Friday, April 11, 2014

Mount Washington Trip - Videos

As I'm getting revved up for this year's hiking trip to the Smoky Mountains in July, I forgot about these two little gems that my buddy Shaun filmed on our hiking trip to the White Mountains circa 2012.

As an annual summer tradition I get a group of three to five guys and we drive to key hiking destinations in North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, New Jersey, etc. However, this particular trip was a gift I gave myself for my 40th birthday. We flew into Boston (via Airtran) and rented a car to drive our hiking destinations in New Hampshire.

And, as luck would have it, two of my adventurous buddies, Shaun and Drew, were kind enough to come along.

This video documents our trip from Crawford Notch to Mount Washington:

And this video documents our hike of the Franconia Ridge:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eimertoons - Work For Hire

Below are some toons that I created for a co-worker to celebrate her boyfriend's 40th birthday. This was a fun exercise - plus I also got paid, which is always nice. :)

(click images to enlarge)





Monday, March 3, 2014

Academy Awards Pick Outcome: 15-9

Welp, the 2014 Academy awards came and went.

All in all, it's cool to see Gravity get the recognition it deserves. I'm a big fan of Alfonso Cuaron and look forward to his future work.

Also, it's cool to see an important historical film such as 12 Years a Slave win best picture. I'll eventually watch it. But, every single time I've had the chance to see it in the theater, I switched my decision at the last minute because, well, quite frankly, I just didn't want to be sad. It almost reminds me of going to see Schindler's List in the theaters. You know what's going to happen. You know it's going to be a great movie. But, you're not sure you want to get all emotional and bummed out on a Saturday night, or even Thursday afternoon for that matter (guys at SNP will understand this one). But hey, kill me. I want to see something uplifting, action packed or positive when I hit the theaters solo on my free time and my time. Something like Gravity, Her, or even The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (which wasn't that bad). But I digress...

As far as the show went, besides Matthew McConaughey's speech and Spike Jonze winning for Best Original Screenply (I picked both of those by the way), it was a pretty lackluster occasion. Ellen Degeneres tried to be funny, but meh.

I'm not sure what is wrong, but I have a theory.

When I was young - and the internet didn't exist - the Oscars were this magical moment when you could see all of your favorite actors in one place. You could see that they weren't these automated robots but real people (some people may disagree). In this information age, I came to realize that these actors have been attending awards shows since early January - almost every single weekend. That has to be draining, right? Plus, you sort of get an idea of which movie is going to win, which actors are going to win, etc. There's no real excitement. At least that's my opinion.

So all in all, I didn't do too bad in my Academy Award Picks. Better than last year, and the year before, that's for sure.

So my losses included:

  • Best Picture (I picked Gravity. I haven't seen 12 Years a Slave yet)
  • Supporting Actress (I picked Sally Hawkins as an upset)
  • Documentary Feature (I was sure The Act of Killing was going to win, but it didn't)
  • Foreign Language Film (I picked The Hunt. I think a lot of people were surprised it didn't win)
  • MakeUp and Hairstyling (should have guessed that Dallas Buyers Club was going to win over Bad Grandpa)
  • Film Editing (I thought Academy would have liked the editing of Captain Phillips. Gravity deserved it)
  • Animated Short Film (an educated guess)
  • Documentary Short (an educated guess)
  • Live Action Short Film (an educated guess)
Talk to you soon.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eimer's 2014 Academy Award Picks



It's Oscar time. This failed screenwriter will be drinking a 40-ounce of Mickey's Malt Liquor and sulking like the jealous bastard writer that I am at all the celebrities and fanfare going on out West. (Sob!) So, just in time for the Red Carpet, I'm giving you my personal choices for Sunday's extravaganza.

If you've read my Top 10 movies of 2013, then you'll know my true favorites of the year. However, the Academy Awards are a different beast. Lots of politics involved in these choices my friends.

That said, going by various articles, mumblings on geek sites, awards handed out thus far and my personal knowledge of how the Academy has voted in the past, I'm giving you my educated guesses on the big winners. So, here you go!

