The Giver Review: “Not Entirely Bad, Worth a Watch.

Alright well, I don’t entirely agree with the critics that this is a bad movie (31% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it isn’t entirely amazing either. It’s worth a watch. The purpose for this review is to give you a decent reason to see this and to show that it isn’t a horrible film as critics are saying. The way I will break this down is with my review from a filmmaker’s perspective and a review from someone else, a book reader’s perspective.

I did not read the book so the following is my review:
-Taylor Swift’s role: Forgettable and could have been replaced with any actress looking to get into the film business. Solely used for marketing and advertisement.
-Actor Performances: The only main actors that had any character development was Jeff Bridges’ and Brenton Thwaites’ roles. All the other characters were portrayed as dull and boring and any actor and or actress could have replaced their roles. I understand that they’re roles were to be emotionless, but that’s no excuse. Show class and make that character special. This is partly due to the director’s fault because any director could have directed the actors.
-Music and Soundscape: Music was a little above par. Nothing memorable, but is decent. The trailer music made it seem way more intense than the movie actually was.
-Visual Effects: The only visuals that stand out are the solo color changes in objects and changed color tones that happen throughout the film and its not much. This film doesn’t have very many visual effects that take this film to a new level in terms of a science fictiony film.
-Art Direction: I’m in love with the art direction. The styles of the architecture, sets, set design, and props were very interesting to see.
-Script: There really wasn’t much of a conflict and the ending wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. There isn’t anything new that hasn’t been done in other films. The script is simple. However it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
-Humor: There was no humor. This was a very serious film. Humor could have helped.
-Awesomeness Factor: There wasn’t much of an awesome factor within this film beyond the found footage borrowed from Getty Images, NBC and CNN.
-Ethics: This film shows elephants being shot and no where in the credits did it say that Elephants were not harmed. I’m not happy with this and will explore this further.
-Impressions I got when I walked away from the movie: It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t entirely amazing.
-Cinematography and Arrangement of clips on screen: Cinematography was on par or just a little above par than some of the films released this summer. The found footage added an interesting element on screen that you don’t see in any other film besides Lucy this summer.
-Last second thought: The jittery frame rates on some scenes don’t work as well as the film creators might have hoped.

Review from a person that read the book (SPOILERS): The book version will always be a classic and have more of a preference for me than the movie, but I believe that the movie was satisfactory. The storyline went along with the original source material and had the important information and events that were portrayed in the book. Although there were some details that were not included in the movie that would have made it easier for the viewer to understand more in depth of the message of The Giver, it still showcased the delivery of individuality and the importance of love and relationships. The visual factor of this film is what I enjoyed most. As Jonas begins his training and continues to receive the memories, the color fades from black and white, to sepia, and finally to color. I think that the transition from black and white to color corresponded to the gradual knowledge that Jonas was receiving and the truth he slowly began to accept. Lastly what I liked about this movie is the chemistry between the characters of Jonas and Fiona. In the book, the relationship between Jonas and Fiona doesn’t seem to make a lasting impression. In contrast, I believe that the movie adds more to the effect of emotions and the realization that the love that the characters have for each other help push the story towards its main message. All in all this move was to my liking, and although there could have been more of a character development with many of the people in the film and there lacked a sense of conflict within the plot, it was entertaining and fun. Last second thoughts, Taylor Swift was not needed.

Ryan’s Marvel Movie Rankings








It’s time for me to break down my list of top Marvel films for you since there’s been a lot of controversy after my claim that Captain America: Winter Soldier was dull and boring compared to other films.

1. The Avengers, lets be honest here. The Avengers is amazing. It has amazing action, a script that actually makes sense, a load of laughs, it’s a no brainier. It’s a film you can watch again and again with a cliff hanger after the credits setting up the marvel universe with the biggest villain to ever appear on screen. Thanos will be amazing thanks to hype gained from the Avengers.

2. Spider-Man 2, is my number 2 because it is in my opinion the most emotional marvel film and one of the best movie sequels of all-time. Toby Maguire’s acting is top notch and he gives some fantastic performances both as Peter Parker and as Spider-man. Special effects and action sequences are great and the overall chemistry with the cast is fantastic.

3. Iron Man 1 is smart, it is fresh. A grand superhero movie that features a brilliant performance by Robert Downey Jr., in one of his best roles. Action is great and is better than all of it’s forgettable sequels.

