Samsung’s Galaxy S10+ is one of a few flagship phones to offer a triple-camera array, providing a wide-angle lens in addition to the usual standard and telephoto lenses. It may not be the lens you’ll want to use for most of your shooting, but it sure came in handy a few times as we were out shooting with the device. See for yourself how the phone handles a variety of scenes (and a couple of furry creatures for good measure).
There are times when you just want to spend a couple of hours watching a good entertaining movie. Sometimes, you need to take a pause from more complex art house pictures. At the same time, you don’t want to completely switch off your brain; you want intelligent and funny entertainment. These are 10 movies that could help you have a good time, without completely abandon yourself to silliness and stupidity.
1. The Party (1968)
“The Party” is a must see movie. No doubt about it. We follow the story of Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers), an Indian actor who is fired from a Hollywood movie; due to a mistake, he’s invited to the party of the director who has fired him.
At the party, Hrundi makes the acquaintance of a young French actress named Michele Monet (Claudine Longet). Over the course of the night, the party will go out of control, causing many troubles and funny situations.
The movie is flamboyant and over-the-top; it’s a crescendo of nonsensical and exhilarating gags that will make you laugh from the first minute to the last. Moreover, Sellers delivers one of the best and most hilarious performances of his career. Everything is out of control; there’s so much going on on the screen that you don’t know where to look.
This directorial choice by Blake Edwards is coherent with the bombastic style of the party. If you think that flamboyant, over-the-top, and bombastic are gratuitous adjectives for this movie, wait until the finale – there’s a big surprise waiting for you. “The Party” matches the era it was made: colorful, free, and crazy. A burst of happiness and joy.
2. National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
National Lampoon’s “Animal House” is the ultimate college fraternity movie and maybe the best in this genre. Faber College, 1962: Delta Tau Chi is a rebel and ramshackle fraternity, composed of mediocre students and party animal personalities; their main goals are fighting and destroying every moral and disciplinary code in the college. Their rivals are the students from the prestigious Omega Theta Pi, who are upper-class and snobby.
The outcast fraternity will have to fight against them and the authoritarian principal. Disguised as a comedy movie, “Animal House” is a weapon of mass destruction against American society’s false respectability and moralism, represented by the boringly perfect students from Omega Theta Pi.
The Delta Tau Chi members are the cure against the stiffness and roughness of the college; with their extreme, uncontrollable behavior, they subvert normal life in college. They party hard and drink hard; nobody could stop them, and even when things go wrong, they don’t give up their fighting for hilarious obscenity.
The picture is full of unforgettable scenes and characters; the most memorable is John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi) – the craziest of the Delta Tau Chi fraternity – who epitomizes all the anti-authoritarian and free attitude of his group.
“Animal House” is a national treasure; if you are tired of your parents, your teachers, your local priest, or the local police force telling you what it’s best for you and what you should do, watch this movie and feel better. Epically funny and corrosive, a must-see movie for every outcast.
3. Police Story (1985)
Chan Ka-Kui (Jackie Chan) is a member of the Hong Kong police force. He’s part of a major task force whose mission is to find and arrest Chu Tao (Chor Yuen), a big crime lord. He’ll have to fight against everybody – including his police department – to bring to justice Chu Tao and save his relationship with his girlfriend May (Maggie Cheung).
The first aspect that really strikes you when watching “Police Story” is the solid conjunction between directing and editing; this precise and synchronized union creates a solid and controlled staging. For instance, just look at the powerful and impressive 17-minute long opening scene; everything is in place and all the details – minor and major – are impeccable. The result is one of the best action scenes of all time. Michael Bay – take notes!
Of course, when you watch a Jackie Chan movie, the focus is on the fighting scenes, and as always, they never disappoint. Funny and energetic, these scenes are perfectly staged and choreographed. Over the years, Chan was able to master action comedy like no one. His trademark style is always highly recognizable; sometimes overlooked and played down, his movies have definitely more to say than the average picture of the same genre.
If you’re looking for a lively action movie – dense with moments of comedy and also impressive fight sequences and stunts – don’t look any further. Jackie Chan’s “Police Story” is coming to entertain you and make you forget about your problems with good laughter.
4. Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
“Big Trouble in Little China” is a 1980’s cult classic, and it’s for everybody’s taste. Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a truck driver who sees himself as a tough guy. He accompanies his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) to the airport to pick up Wang’s girlfriend Miao Yin (Suzee Pai); at the gates, she’s kidnapped by the Lords of Death, a Chinese gang.
During the pursuit, Jack’s truck is stolen by the gang, and the two friends meet David Lo Pan (James Hong), an evil supernatural lord. Jack and Wang will try to rescue Miao Yin. John Carpenter is a genre mastermind; with this movie, he’s able to combine coherently action, horror, comedy, fantasy, and martial arts all together. The picture is an explosion of genres, and unfortunately it was too ahead of its time; even if it scored poorly at the box office, “Big Trouble in Little China,” as time went on, became a cult classic among many loyal fans.
It’s unnecessary to talk about the technical aspects; Carpenter’s style is always spotless and great. Solid camera work, structured editing, multicolor and extravagant cinematography, and, of course, a trademark synth soundtrack by the man himself. However, don’t get fooled by the entertaining story and funny characters – there’s more than meets the eye
. Russell’s character could be seen as a funny and iconoclastic critique of the classic reactionary action movie hero of the ‘80s: he’s physically built like them, but he’s not the man who solves all the problems. He’s not the spotless hero who embodies the false and mythomaniac American values of the Reagan era; he’s a dumb and selfish normal human being who cares about his truck more than Miao’s life.
The mocking criticism is subtle but present. If you feel nostalgic for the ‘80s but you don’t want to watch the stereotypical action movies of that period, Carpenter’s overlooked precious gem is here to please you.
5. Point Break (1991)
What’s there to say about “Point Break”? First of all, stay away from the 2015 remake, it’s just rubbish. Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is a FBI agent who teams up with fellow agent Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) to find and capture a gang of bank robbers called the “Ex-Presidents,” because they wear face masks of the former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan.
After many investigations, they find out the gang is formed by surfers, led by the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Utah will try to infiltrate the gang by starting a relationship with Bodhi’s old flame Tyler (Lori Perry).
“Point Break” is of the best action movies of the 1990s. The directing style of Kathryn Bigelow is flawless; the editing, the sequences, the soundtrack, the cinematography, everything is at its place. The movie rightfully deserves its cult status, as many scenes are impossible to forget: the multiple surfing sequences, the robberies in the banks, the foot chase, and the great final sequence.
At the same time, we can’t forget to mention the social message of the movie, embodied by Swayze’s character; even if he should be considered the “bad guy,” he’s the opposite, as his figure represents freedom and rebelliousness against the ruling society. He rebels against the impositions of a system that tells everybody how they should live their life: work, produce, reproduce, obey, and die.
In fact, Bodhi says clearly that they’re doing it against the system and not for the money. If you’ve never seen this movie, stop everything you’re doing: skip work, pretend to be sick, lock yourself in the house and watch it. Do it immediately!
Horror is a bit of a disreputable genre. Even the best horror films are rarely revered as much as the best dramas, and the rare directors who dedicated themselves to the genre (Like George A. Romero and Wes Craven) are often considered to have had hit and miss filmographies.
Thus, it is a profound achievement that Guillermo del Toro has garnered international acclaim – and an Academy Award – despite never straying far from the horror genre. To honor the man and his accomplishments, we will highlight ten films that have influenced him or else bear a stunning similarity to his own artistic sensibilities.
1. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, Jack Arnold)
The most famous Universal Monsters films of yore epitomize a tradition of Gothic horror that barely exits in cinema anymore. Creature from the Black Lagoon, however, is a bit of an outlier in that it was an attempt by Universal to cater to the 1950’s drive-in market, albeit with a much larger budget than Edward D. Wood, Jr. or Roger Corman could ever afford.
What makes Creature such a treat for del Toro’s fans is that it was an obvious direct influence on the director’s most recent critical success, The Shape of Water. When he saw the film as a child, del Toro was enchanted (rather than justly mortified) by the titular monster’s attempts to mate with a beautiful young woman.
He wanted the two to live happily ever after as a couple and he (sort of) got his wish decades later when he wrote and directed The Shape of Water, a film about a woman who falls desperately in love with a humanoid amphibian monster wo bears more than a passing resemblance to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It might shock viewers that the most popular romantic film of 2017 had its origins is a “couple” from a 1950’s horror film whose relationship was less than romantic (less than consensual).