Best picture
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips
Her
American Hustle
GRAVITY
Dallas Buyers Club
Nebraska
Philomena

I think Gravity will win. Personally, I would give it to The Wolf of Wall Street. That was the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time - besides (of course) The Lego Movie.

Best director
Steve McQueen -- "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"
ALFONSO CUARON -- "GRAVITY"
Alexander Payne -- "Nebraska"
Martin Scorsese -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Director’s Guild already gave Cuaron this title, so I’m not bucking the odds on this one. Besides, he did a great job. And I've loved his past work (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men). If he doesn’t win, I’d give it to Russell or McQueen.

Best actor
Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY -- "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"

McConaughey is on a roll this year. He’s hitting his stride. Plus, all the weight loss aside, he did a great job in this film. And is doing an even better job in True Detective. However, if it was up to me, I would give it to DiCaprio. I loved his performance in Wolf, but he’s not going to win.


Best actress
Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
CATE BLANCHETT -- "BLUE JASMINE"
Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"

Although I heard good things about Dench, Blanchett owned her character in Blue Jasmine. She made her up from scratch. Great acting, all around actually in this film, even from the Dice man.

Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi -- "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper -- "American Hustle”
Jonah Hill -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
JARED LETO -- "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB"
Michael Fassbender -- "12 Years a Slave"

I loved Abdi in Phillips, but since he’s a first-time actor, he may not be acting - if you know what I mean. It could just be the way he acts all the time in real life. That’s why I think Leto for the win. Seems like the Academy likes actors who dress up as the opposite sex. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence -- "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o -- "12 Years a Slave"
June Squibb -- "Nebraska"
Julia Roberts -- "August: Osage County"
SALLY HAWKINS -- "BLUE JASMINE"

Everyone loves Lawrence, but I’m going with Hawkins here. Again, just like Blanchett, she owned her role and created this quirky character out of thin air.

Best original screenplay
"American Hustle" -- David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
"Blue Jasmine" -- Woody Allen
"HER" -- SPIKE JONZE
"Nebraska" -- Bob Nelson
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

I’m a Jonze fan. And although I haven’t seen this film (yet), the screenplay has to be one of the reasons that it’s getting accolades. Right? Right? Plus, I just like his entire body of work, thus far. By the way, did you catch Jonze's small performance in Wall Street, and last year's Moneyball?

Best adapted screenplay
"12 YEARS A SLAVE" -- JOHN RIDLEY
"Before Midnight" -- Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater
"The Wolf of Wall Street" -- Terence Winter
"Captain Phillips" -- Billy Ray
"Philomena" -- Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Going to give this one to Ridley for 12 Years ... just because. Although 'Before Midnight's' dialogue was pretty cool (well, my wife didn’t think so, but I did!)

Best animated feature
"The Wind Rises"
"FROZEN"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest & Celestine"
"The Croods"

It’s Frozen. Although DM2 could sneak in and pull an upset.

Best foreign feature
"THE HUNT" (DENMARK)
"The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium)
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"Omar" (Palestinian territories)
"The Missing Picture" (Cambodia)

Haven’t seen any of them, but I’m going with The Hunt, because it sounds cool. And has a 93% approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com

Best music (original song)
"FROZEN": "LET IT GO" -- ROBERT LOPEZ AND KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom": "Ordinary Love" -- U2, Paul Hewson 
"Her": "The Moon Song" -- Karen O, Spike Jonze
"Despicable Me 2": "Happy" -- Pharrell Williams

When all else fails in this category, go Disney. So, I will just do that.

Best music (original score)
"GRAVITY" -- STEVEN PRICE
"Philomena" -- Alexandre Desplat
"The Book Thief" -- John Williams
"Saving Mr. Banks" -- Thomas Newman
"Her" -- William Butler and Owen Pallett

Thinking about Gravity for this one. Science-Fiction. Great Film. Moving Score. Sound like another familiar film?