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past is one X-men film that shouldn’t be disregarded. If you haven’t seen it then do so soon. This film blends the First Class prequel and the original trilogy very efficiently. It has all the action, special effects, new and old mutants and leaves you walking away feeling satisfied that this franchise of superheros can see the light of a new day and hopefully new films now that it’s opened up again.

5. X-Men First Class is all about style. With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise after it’s mishap from the X-Men Wolverine film.

6. The Amazing Spider-man 2. If you can forgive it’s length and pacing issues than you can appreciate how much was placed into this film. Screw all the critics that say this movie is bad. Shame on them. This is a great Spider-man film and is an upgrade in every aspect from the first Amazing Spider-man film. The Amazing Spider-man 2 is a very fun film and fun really is what this is. With some great visuals, great actor performances, great humor, and interesting villains, this film’s action sequences won it over Thor and Captain America for me along with the chemistry that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have compared to Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth.

7. Thor. I enjoyed Thor better than Captain America simply because I like Chris Hemsworth better than Chris Evans. I like Marvel’s first attempt at it’s space related visuals and the comedic value that comes with Thor over Captain America. In terms of badass factor I think Thor as a superhero crushes Captain America.

8. Captain America: First Avenger to me is better than it’s sequel due to it’s villain and it’s stylistic approach. The retro vibe and pulpy action scenes. Red Skull was so enjoyable to watch on screen I’m so disappointed we won’t be seeing him in any other Marvel films.  The feeling of satisfaction I got when I walked away from this film in Theaters was better than the Winter Soldier which is why I rate it better. To me it was more entertaining. The Pacing was strong and it ends with you looking forward for the Avengers.

9. The Amazing Spider-man: I feel like the reboot took it’s time compared to Sam Rami’s first Spider-man film. I enjoy Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s Chemistry. The Amazing Spider-Man is about on par in terms of quality; it’s just a different interpretation. Director Marc Webb injects this film with his indie romantic sensibility, creating a film that is first and foremost about relationships.

10. X2(X-Men United): Tightly scripted, solidly acted, and impressively ambitious, X2: X-Men United is bigger and better than its predecessor. The impact that this film had on me as a child is the reason why it’s at the end of my top 10.

The rest of the films below are my ranking from highest to lowest and won’t be as indepth as the top ten.

11. Iron Man 3 – Revives faith after Iron-Man 2. Even through the Mandarin was a disgrace I enjoyed it none the less.

12. Guardians of the Galaxy: Saw this twice in theaters. The only interesting characters are Groot and Rocket. The comedic value of this and end action sequences is better than the serious and dull tone of the Winter Soldier.

13. Captain America Winter Soldier: I’ve made the claim that it’s dull and boring before. I guess my problem is that it becomes too predictable. There’s cheesy dialogue; annoying cliches. Don’t get me wrong its not a bad film. But compared to other films, there aren’t enough elements to raise the bar high enough over the awe-factor of the first Captain America film. I think it’s a snoozefest and forgettable. Last point, Red Skull>Winter Soldier. Seeing Hydra’s return only made me pissed that they didn’t spend more time on Bucky aka the Winter Soldier’s character development.

14. Spider-man: It’s a decent film, it’s laughable and it has a lot of problems. But it’s enjoyable and iconic.

15. Spider-man 3:  This film was a train wrench. Too many characters that weren’t developed properly. It may be awful, but it’s hilarious to watch Peter Parker walk down the street when he’s fully committed to the black spider-man suit. That scene is priceless.

16. Thor: The Dark World (2013): Biggest issue I had with this film is that it’s forgettable compared to all the other Marvel films released around it’s time. I don’t even remember who that bad guy was.

17. “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006): Rushed, no character development. It’s a only worth watching for it’s cliches.

18. Daredevil: Suprisingly this film is ranked higher than some would think. I saw this film in theaters and I fell in love with it’s soundtrack that I purchased when I was younger. It’s a bloodier Marvel film. Bullseye and Kingpin may be laughable, but it could be worse.

19. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer: I downgraded this film so much because of how much they completely screwed up Galactus. I mean honestly, did the directors even check their source material?

20. X-Men(2000): It may be interesting to see all of the X-Men characters’ first appearances on film, however they’re forgettable.