2. The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin)
While del Toro left the Catholic faith of his youth long ago, that hasn’t stopped Catholicism from having a massive influence on del Toro’s art. Even Pan’s Labyrinth, a film which takes inspiration from both ancient Greek paganism and Marxism, accidentally became a Catholic film ty he director’s own admission. With that in mind, fans of the Mexican maestro will definitely want to check out the undisputed champion of the many, many Catholic horror films – The Exorcist.
Loosely based on an actual exorcism case, the film made a believer out of its agnostic director, William Friedklin and in a way, this makes sense – it’s a film in which all sense of modernity and rationality are slowly and surely stripped away, until its main characters are left knowing that perhaps mankind doesn’t know as much as it thinks, perhaps the unknowable, chaotic forces of the older “superstitions” carry with them is a greater power than our cynical era is willing to permit.
It’s a film about a man who comes to believe in the divine and sublime only through an encounter with the devil, much as the humanism of del Toro’s filmography is only able to shine trough because he portrays horrific inhumanities.
3. The Innocents (1961, Jack Clayton)
When del Toro made his film Crimson Peak, he wanted to make a tale in the style of Victorian Gothic literature, but with one major difference: classic Gothic novels like Dracula and The Great God Pan kept their sexuality, at most, implicit. del Toro, however, wanted Crimson Peak to be more explicit than its literary predecessor would or could be.
Henry James, one of the writers who inspired del Toror to make Crimson Peak, was a master of the horror of the unknown, which is why his novella The Turn of the Screw remains a classic of horror fiction. Over the years, many interpreters have speculated that the novella’s (unreliable?) narrator may have an inappropriate level of affection of the children in her care, a horrific implication that only becomes more disturbing because of its ambiguous veracity – more concrete storytelling would make the story less haunting.
Jack Clayton’s film adaptation of the story, The Innocents, perfectly captures its source material with a brilliant performance from Deborah Kerr and some of the best cinematography ever. del Toro took inspiration from The Innocents for the aesthetics of Crimson. If only he had taken inspiration from its storytelling.
4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, Francis Ford Coppola)
Even del Toro’s lesser films usually have a stunning vesical style that is distinctly his own. Rather, it would be distinctly his own if not for one little move: Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. While creating his version of the oft-filmed novel, Coppola decided that it needed to stand out from all of the previous Dracula movies, and that one way that it could was through the special effects.
Coppola decided that the film would only make us of practical effects that were available when Dracula was first published in 1897, leading the finished product to have a dreamlike, George Méliès quality that is only compounded by the film’s costumes, which gaudily combine the garb of kabuki theater with Victoriana.
The film fuses a proto-del Toro look with two of the director’s favorite themes – Catholicism and Beauty and the Beast style relationships – so it’s no wonder that the director has gone on record to call Bram Stoker’s Dracula one of his favorite films.
5. The Phantom of the Opera (1925, Rupert Julian)
del Toro loves films that depict relationships between normal people and literal or metaphysical monsters and Universal Picture’s The Phantom of the Opera is perhaps Hollywood’s most lasting take on the trope.
Much like its Andrew Lloyd Webber counterpart, the silent film adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel isn’t exactly profound, but its combination of Edgar Allan Poe-inspired melodrama, first rate sets and costume and one of the greatest silent performances ever courtesy of Lon Chaney Sr. makes it supremely entertaining.
Chaney makes the Phantom threatening, childlike and sympathetic all through body language and facial expression. Gaston Leroux’s novel was not much of a success when it was first published but the film cast such a spell on audiences that the story of Erik and Christine has been retold, referenced and parodied countless time in popular culture, dozens of times in the century since its release.
All these years later, the sequence where the Phantom is unmasked, and Christine is shocked by his disfigurement is one of the most memorable scenes of film grotesquery and the forefather of the many disgusting creatures to populate del Toro’s celluloid dreamscapes.
Cinematographers, videographers and still photographers all use filters, and the new NATural Graduated ND filters from Tiffen Filters are a welcome addition to the list of options available to control light.
