore D.E.W while at it.

It came out around Goodfellas and got lost in the fury of excitement that followed thanks to M.S being the king of gangster films. Either way, State of Grace is a very watchable and often underrated crime drama that’s got that 90’s charm to it. I duno what is it, but something about these 80’s and 90’s flicks that just gets to me. They have that lively feel to them, something you can get lost in, shot on film, warm, inviting, comforting. Digital film has it times and moments, but there is something really special in film.

The movie isn’t anything spectacular compared to Goodfellas (though, Gary Oldman’s and Penn’s performance deserve immense credit for holding the viewers attention), but the score from Ennio Morricone is something to marvel at. It’s heard throughout the movie, and its fucking memorizing, beautiful and poignant. I couldn’t help but think of Bowie’s, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” as my ears wandered throughout the sax bit meandering throughout the piece in the film.

Here’s a comparison.

Also, Jordan Cronenweth (e.g. DOP of Bladerunner) was the main DP on this. The shots in this film are gorgeous and the overall atmosphere that’s achieved throughout the film is sublime.

7/10 for State of Grace. But the music and cinematography is so moving that I’m willing to bring it up to 7.5/10.

Black Mass

February, 7, 2016 – Watched:

Black Mass (2015)

Where to start?

Depp is an absolute delight on screen. His soulless deep blue eyes bring you in and never let you look away from start to finish. He’s a fucking nightmare. (more on this later)

Masanobu Takayanagi’s cinematography is raw, gritty and simple. I loved it. A lot of center framed shots.

Good moody score.

But the best part? Is knowing what they missed and didn’t put in the movie. The thing with Whitey Bulger is, once you start doing a little research on your own time, you realize what could of been put in this film may of been just a little too raw for the audience. After all, its geared toward being entertaining, and not a documentary.

In some respects, I think if they’d extended this to 3 hrs (instead of the 2) and expanded more on the crimes of Bulger, then the general audience wouldn’t of found this as palatable as the final edit. The violence is also held back and not really glorified considering other possibilities for a film of this nature. And that was a good choice.

In reality, this dude was one sick fuck, and that’s putting it lightly. (Do a little research and you’ll see why)

And finally, lets not forget how corrupt the governing bodies were too. Scum all around.

The film gives you a lot to think about. And ultimately, that’s what good cinema should do.






Crimson Peak

February, 5, 2016 – Watched:

Crimson Peak (2015)

If as much effort was put into the story as the theatrical production design and vfx for this film then it’d be a much more enjoyable experience. For some reason though, the story wasn’t that captivating to me. With that being said, Guillermo del Toro’s movies always have a strong and captivating visual component to them and its pretty damn fair to say this is no exception.

Story: 6.8/10

Visuals: 8.5/10



January 16, 2016 – Watched:

Sicario (2015)

Now honestly, how good was this? Damn!

Story, acting, editing, sound design, vfx, cinematography was flawlessly executed.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Intensely suspenseful, dark and brutal. Accompanied with a beautifully orchestrated ominous and ruthless musical score.

No stupid Hollywood ending like in most of the movies released nowadays. Life ain’t peachy so stop forcing it down our throats Hollywood.

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Came into the story barely knowing anything about it. Came out craving more.

One of 2015’s best films.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


  • Was planning to embed the VFX breakdown since the visuals and cinematography in this film were stunning and minimalistic (as always; thanks again Deakins) but the video for the VFX breakdown is not licensed and blocked on Vimeo and elsewhere. If it becomes available I’ll post it up. – current link – http://www.artofvfx.com/sicario-vfx-breakdown-oblique-fx/ & http://www.cgmeetup.net/home/making-of-sicario/
  • A sequel is in the early stages already concentrating on Alejandro’s shady past. Let just hope it can live up to the quality of this.



Black Sea

January 2, 2016 – Watched:

Black Sea (2014)

Submarine captain loses his job. Shortly after, he gets an offer for another job, but this one is like no other. To venture out one more time and pick up millions in gold hidden on a German U-boat sunken in the murky depths of the Black Sea. But he’s not alone. He’s got a team of men. 50% British, 50% Russian. Tensions arise, and shit hits the fan. Literally.

A simple, straight forward story and script. But it’s effective, nail biting and full of suspense, even though you can probably figure out what’ll happen next. With that being said, the performances are solid even if the story is a bit silly and impractical at times. The movie can feel quite eerie at times and the sub scenes are confined and tense.


Tech facts:

  • For many of the sub scenes the Canon EOS C500 and EOS-1D C were used for their small portable size. For everything else the Alexa.
  • It was shot on a real sub and mainly handheld.
  • Maya was used to build the CG sub. Which took roughly 2 months to make. All the environmental aspects were animated in Houdini.

Some fun reads and VFX Breakdown:



“Black Sea” canyon encounter – CG model


“Black Sea” canyon encounter – final render

Courtesy of http://cinefex.com/blog/black-sea/