Author Archives: Dave Bernard

Random Film Stuff: Classic Film Reels as Art

Hey Movie Nerds! Check this out. It’s about every kind of awesome…if you’re the right kind of nerd, I suppose. Austrian photographer Reiner Riedler has created a series of photos (“The Unseen Seen”) that captures images of classic (mostly…some even I have never heard of) film reels. This may not sound like a terribly interesting thing to many people, but looking at the work it’s actually kind of cool. On some reels, if you know the films well, you can see how an overall style or color can be seen by looking at the reel as a whole. Some of them are a little less obvious, but still cool looking none the less. Check out Riedler’s work by clicking on the link below. Also, how cool of a name is Reiner?

 “The Unseen Seen”

Dave’s Movie Review: 42

Letter Grade:

The Good:

Good Believable Acting
Nice Bio Pic
Powerful/Entertaining Story

The Bad:

Pacing was a little slow at times, but nothing major to complain about.

Cast & Crew:

Director: Brian Helgeland
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including language

I’m going to preface this review with a disclaimer: If you’ve read my bio (and who wouldn’t want to spend time reading a bio about a random movie nerd on the internet? It’s fun for the whole family!…maybe…I honestly can’t remember if it’s appropriate for kids. The internet has ruined my memory), you’ll remember me professing my borderline unhealthy love for movies. My love for movies is very closely rivaled by my love of baseball. Summer Catch aside, there are very few baseball movies I don’t enjoy. I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve watched all 1,380 minutes (that’s 23 hours) of the Ken Burns Baseball documentary (…ugggh… I’ve wasted my life). I love baseball and I love baseball history…a lot. So it goes without saying that I was a tad bit excited to see “42.”

42, of course, is the real life story of Jackie Robinson and his trials during his (and Branch Rickey’s) attempt to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. The movie begins in the spring of 1946 with Branch Rickey (the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers) devising a plan to be the first team to allow an African American player in the Major Leagues. Rickey carefully chooses Robinson who then spends the entire 1946 season in the minor leagues and finally (after plenty of nasty racism along the way) gets the call up to the big leagues for the 1947 season. The remainder of the movie chronicles Robinson’s struggle to overcome hatred, bigotry, ignorance, and his urges to fight back as the Dodgers (in no small part thanks to Robinson) go on to win the 1947 National League Championship.


Dave’s Movie Review: The Place Beyond the Pines

Letter Grade:

The Good:

Looks and Sounds Beautiful
Meaningful Themes
Good but Understated Acting

The Bad:

Long and Slow
Not the Bank Heist Movie that is Advertised
Limited screen time means neither Gosling or Cooper get a chance to shine

Cast & Crew:

Directed By: Derek Cianfrance
Written By: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio, Darius Marder
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes

Rated R for language throughout, some violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and a sexual reference

The trailers for The Place Beyond the Pines (Director/Writer Derek Cianfrance’s much anticipated follow up to the critically acclaimed and mind-blowingly depressing Blue Valentine) would have you believe that this is a star studded, Ryan Gosling/Bradley Cooper, bank heist/crime movie of sorts (similar to De Niro/Pacino in Heat). The trailers lie. In actuality, The Place Beyond the Pines is a slow-paced, sprawling tale of fatherhood. What is a father’s responsibility to family and specifically his son?  How does a father provide for his family? To what lengths will a father go to provide for his family? What does a father’s actions teach his son?

The movie is a story told in three parts. Set in Schenectady, New York (Schenectady is the Mohawk word for “place beyond the pines,” see what they did there???), the first part tells about “Handsome” Luke (Ryan Gosling), a heavily tattooed, cut-off-Metallica-shirt-wearing, carny (Smells like cabbage, small hands) motorcycle daredevil vagabond. Hours before packing up and leaving town again with the carnival, Luke learns that Romina (Eva Mendes), an old one night stand, has had his child, a son named Jason. Luke recognizes his responsibly to his son and quits his carny job to stay in town and do his best to provide for his family (and maybe win Romina back in the process). Not able to earn enough money “honestly” Luke is convinced by new friend Robin (played very well by Ben Mendelsohn) to use his legendary motorcycle riding skills to rob banks. (more…)

Dave’s Movie Review: Olympus Has Fallen

Letter Grade:

The Good:

Exciting (but often unrealistic) and fairly well made action sequences
Butler plays a good action star
Morgan Freeman!

The Bad:

Poor acting performances by a few otherwise reliable actors
Glaringly unrealistic premise
Lazy/poor script writting

Cast & Crew:

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writers: Creighton Rothnberger, Katrin Benedikt
Stars: Gerald Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo

Rated R for strong violence and language throughout

Ok, so here’s the deal. This is my first official review I’ve written for Cinedraft (or any site for that matter). I’m going to level with you because I want us to get off on the right foot (people keep telling me that honesty is important…). I was all ready to write a review for this movie that praised the “disaster” genre (I’m counting terrorist attack as a “disaster” for the sake of argument) and talked about how awesome it was despite being a kind of stupid action movie…I may have even gotten a head start on writing my review before seeing the movie…which was probably stupid… and maybe unethical or something… I don’t know, I’m not a journalist… what I do know is after watching Olympus Has Fallen, I couldn’t delete my optimistically positive (and
completely uneducated) “review” fast enough. I really wanted to love this movie, and as you are probably picking up on by now (through your masterful skills of mental deduction, or the big ol’ not so positive letter grade at the very top of this review), I did not love it.

Antoine Fuqua’s (Tears of the Sun, The Shooter, Training Day, Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise video) most recent movie is an action movie through and through. The White House (Code Named “Olympus”) and the President (Aaron Eckhart) are attacked and captured by Korean (I think North Korean, but to be honest it wasn’t super clear and I may just be making that assumption because those crazy North Koreans have been threatening to kill the planet again.), black hood-wearing, super-scary and evil terrorists (which I suppose is a nice break from all the Middle Eastern terrorists we’ve been subjected to recently). Luckily for America, Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), who just so happens to have something to prove after failing to protect the first family months earlier, manages to fight his way through the seemingly impenetrable wall of bad guys and machine gun fire to make his way into the White House and is now the last hope for rescuing the kidnapped President and saving the world from certain disaster. (more…)

A Little (or a lot) About Me – Dave Bernard

This is the obligatory “Hi, my name is Dave and I like movies” post…so… Hi, I’m Dave…I like movies…like a lot…like way-too-much sometimes…

So the point of this initial post is for you all to be able to get to know a little about me, and my taste in movies. That way you may stand a better chance at knowing why I review something like “Independence Day” better than “There Will Be Blood.” (Seriously. “There Will Be Blood” had great acting and bowling-ball-related homicide, but, like just about every other PT Anderson film, it also had no plot. “ID4” [that’s right I just called it “ID4.” it’s what all the cool people in 1996/tragically uncool people in 2013 are calling it…] on the other hand had the best presidential speech ever caught on film, and Will Smith welcomes an alien to Earth by punching it in the mouth. Seriously, he’s all slimy and gross and Will Smith just rears back and punches him right in his big stupid face…there’s no way Daniel Day-Lewis, in all his acting/milkshake drinking glory, can come close to that…) Soooooo….anyhow…sorry for the parenthetical aside there…I tend to do that from time to time (read: ALL THE TIME). We all thought that we may be able to tell you a little about ourselves by answering the below questions related to our love of movies. Feel free to read as much (there’s a lot), or as little (I’d get bored too) as you like. (more…)

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