The move to digital cameras and the evolution of photo editing software has made many photographers stop using graduated filters, because of how easy it is to shot two exposures and mix them in post. This works rather well with static subjects, landscapes being one example. But replicating the effect of a graduated filter is not always possible or even desirable, so there are times when it is good to have some form of solution available. The NATural Graduated ND filters now introduced by Tiffen Filters are a viable solution if you need to have a set you can carry around.
As a photographer, I’ve stopped using grads quite some time ago, although I always carry NDs with me, because there is no way to replicate, in post, what they allow you to do: control exposure, depth of field and time. Still, I understand that for some types of photography, or simply out of personal preference, some still photographers might want to use graduated filters, ND or not, in the field, instead of using digital graduated filters in post.
Remember the Tiffen DFX digital filters?
Before I continue let me remind users that during the heydays of the digital discovery, Tiffen offered a stand alone or plugin solution – to Photoshop CS3, CS4 and CS5 -, to emulate Tiffen filters digitally. The package, Tiffen DFX Digital Filter Suite included over 2000 filters and effects used to modify the look of photos during post. The fact that the product has vanish from the market and there are no popular alternatives does suggest that after the initial excitement, photographers discovered there are limitations to what digital can do. Or maybe, as I prefer to think, they prefer to try getting as close to the final image as possible while in the field.
Although, as I’ve stated, I’ve nothing against shooting two or more exposures to create a final image that covers the whole exposure range, I am well aware that cinematographers and videographers can not follow the same logic while shooting. For them, the NATural Graduated ND filters from Tiffen are the only way to tame highlights and shadows directly while shooting. For moving images, these filters are a must. Still photographers may also want to check them, because, as I said, it is good to have a solution handy, just in case you need it.
Maximum color fidelity
“The NATural ND family now includes graduated filters to compliment the NAT ND solids for complete control of light across the visible and IR spectrum, maintaining total neutrality, resulting in unmatched color fidelity,” said Andrew Tiffen, SVP of Marketing, The Tiffen Company. “These glass filters represent a new era of Graduated ND and IRND filtration.”
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These new NATural ND Graduated Filters use clear WaterWhite glass and Tiffen’s patented ColorCore technology for maximum color fidelity that will not scratch off or fade over time. Now more than ever, today’s ultra-sensitive digital image sensors make controlling light more critical. Coupled with unwanted color shifts that can happen when using older ND technology (dyed), the Tiffen NATural ND family of filters have been created to ensure neutrality for accurate color rendition.
The new NATural ND Graduated Filters are designed, says the company, “to be used when capturing any scenes with a disparity of light between the top half of the frame and the bottom in order to create consistency in the final image.”
Available in five strengths, starting at clear and going up to 0.3-1.5 with the option of either soft (SE) or hard (HE) gradation and in sizes 4×5.65 and 6.6×6.6, Tiffen’s NATural Graduated ND filters are scheduled to be available Summer 2019 for list prices of $495.00 for the 4×5.65 and $525.00 for the 6.6×6.6.
Tiffen offers a variety of optical photographic filters for both photographers and cinematographers, including filters for cameras used with drones, and action cameras. From UV, polarizers, to diffusion, IR control, diopters or color FX, the range covers the needs of professionals and enthusiasts in different areas.
Glaswerk Optics just unveiled their ONE and ONE+ line of 2x anamorphic prime lenses at CineGear 2019.
Focal ranges include: 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 75mm, 100mm, 135mm, 180mm. All focal lengths are at T2.4. Plans for the 25mm lens to join the ranks are confirmed, but details on how soon we’ll see it aren’t.
No matter what size your film project or production is, you still need to protect your cameras, lenses and other equipment when shooting on location. At this year’s Cine Gear Expo, SKB Cases had a variety of cases and storage containers to suit just about any cinematographer. SKB Cases Project Manager Will Steven showed us three models in this video:
For more on SKB Cases for photo and video equipment, click here.
Be sure to check back for our continuing coverage of Cine Gear Expo 2019.
Longer telephoto lenses can be very pricey, especially if you’re only looking to use one occasionally or simply don’t have the money to drop five figures on top of the line glass. Luckily, third party companies have been producing excellent long zoom lenses for the last few years at much more affordable prices. Today only, you can get an even better deal on the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens in Nikon F or Canon EF mounts.