Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Quiet And Celebrated Films Of 2017

With each passing year, the movie industry welcomes the brightest minds and their masters of delivery during film festivals and other celebrations for the art form. 2017 saw a ton of effort and potential from veterans and amateurs, and enthusiasts are rejoicing at the sight of them bagging awards. 

Image source: mentalfloss.com

Get Out 

Directed by half the of comedic duo “Key and Peele,” the film is classified as a psychological horror film, quite the opposite one would expect from Jordan Peele. His direction, however, drives far from where he’s mostly known for and has brought audiences to the edge of their seats as the racial issues in America is tackled with excellence in cinematic storytelling. For a first-time director, Peele did a fantastic job. 


The directorial debut of Justin Chon should be on every movie buff’s list of films to take note of. Shot in black and white, others thought about it being pretentious at first look. However, it helped tell the story of LA riots as a backdrop for looking into the complex relationships the American society has hammered onto its communities of color while giving the characters the development they need to be understood. The film is a gem, with great, witty lines and a promising cast. 

The Shape of Water 

Guillermo del Toro has this film in his mold for 25 years and has been in his mind since his teenage years. “The Shape of Water” is a retelling of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” with affection instead of gimmick. With two leads who can’t speak, the story is told by their emotional tension mixed with an award-winning score, and practical effects. 

Image source: chicagoreader.com

David Berkowitz is a production designer for indie films from Chicago. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California. For more insights on the TV and movie industry, subscribe to this blog.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Great forensic science films for the would-be medical detective

The allure of forensic science to both casual viewers and students interested in pursuing a career in the field has largely been affected by the rise of films and TV shows about it, from “CSI” to “Bones” to “Law and Order.” Medical investigators have become regarded as hard-working heroes who often work outside the limelight, the crucial piece in solving the most perplexing of crimes. Here are three of the best films on forensics that should further forensics’ appeal. 

Image source: IMDB.com

The Day of the Jackal 

This 1973 film, based on the acclaimed book by British writer Frederick Forsyth, tells the tale of a professional assassin called “The Jackal” who was hired by a French paramilitary organization to kill French president Charles De Gaulle. It aids the world of forensic science with its intricate depiction of the careful killer, who utilizes counterfeit documents, custom rifles, and multiple identities. Part of the film’s overall excitement is in following the elaborate policework needed to track him down. 

The Usual Suspects 

This 1995 cult classic is a must-watch for anyone who’s into forensics. It has everything: great acting, a solid narrative, and a grand twist in the end that most audiences will be unprepared for. Kevin Spacey, in particular, was superb in this whodunit masterpiece. The would-be forensic scientist will learn a lot about paying attention to the seemingly most mundane of clues by watching this flick. 


Another 1995 film that suits the detective thriller genre is this haunting film about two investigators in hot pursuit of a sinister serial killer out to murder people violating the seven deadly sins. Stellar acting by its main cast (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) is complemented by the dark and gloomy urban setting. Stay with it to the end, for one of the most harrowing twists in cinema history. 

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Hello, I’m David Berkowitz of Chicago, a huge movie fan. For more film recommendations, click here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The most poignant creations of Hayao Miyazaki

It is almost impossible to think of Hayao Miyazaki and feel absolutely nothing about what he has accomplished as an artist. That “artist” label fits him perfectly. This Japanese director, producer, animator, and writer is one of the most visionary cinematic legends of all time. He has made Japanese animation an international sensation, a medium capable of expressing the most beautiful human ideals or the most heartbreaking realities of the human condition. Through fantastic stories that enrich our imagination but always tell us about the inevitability of life happening, Miyazaki’s creations are superb representations of the highest kind of creativity. Here are some of the most poignant works of this genius: 

Image source: flickr.com

Princess Mononoke: This is probably one of the most complex depictions of environmental and social decay associated with our society. It is a filmic masterpiece that is full of unmatched adventures and expansive, beautiful images. The story of a banished warrior-prince who falls in love with a woman raised by wolves is surely more than that simple narrative line. 

My Neighbor Totoro: Miyazaki creates one of the most understated animated features ever created. The visuality of it all, primarily because of the fantastic elements, is simply rich with stunning imagery, but the story is as spare as it can be. That is precisely the charm and brilliance behind it that it says so much more than what it shows. What you have are two daughters brought to the countryside to be closer to their sick mother. One can feel exactly why this is going to be poignant.

Spirited Away: The cultural implications of this masterpiece by Miyazaki are truly excellent reasons for watching this movie. This is one of the most intelligent retellings of any story anywhere in the world. Miyazaki takes Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and transforms it into a contemporary fable that is as philosophical as the original but completely advanced in its social awareness. 

Image source: flickr.com

Hello! David Berkowitz here. I am a production designer for an independent film production company in Los Angeles, California. This job has been one of my wildest dreams since childhood. I have always been very interested in knowing what really happens behind the scenes. To know more about brilliant movies, visit my Twitter account.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Has 'Blade Runner 2049' lived up to the hype?

The new “Blade Runner” movie has finally arrived, and people can’t stop talking about it. Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” is a follow up of the 1982 sci-fi classic made by Ridley Scott. Thirty-five years after the movie’s first release, fans are praising the new film for its creative success. Reviews say that it keeps you captivated even if it’s almost three hours long. 

