Thursday, March 25, 2021

Some must-watch war classics

Sometimes, you might find it tough to decide what’s available to watch online. Perhaps next time, you would like to take a fair look at some of the most popular war films to ever hit the silver screen. Here are some suggestions. Joe Cianciotto.

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The Dirty Dozen (1967)

If you want to have an idea of what an all-star cast looked like in the 60s, you should not miss out on watching The Dirty Dozen. Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Telly Savalas, and Donald Sutherland, among many others, star in a movie about a band of military convicts sent on a mission behind enemy lines, in the lead-up to D-Day. It’s very interesting to observe how various character flaws go against each other to come up with something of consequence. Joe Cianciotto.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

The effect of war is unpredictable, and there is no film that goes against generalizations and stereotypes like The Bridge on the River Kwai. This film centers on the harrowing experience of war imprisonment, coping with changes in the absence of hope, and finding meaning in whatever is available to you in your immediate environment. An army of weakened and impaired soldiers find themselves tasked to pour their hearts out in building a bridge, which symbolizes the greatest achievement they have ever made, only for this to be destroyed in the end. It’s interesting to see how war changes the perspective of those in captivity. Joe Cianciotto.

Platoon (1986)

Charlie Sheen stars in this blockbuster that is set in the Vietnam War. His character, private Chris Taylor, gets the reality check of his life as he sets out with a desire to serve his country, only to discover the moral compromises that being in the service seems to require at the ground level. Critics have lauded the film for capturing the struggles of war, as close to reality as it happened in Vietnam. The film’s multiple Oscars include Best Picture and Best Director. Joe Cianciotto.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Thoughts on architecture and Building Information Modeling


By now, many people may have already heard about BIM or Building Information Modeling. It is a 3D approach in designing buildings, which also incorporates 4D (time) and 5D (costs). This is currently the standard software in some architectural offices around the world. Except that there are still a few who still employ the 2D CAD or Computer Aided Drafting. In this article, architecture expert and design enthusiast Joe Cianciotto shares some of his insights in the melding of architecture and BIM.

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Complicated forms and supertall structures dominate today's landscape. It is increasingly becoming more prudent and wiser for architects and engineers to take advantage of BIM. Also, the industry itself is becoming more collaborative. Architects and engineers coordinate even more closely, pointing out conflicts, even at the schematic phase.

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According to Joe Cianciotto, architects, at the onset, exercise some liberty in the design stage. As the design develops, the structural elements and utilities come into consideration. A good designer takes note of these things early on. If incorporated in the design process, a BIM model helps the design team detect conflicts with other trades. For example, structural elements such as columns and beams were found to be at odds with a design feature. Sometimes, even the ductwork of air conditioning systems has a great chance to affect the ceiling height of a hallway below.

Two BIM software currently used worldwide are ArchiCad, developed by Graphisoft, and Autodesk Revit, currently offered by Autodesk, the developer of AutoCAD. Both software differ slightly in their interface. If you are an architect more familiar with SketchUp, it is also highly encouraged to learn these two leading BIM software, especially when planning to take up more involvement in the architectural practice.

Monday, January 25, 2021

A heartfelt salute to the man himself, Akira Kurosawa


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When the topic of the greatest Asian film directors in history is brought up in a conversation, there's a name that's always mentioned first. Akira Kurosawa's influence has transcended race and culture. In fact, countless of the most iconic films in Hollywood such as "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" and "The Magnificent Seven" to seemingly unlikely films like the Pixar classic "A Bug's Life" and Roger Corman's cult film "Battle Beyond the Stars," all carry the immortal Asian director's influence. Joe Cianciotto

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Kurosawa's most popular film, "Seven Samurai" itself has spawned several remakes and Western re-imaginings, from John Sturges' and Antoine Fuqua's versions of "The Magnificent Seven," to Fuqua's "Tears of the Sun" and "King Arthur," to Takeshi Miike's "13 Assassins" just to name a few. Joe Cianciotto.

And that's just one of Kurosawa's films.

Kurosawa's storytelling style of "Rashomon" shows different character perspectives of the truth and has also been incorporated by countless directors throughout the years. And then there's "Yojimbo," which, as opposed to a group in "Seven Samurai,s" created one of the first lone-wolf anti-heroes, a precursor of many action heroes from Dirty Harry to John Wick. Joe Cianciotto.