Best cinematography
"GRAVITY" -- EMMANUEL LUBEZKI
"Inside Llewyn Davis" -- Bruno Delbonnel
"Nebraska" -- Phedon Papamichael
"Prisoners" -- Roger Deakins
"The Grandmaster" -- Phillippe Le Sourd

I pick Roger Deakins every year and he never wins. So, let’s go with someone else. Now hopefully Deakins will win. He’s very deserving. I mean, check out his body of work in imdb. But, I picked Lubezki for a reason ... Space is cool to look at.


Best costume design
"THE GREAT GATSBY" -- CATHERINE MARTIN
"12 Years a Slave" -- Patricia Norris
"The Grandmaster" -- William Chang Suk Ping
"American Hustle" -- Michael Wilkinson
"The Invisible Woman" -- Michael O'Connor

Let’s give The Great Gatsby a little love with Martin's beautiful costume designs in effortlessly recreating the 1920’s look. 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle may also win though.

Best documentary feature
"THE ACT OF KILLING"
"20 Feet From Stardom"
"The Square"
"Cutie and the Boxer"
"Dirty Wars"

I was hoping Blackfish would have been nominated for Best Doc. That said, this film getting the most buzz heading into Sunday. You can catch it on Netflix streaming. And it’s not that bad of a film either.

Best film editing
"Gravity" -- Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
"12 Years a Slave"-- Joe Walker
"CAPTAIN PHILLIPS" -- CHRISTOPHER ROUSE
"American Hustle" -- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

I love the editing of Captain Phillips. It’s that popular documentary look that's all the rage--and has been done many times before (see Bourne movies, Zero Dark Thirty, Black Hawk Down, etc.) But, I'm a sucker. I think it totally worked for this movie.

Best makeup and hairstyling
"The Lone Ranger" -- Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
"JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA" -- STEPHEN PROUTY
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

Hey, if Norbit can win, then Bad Grandpa can win. Right?


Best production design
"12 Years a Slave" -- Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker
"THE GREAT GATSBY" -- Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
"American Hustle" -- Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler
"Gravity" -- Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
"Her" -- K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena

I’m going with The Great Gatsby on this just because. Personally, I love the 20’s look and feel that the movie created. Any of these films could win actually.


Best visual effects
"GRAVITY"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
"Star Trek Into Darkness"
"Iron Man 3"
"The Lone Ranger"

Hands down, Gravity. Although ‘The Hobbit’ could sneak in. Loved me some Smaug.

Best sound mixing
"GRAVITY"
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Hands down, Gravity. Although ‘Captain Phillips’ could sneak in.

Best sound editing
"GRAVITY"
"All Is Lost"
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Hands down, gravity, although ‘All is Lost’ could sneak in with it's quiet dialogue and heavy aquatic sound effects.

Best short film, live action
"Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)"
"Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)"
"Helium" 
"Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)" "THE VOORMAN PROBLEM"

Haven’t seen any of them, let’s go with The Voorman Problem.


Best short film, animated
"Feral"
"GET A HORSE!"
"Mr. Hublot"
"Possessions"
"Room on the Broom"

I’ve chosen Get a Horse because it harks back to the old Mickey animations of yore (Steamboat Willie anyone?). Heck, it looks like it came out of that time, which is interesting to see. The animators almost had to break some of their own animation style to create the antiquated animation look and feel. It was probably pretty hard to create. That said, Feral and Mr. Hublot could also win. But, personally, I liked Get a Horse.


Best documentary short
"CAVEDIGGER"
"Facing Fear"
"Karama Has No Walls"
"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
"Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall"

Let’s go wiith Cavedigger because it’s about a crazy artist who creates art in caves that he has personally dug himself. Crazy, right?


Welp, that’s it. Be on the lookout for a round-up of my wins and losses on Monday. Oh, and enjoy the Oscars.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Eimertoons - Valentine's Day

Hello all,

Was digging through my old files of cartoons and came up on a couple 'Love-centric' Toons that I - more than likely - made for Valentine's day.

