Limitless (2011)

I just saw Limitless [imdb, wikipedia, trailer – though I prefer the shorter one on imdb] and am having a love affair with the cinematography. It was directed by Neil Burger and the DP was Jo Willems. Randomly both are involved in filmed movies I am waiting for: Burger is doing Divergent, and Willems is doing the next Hunger Games. My understanding of whether the director or the DP creates/styles/frames the shot is shaky at best, but however it was decided I love it because the visual basically shows the story in exactly my thought process. Take this clip for example: she gives his keys back and then breaks up with him. The motion and focus on the keys, then the pan up to the face as the character realizes what it implies, and then the pan/cut to her reaction to his reaction. He’s thrown by the gesture and his shot moves a lot, close to disorienting, but her shot is steady as is her resolve. I kind of wish it was a straight pan from his face to her’s, but that’s really only something I thought about after I rewatched the scene a few times.

limitless breaking up

 The whole movie utilizes perspective and moving shots, playing with varied levels of disorientation, to signify how the drug changes perception. The color schemes of the shots also change, but I found that secondary to the physical set up of the shots. I will to make some more gifs and write another post (or two).

Limitless: its journey from novel to movie – by Alan Glynn, the author of The Dark Fields, the book, the movie was based on

Apps for Filmmaking

Throwing my hat in the ring: RadarNow is essential if you’re outside in finicky weather. I used it all the time during frog fieldwork. And now for some inspiring imaginatively titled posts. There’s a lot of overlap, but generally the last 2-3 apps will be different.

Both Android and iOS



Randomly I found a 6.5 minute tutorial on how to use a slate app… that seems a bit excessive, but to be honest I haven’t seen the tutorial or used a slate app, so I could be completely wrong!

At some point I will go through all these and create an actual list… but not today.

Bite Sized Documentaries

For someone with a professed interest in documentaries, I don’t watch that many. I’ll watch 4 episodes back to back of my TV fling of the week (total 172 minutes), but I won’t watch a full documentary because of the time commitment to sit still that long (ADD, what?). I’m trying to fix that. Many of us have a desire to better our knowledge of the world (see this blog), but realistic effort tends to fall short, since most of us are intrinsically lazy bastards (and some have lives).

This is the realism acknowledged and addressed by the New York Times’ Op-Docs. Each documentary short is 5 minutes or less and the couple I saw really make use of the visual medium.

Solo, Piano – NYC – Could be a poignant short story, but simple, low quality pictures are far more effective, especially at the end. I wish they had run video instead of stills, but I can see how it would be logistically problematic.

Soda Ban Explained – Though covering current news events, this short was in the same style generally found on vimeo, utilizing stop-motion, hand-cam, and visual gags. It presented information in an engaging manner, with good visuals, instead of dry droning talking heads. That’s the problem with TV news, it’s presented like radio. Except for the weather, the scrolling stock market numbers, and the occasional mugshot, I might as well be listening to the radio.

Grabbers (2012)

This is a story of good advertising and good acting. Basically everyone had their shit together here. I saw the poster featuring Russell Tovey’s face and thought I would love it and bought a ticket without reading the preminse. Then I was sure I wouldn’t like it. Then suddenly I loved it. It’s all very Shaun of the Dead. I thank all higher powers that this movie wasn’t made in USA featuring drunk college frat boys, Will Ferrell, and Jack Black. I can envision that movie and it isn’t pretty.