What about you? What are your favorite Akira Kurosawa and Akira Kurosawa-inspired films? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section below. Joe Cianciotto.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

3 movies to hook you into its comic universe

 The era of comic-based movies started when Marvel released a movie after movie coming from its rich comic universe. Although these movie universes and comic universes have very different storylines, their characters most, if not all, are unchanged from each other. Joseph Cianciotto is here to share some of his recommended movies to watch if you’re into comics. Joe Cianciotto

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This 2019 film features a foster boy named Billy who was chosen by a wizard of the past to inherit the power of one of the 5 great wizards of the past to battle against the 7 deadly sins. This seemingly normal boy turns into an electric-wielding superhuman by shouting the hero’s name “Shazam!”. In the comics Shazam also has a villain counterpart called Black Adam who seeks his power. This film has been highly rated and features Zachary Levi as the cast for the quirky Shazam. Joe Cianciotto.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Another recent movie, Spider-Man features Peter Parker, a highschool student who so happened to get bit by a radioactive spider. However, in the film mentioned, Parker is more experienced as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and is duty bound to protect Harlem, his hometown, from harm. He battles relevant figures such as Vulture, Mysterio and others. This movie also features cameos from famous Avengers such as Iron-Man and Captain America. Peter Parker is played by English actor Tom Holland. Joe Cianciotto. 

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Logan is a 2017 film featuring the grumpy but nevertheless reliable Wolverine. In the film, Logan, also known as Wolverine, roams the land with his “daughter”, Laura, also known as X-23. Together, they run from people who are hunting Laura, wanting to experiment on her. Joseph Cianciotto suggests you get some tissues as this film is very emotionally heavy. It follows as well that Logan is played by the ever iconic Hugh Jackman. Joe Cianciotto.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

What can viewers expect from MCU Phase 4?


Joe Cianciotto.Marvel Phase 3 has left many fans wanting for more. While many are missing the presence of the franchise's old guards, the cinematic universe's most loyal fans are awaiting new stories that will introduce them to more characters. Here are the series and movies fans can anticipate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4. 

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Black Widow, 2021

Joe Cianciotto. After Natasha Romanoff's death in Endgame, it seems that there's still a lot to unpack with her character. The movie will become Marvel Studios' first movie with a solo female director in Cate Shortland. For those who are wondering where the story will fit, it will follow the events of Captain America: Civil War and will tackle the past of Natasha's time as a KGB assassin. Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour are also set to appear in the film.

WandaVision, 2020

Joe Cianciotto. According to insiders, this Disney+ series will likely draw from the series House of M and Vision. In the trailer, fans will recognize a 1950s sitcom style and the usual MCU action featuring Wanda and Vision. However, in this series, other MCU characters from various films will also make an appearance such as Darcy from Thor, Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man, Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel, and possibly more. Many think that the story of the star-crossed lovers might pave the way for the plot in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, 2021

This movie hopes to make the same effect as Black Panther as it features the MCU's first Asian-American lead character. With Simu Liu playing the role of Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist. In this movie, Asian superstar Tony Leung will play the role of the Mandarin. As an Asian outlet, the film was written by Chinese-American Dave Callaham and directed by Asian-American Destin Daniel Cretton. Joe Cianciotto.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The effects of the global health crisis on the film industry

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The film industry has taken quite a hit since the global health crisis went into full swing around March. While viewers miss seeing some of their favorite A-list celebrities in potential blockbusters, many more people working in the film and movie theater industries have felt the brunt of the economic fall-out. Joe Cianciotto

For starters, many films were pushed back, some to even more than a year. Since cinemas have been shut down or offered tickets at only half their capacity or less, many major studios decided to delay movie release dates to avoid losing tens of millions of revenue. Other studios elected to release their features on streaming sites. Joe Cianciotto

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For many films and TV shows as well, production has only resumed in the past few weeks. Filming was halted all over the world to keep the cast and crew safe. This also resulted in the delayed release of countless more titles. Joe Cianciotto.

More and more people in the film and TV industries, especially those who don’t make as much as stars and executives, are all trying to do what they can to make ends meet since their main income comes from studio productions or employed theaters and other entertainment outfits. Joe Cianciotto.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Controversial films series: 'The Last Jedi'


No other film in recent history has divided an entire fandom quite like "Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi." While the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX) have been box-office hits, all of them have had mixed reviews, with The Last Jedi being the most extreme of them all. Joe Cianciotto

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Very few fans have stayed in the middle and thought, "It was okay." Most Star Wars fans either believed it was one of the best entries of the franchise or simply the worst film they've ever seen. In fact, "The Last Jedi" effectively ruins relationships as much as political and religious inclinations are. Joe Cianciotto.

Much of the blame goes to Rian Johnson, who, to be fair, made the Herculean effort to craft his vision in George Lucas' creation. But maybe because it was his first attempt at the genre, some aspects of the film felt out of place, such as the unnecessary humor and disconnecting subplots. Joe Cianciotto. 

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But perhaps the greatest sin of "The Last Jedi" or the fault that earned the fury of legions of fans was how the death of Luke Skywalker was handled. Being the centerpiece and main hero of the Star Wars saga, every fan wanted to see Luke in action again, 30 years after defeating Vader. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. It was tragic, and not in a good way. Joe Cianciotto.