Enjoy, and have a very lovely day.

(click image to enlarge)

(click image to enlarge)


Monday, January 6, 2014

Eimer's Best Movie Experiences of 2013


It was a good year for films. I was finally able to catch up with all of the 2012 Academy Award nominees (and winners), was mildly entertained by the summer crop of films and have seen a modest amount of Autumn awards bait to roll in this past November and December – not to mention some movies that have hung out for years in my Netflix queue.

That said, here is a list of my 10 best movie experiences of 2013. Keep in mind, some of these were released in 2012. Plus, I haven’t seen many of the critical darlings including Her, Blue Jasmine, The Act of Killing, Captain Phillips, Philomena 12 Years a Slave, Rush, Dallas Buyers Club, All Is Lost, American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis and Frozen – but I plan to.

Also, for those that do not know, please follow my One Sentence Movie Reviews on Twitter. I try to update both old and new movies during the week. 300 posts, and counting.

So, without further adieu (and in no particular order)

One of the better thrillers I've seen in quite some time. This kept me scratching my head from the very beginning. Very dark. Very disturbing. A slight nod to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. With lots of great acting mixed in. Can't talk enough about the acting in particular Jackman, Gyllenhaal the rest of the supporting cast. Like I said, very tough to watch at times, but a very through-provoking movie about the extent that a family will go to get the answers they need to finally sleep at night. Great editing and direction that continues all the way to the surprise ending.

Jackson, once again, takes us into the world of Middle Earth and mesmerizes with great acting, direction and - yes - special effects. I now see what he's trying to do with the movies. Trying to mend and mold them into a masterful six-part series - and it's working. I'm a fan of the heroes journey adventures and this does not disappoint with twists and turns and plenty of action along the way. And that includes the final scenes with the pompous, prideful dragon Smaug rolling around in his coins and treasures like Scrooge McDuck from Duck Tales. Just a fine movie that sets up a fantastic intro to the final film. Hats off to cinematography, editing, art direction and VFX teams as well for bringing this fantastic land to life. One of the best movies of the year that deserves to be seen in the theater with the full 3D treatment. If I had one little complaint, it would have been to cut it down by 20 minutes. But that's just a minor complaint. Check 'er out nonetheless.

You won't want to visit Sea World again after you view this fantastic documentary. Much like the Academy Award winning 'The Cove', this documentary focuses it's lens not on dolphins, but instead on killer whales in captivity with some crazy unsettling video footage. I personally visited Sea World twice when I was young. I really didn't know any better. But, after watching this documentary (which Sea World refused to be interviewed for by the way) my kids will not step foot in the place. I'm sure a high percentage of people that view this doc will also think twice. Very thought-provoking insights, interviews and great direction by Cowperthwaite. This is a film, which should be nominated - if not win - a best documentary feature Academy Award. Well, it looks like The Act of Killing is growing momentum. But, check this one out nonetheless – and cancel those plans to Sea World while you’re at it.

What GOODFELLAS did for the mafia and violence, this movie does for sex, drugs and penny stocks. Just a great film from start to finish. Sure, it's a bit risque and I'm sure the religious and conservative people in the audience will find plenty of fault with it. But what I watched was a non-stop experiential rat-a-tat-tat-tat film that clipped along like a machine gun. Great editing, great direction, great shot-selection, and the acting; the acting was simply phenomenal with DiCaprio leading the charge for some sort of award. He does a fantastic job that’s both entertaining, filled with tension and laugh-out-loud funny. And let's not forget Jonah Hill and the rest of the rowdy bunch. What a great film. Possibly the best of the year! Check 'er out.

Loved this film. THE SHINING sits in my top ten films of all time. So, to say I was very intrigued and wanted to see this movie was an understatement. The director does not disappoint as he finds these interesting people telling their interesting crazy theories on The Shining. The crazy thing is, they're all freaking plausible. I personally love the idea of the MInotaur and Theseus. Shucks, from the Trail of Tears theory to the Moon landing being faked - I loved all of them. This just goes to show the power of cinema and the different reactions you will get to popular, cult films. Fans of Kubrick, movie lovers and fans of The Shining will adore this movie. All others will moderately enjoy it. Interesting nonetheless. Check er out!