21. Fantastic Four: This film is a joke and a slap in the face to all Comic fans. Doesn’t take it’s material seriously and deserves it’s spot towards the bottom.

22. Hulk-Ang Lee’s Version: This film is so laughable I can’t even begin to describe how much this film made me sick. It’s awful and ridiculous. It lacks personality and is a turgid, CGI-Frankenstein reject.

23. X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009): The Blob was in this film and Ryan Reynolds starred as the awful Deadpool. No thanks.

24.“Iron Man 2” (2010): Watch CinemaSin’s Video on Everything Wrong with Iron Man 2 along with Ryan Weiber’s Review of this film and you’ll understand more on why I don’t care for it.

25. Ghost Rider” (2007): Stars Nickolas Cage. Nuff said…

Movies I’ve haven’t seen:
“Blade: Trinity” (2004)
Blade II
Punisher: War Zone” (2008)
The Wolverine (2013)
The Incredible Hulk” (2008)
“Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance”
Man-Thing” (2005)
“Captain America” (1990)
The Fantastic Four: The Movie” (1994)
“The Punisher” (2004)
Elektra” (2005)
The Punisher” (1989)
Howard The Duck” (1986)

Adobe Flash Hand Drawn Animation Test 1

My random attempts at learning how to use Adobe Flash for animation is going great. This particular animation was one for a project in which you had to make based on an audio reference.

Lightwave 3D: Duck Hunt

I modelled and animated this little animation for my 3D animation class. It’s not the best, but hey its something. Lightwave 3D is a horrible program and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Every other element was made and composted in Adobe After Effects CC.

After Effects Tests: Jittery Text, Plexus, And Mir

Here are some After Effects Tests that I did within the past month that I uploaded on Youtube.

Trapcode Form 2 Abstract .OBJ Tests

Testing out depth of field with Trapcode Form’s .OBJ feature with some abstract models.

Adobe After Effects CC: Cartoon Effect Test

This cartoonish effect is a result of experimenting in Adobe After Effects with Toonit, Flash and Photoshop. I think it turned out pretty nicely.

Being a Videographer for a Christian Camp

                 Sonlight Christian Camp has come a long way from showing photo slide shows on hand cranked projectors to showing high definition highlight films. While being a videographer at Sonlight you not only experience one side of camp as a counselor or as a support staff member, but you experience the entire camp as a whole. Not only are you capturing memories, but you’re doing work in every part of camp from washing dishes to being upfront with the campers telling them about God. You’re the one that’s staying up the latest, waking up earliest, stressing a lot, and also the one that feels like you’re the  most involved at camp knowing what happens from every aspect.

                Of course the people, the food, the relationships, and the overall experience of being at Sonlight is amazing, but the best part about being a videographer specifically and exclusively is experiencing the feelings of when an audience views your work. When the campers, and their parents laugh, and tell each other about how amazing their weeks were while watching your highlight film gives you the most amazing feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. After the applause when your video is finished and you’re packing up, everyone from parents, to campers, to staff members always tell you how great your work is. Finally, the last part in this trip of feelings is knowing when parents and campers purchased your videos and that when they watch your videos again at home memories can spark a conversation and God could come alive at home through the highlight videos. It feels like you have butterflies in your stomach mixed in with warmth of endless happiness. It puts a huge smile on your face and puts you in the best mood ever.

Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

                Being a videographer at camp is not about the money, it’s about the amazing experience of capturing the experiences and memories at camp and being able to share them with everybody so that those memories can live on forever. 

Please Promise – Making Me New Promo

Here’s a quick video I made with local Kalamazoo band, Please Promise.

Please Promise talks about their newest single “Making Me New”.

Demo Reel Update, Video List Update, and more

It’s been a while since I updated my video list tab, so I updated it with all the films and visual effect videos that I made in the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013. Lots of gems both good and bad, and a lot of stuff that has been unlisted on my youtube channel. I also uploaded and posted a demo reel from 2012 to 2013 that I made for a class at the bottom of this blog post.

I also would like to apologize that I haven’t been true to my audience. I know that many of you have subscribed to my channel and website thinking that you were going to be seeing a load of amazing visual effects and be able to learn how to do them. I’m greatly sorry for my YouTube leave of absence. A new school year is upon me and I have been granted a very special opportunity again to reignite the flame and blow the minds that have watched my videos. Stay tuned because there’s some good stuff in store.


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