Image source: digitalspy.com

With Ryan Gosling headlining the cast, Harrison Ford’s return has given the audience a treat of what it’s like to see their cult-favorite more than three decades after. Although the “Blade Runner” doesn’t exactly ask for a sequel, “Blade Runner 2049” was something fans didn’t think they needed. It built up of major expectations from critic and fans alike. The new film has the aura of its predecessor, and the casted vision for 2019 was translated into the film impressively. It didn’t change much, but it did improve in terms of the overall look of the set. 

The aesthetics of this movie is a big chunk of its major success. It didn't veer much away from the Scott’s original, though, which is great for hardcore fans of the cult classic. The story lacked in some areas such as in the story. Some concepts that were carried out through the film were poorly introduced, which could possibly leave other viewers perplexed as to what the character is going through. 

The movie imposed great challenges for its new forerunners. But as for how it’s doing at the box office? It’s undeniably a big win for its filmmakers and its fans. 

Image source: eonline.com 

Hi! My name is David Berkowitz. I’m a production designer for indie films and I’m a huge fan of 'Blade Runner.' For similar updates, follow me on Facebook.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Three Tips for Surviving a Horror Movie

Horror movies are a special genre of movie because they can scare the heck out of you yet they’re still fun to watch. But watching a horror movie for the first few times, or getting back into them, can be frightening for days on end.

Image source : srcdn.com
However, there are things you can do to prepare yourself and enjoy the watching experience. Here are some of those:
Read about the movie before you watch it
Read about the movie just so you know what it’s about. You can also read reviews to know what others think of it. If you don’t mind spoilers, you can read the synopsis of it. For some, knowing what will happen reduces the fear but not the thrill. Decide whether or not you want to watch it based on what you’ve read. If you feel you can’t, then skip it and maybe watch it later when you get used to watching suspenseful films.
Go to the bathroom before starting the movie
Especially if it’s at night, you may not want to wander the halls alone so make sure you empty that bladder.
Watch it with someone else
Especially if it’s really scary, never watch a horror movie alone. Watch it with people like your family members or friends.

Image source : kompas.com
The name’s David Berkowitz. I’m a production designer for films. I love the Star Wars franchise. Visit my LinkedIn profile to know more about me.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hidden Life Lessons From ‘Star Wars’

Image source: CSN Chicago 
The wisdom of the Jedi, The Force, and the Sith Lord are not ones to be ignored when you think about how to deal with life. LifeHack.org offers a rundown of lessons from “Star Wars” that you need to know today.

First, commit to the life you want to live, and actually live it. Instead of getting frozen in fear and fighting uncertainty, recognize that nothing in life is certain, and it’s always high time to make a decision and stick with it. Second, surround yourself with people who support you and believe in you. Do not waste time and energy on those who bring you down, leading you to the dark side. Instead, fill your life with doers and believers.

Next, don’t lie to yourself; rather, listen to your heart and The Force within you. As Yoda said, “Already you know, that which you need.”

In the same vein, don’t let impossible odds hold you back, as perfectly articulated by C-3PO: “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.” In “The Empire Strikes Back,” Han Solo said: “Never tell me the odds.”

Image source: New York Times
You might also be surprised how success could stem from overcoming failures. Obi-Wan Kenobi once challenged: “Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Hard work paves the way for success, and it is through the ability to see setback as a stepping stone that you can get closer to victory.

David Berkowitz is a Chicago-based film buff who has always been interested in knowing how meticulously people design and create masterpieces such as 'Star Wars.' Read more movie facts on this blog.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rogue One Breathes New life into the Star Wars Universe

Who would have thought that this side-story of a prequel would rekindle the faith of fans in the Star Wars franchise? The positive and even rave reviews came out of leftfield, but it shouldn’t be a surprise now. Let’s look at why Rogue One is as good as advertised.

Let’s face it: before the current trilogy was announced, many solid fans were harboring much disappointment with how episodes one to three had turned out. While the cinematics and overall visual aspect were much better, the characters looked fake; the heavy indulgence in CGI left viewers feeling like they watched a video game. Even familiar characters came across as odd, even flat. The Phantom Menace did much in menacing the fan base, and Attack of the Clones made it worse.

Image source: starwars.com
But Rogue One, riding the coattails of The Force Awakens (2015), ensured that respective directors J.J. Abrams and Gareth Edward’s take on the franchise should be taken seriously, and with much fanfare. Much has been said about the former, but Rogue One surely is the new fan favorite.

While we wait for the new trilogy to be realized, Rogue One succeeds in reminding us why we love the franchise in the first place. Real and relatable characters, a grand ambition, awesome fight scenes, and none of that mushy love story arc that would have weakened the plot greatly.

Image source: denofgeek.com
And it’s not because the movie ended badly for our heroes; we all knew it would. It’s more because we felt sincerely bad for their plight as though we didn’t know.

High-quality films, such as Star Wars, Reservoir Dogs, Blade Runner, and The Godfather, are some of the projects that helped me realize my love and passion for filmmaking. I’m David Berkowitz of Chicago, a production designer for an indie film production company. Do visit my blog for more articles..