Solid four-star film (maybe could even creep up into the five star territory). This didn't feel like a movie, it felt like a personal documentary. Great script (simplistic), wicked action, seamless, detailed direction by Bayona (you must see THE ORPHANAGE) and great cinematography by Oscar Faura - are working on all gears to pump out just a great mind-blowing film. The tsunami sequence is just amazing, and the attention to detail is fantastic. And the acting (all of which was pulled from the director) is top notch - moreso than Watts and MacGregor, but the child actors as well. Check this out. Unbelievable film.

So much for that sophomore slump, eh Carruth? Another cool interesting sci-fi flick from Shane Carruth who directed the low-budget, thought-provoking time-travel film PRIMER. Since I’ve seen this film three months ago, I’ve tried to explain this movie to friends and family, but I just couldn't put it to words. Just like Carruth's other film, there's a lot going on and there are layers to each thought. Flowers, pigs, worms, hypnotism and robbery all come together to create a head-scratcher of a film, but in a good way. Not in a negative way. Keep it up Carruth. Keep the creative, thought-provoking films coming. One of the most thought-provoking films I've seen since, well, PRIMER.

This was a movie where I felt utterly flabbergasted, and dare I say jealous, when I left the theater. This is a great movie that not only had you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning, but shook you a little bit and made you take notice of your surroundings. At only 91 minutes, it quickly and efficiently packs a wallop, right in your gut. Everything from the cinematography to direction to plot (and let's not forget the special effects) are thought out in precision and combine to create a truly special film. Sure, the special effects take center stage, but Bullock carries the film as the sole actor, lest we forget Clooney's supporting role. I can't say enough about this film. Kudos to Cuaron for taking on such a crazy project. You can see the dedication and love of the craft in every frame. One more thing I can say, is that as soon as the movie ended, I didn't want to leave the theater, I didn't want to toss my 3D glasses in the bin at the door. I wanted it to start again so I could watch it again, and maybe again. It's been a long time since that's happened to me, let me tell you that.

I really enjoyed this film. Just like Nichols other film (TAKE SHELTER) you have to suspend disbelief a tiny bit to enjoy this special treat. All actors are 100 percent into their characters. Cinematography, dialogue, editing and art direction hit on all cylinders as well. In a sense, this movie is a perfect companion piece to Rob Reiner's STAND BY ME, which was based on a story by Stephen King. In a sense, MUD is a coming-of-age story between two boys in their early teens trying to maintain their youth as they deal with real-life adulthood issues such as divorce, violence, poverty, murder and true love. Again, this movie wouldn't have been as good if wasn't for the acting (e.g. McConaughey, Witherspoon, Sheperd, Shannon and the two youths Sheridan and Lofland). However, and more importantly, kudos should go to director Nichols who has put together two fantastic films that can't quite be placed into any specific genre - which is really cool. Check 'er out.

What a very creative, interesting thought-provoking film. With the exception to SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED and THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, this is one of the finest science-fiction romantic movies I've seen in quite some time. Very creative direction, screenplay, art direction and visual effects. The story, however, is what makes it stand apart. Two planets. Two loves. It's a like a Romeo and Juliet interplanetary love story. And the acting is just right. Not over the top. Very subtle. It's just a great film all-around. Highly recommended. Check er out.

Other 2013 top movie recommendations:

  • Before Midnight
  • Argo
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Sinister
  • World War Z
  • Pacific Rim
  • Frances Ha
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Life of Pi
  • Sound of my voice
  • Looper
  • Trance
  • The Way, Way Back
  • End of Watch
  • Wreck-It-Ralph


CHECK OUT MORE OF EIMER'S FAVORITES:
  • Eimer's Favorites of 2011