Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Real-Life 'Hobbit' Face Revealed : Discovery News

I just knew hobbits were real.

http://news.discovery.com/human/real-life-hobbit-face-revealed-121211.html


Tweet from @jimmyfallon

Check out this Jimmy Fallon tweet announcing that Roger is on the show. @jimmyfallon: Tonight: Anne Hathaway, Roger Waters, Robert Smigel & @macklemore & @RyanLewis. 12:37e on @NBC. #LateNight



Sunday, December 2, 2012

FULL BLACKBERRY 10 Demo

Check out this full demo of the new BlackBerry phone and operating system.  Could this save BB.  From the innovations I am hoping it at least competes with Apple and Android.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TlbMAPAFuY

Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Great Screenwriting Advice From David Mamet

THINK LIKE A FILMMAKER RATHER THAN A FUNCTIONARY, BECAUSE, IN TRUTH, YOU ARE MAKING THE FILM. WHAT YOU WRITE, THEY WILL SHOOT.

HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.

ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER "AS YOU KNOW", THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.





Friday, November 9, 2012

Lincoln

Is anyone really surprised by the rave reviews.  Link. With Spielberg's great attention to detail, dramatic flair, and passion for portraying historical characters as the real human being that they were, I am so psyched to see this movie. 

The Man With the Iron Fists

Wasn't expecting much from this and it delivered.  RZA is the Man With a Boring Character.  Not much back story is available to explain to us what this blacksmith is all about, what motivates him and what stowaway girlfriend could actually find appealing in him.  There are some interesting action scenes and battles but overall the story is much too basic and as a result I was easily bored, squirming in my seat hoping the movie was soon over. 
Russell Crowe provided some distractions as did the very beautiful female cast, however I just can't recommend this to anyone.   Brave try RZA but try again.

Some Star Wars Speculation

Who knows what Disney has up their sleeves, but this conspiracy theory might have some basis. Check it out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Great Letter

This is a letter that Stephen King wrote to himself as a 10 year old boy, when he was 62.

http://twitpic.com/81s7l5

NOTE: This electronic message and attachment(s), if any, contains information which is intended solely for the designated recipient(s). Unauthorized disclosure, copying, distribution, or other use of the contents of this message or attachment(s), in whole or in part, is prohibited without the express authorization of the sender of this message.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HBO Playing It Safe, Keeping It in the Family With New Pilot for James Gandolfini - Hollywood Prospectus Blog - Grantland

Gandolfini back on the waves? Looking for to it.

http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/58034/hbo-playing-it-safe-keeping-it-in-the-family-with-new-pilot-for-james-gandolfini

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Smokin' Jay Cutler

This is funny stuff.
http://smokinjaycutler.tumblr.com/

NOTE: This electronic message and attachment(s), if any, contains information which is intended solely for the designated recipient(s). Unauthorized disclosure, copying, distribution, or other use of the contents of this message or attachment(s), in whole or in part, is prohibited without the express authorization of the sender of this message.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I am only going to give this film a lukewarm recommendation, however there is a few redeeming qualities that allowed me to enjoy this  deliberately plotted film.
First of all, I was a little worried that a film about 9/11 might have underlying political undertones.  To my surprise, like the very good United 93 by Paul Greengrass, Stephen Daldry steered as far as possible from the event and focused more on the people and how they deal with their loss.  As I mention above, the pace of this story is quite slow and deliberate, as if to not leave any important detail out of the boy's journey.  The boy played by first timer Thomas Horn is the true revelation from this film.  His portrayal of Oskar Schell is very brave and unique.  I have always admired children actors and when they do it right, it can blow you away and carry an otherwise ordinary picture.  Although never fully explained, his character is a unique savant/genius whose compulsions and drive are uncompromising.  This character drags us through his thought process and as a gift allows us to see the evolving post 9/11 world through a different set of eyes.  Although he has the ability to show compassion (as he does to his struggling mother) his deductive observations of people and the world around him are quite vulcan-like.  A perspective I have always enjoyed.  He does not seem to be angry at the terrorists, nor is he defeated by the dejection of his loss. He almost accepts these as part of his new world and instead of succumbing he defiantly sets out searching for a way to retain or recover any part of his previous life no matter how small.  He is smart enough to realize that he will one day cease to remember what his father looked liked and how he made him feel, so he decides to continue on the mental exercise that his father left for him on the day that he disappeared. 
I think only an intelligent boy could play this part and Thomas Horn is such a boy.  See here how he confidently controlled the board on Jeopardy. This real life video is how young Thomas got his start acting.  Further only such as boy can have the maturity to navigate this evil world that men have created and literally piece together in a form of a puzzle.  His only struggle that he has a hard time resolving by himself is 'why would someone who did not even know my dad want to kill him'.  A great question, that know one can answer, nor does the film try.  He does at the same time understand that he is not the only child facing loss and unlike most (including adults for that matter) he can not only sympathize with this but is also willing to concede to it.  You will have to watch and discover this for yourself. 
Now there is one other thing that I would like to point out about this movie.  As I watched it I could not help but draw similarities between it and one of my all time favourite movies Empire of the the Sun.  Spielberg's classic is a superior movie in every way, however both offer a few similarities.   Both give us a relatively unknown young actor that deliver performances like we have never seen before.  Both characters face loss, are driven and share the distinction of having been thrust into premature adulthood given their untimely circumstance and surroundings.  Both prove to have demonstrated unique ways of being a survivor.   And I am also hoping that both produce huge box office stars.   Undeniably Christian Bale is an incredible and unique actor.  From the moment that I saw him in Empire of the Sun I knew I was looking at a future star.  Although he had done a list of minor characters after Empire it wasn't until I was being mesmerized by the his lead role in American Psycho that I searched back to make sure that he was in fact the little boy from Empire of the Sun.  I had a similar experience when I rediscovered Philip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights, from the first time he stood out to me in Scent of a Woman. You see some spark from a young performer like that and you only hope to see it again some day.  Perhaps Thomas Horn will not show the depth to repeat his performance but here's hoping. One other similarity is the unwilling mentor characters of John Malkovich and Max Von Sydow both brilliant roles in equally stunning careers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mr. King's


In the top picture I am in front of Stephen King's home in Bangor Maine.  Although it is not his home town it is the inspiration and setting for many of his best books.  Perhaps he likes its eerie name.  Instead he was born in Portland, Maine.  My admiration for his writing stems from how bravely he crafts a character and then turns around and spends that great investment by killing them.  He knows better than anyone that feeling for the loss of a character and feeling that horror can only be accomplished if you allow the necessary time for the character to be truly known by the readers. 

The smaller picture above is an example of some of the macabre ironwork that decorates the  four foot fence that keeps out the visitors.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Best Rock Bands

I found this top ten list and wanted to share it with you.  Tell me if you agree with the bands listed and the order.  I definitely agree with  one and two however there is some suspicious omissions and a many surprises. The Link.

What is She Thinking?

Avril Lavigne is engaged to Chad Kroeger of Nickelback.  Do you catchy but bad music take this really bad music to be your lawful wedded husband?  Not that this is going to ruin Canada or anything, but really how long do you give it?

I Hope They are Wrong

These guys are saying that starting Tannehill is a bad idea. I hope they are wrong. Link.

Friday, August 17, 2012

163 Horror Movies in 2.5 Minutes

In the spirit of some other great jobs in editing, take a look at this montage of videos. Plus it sports a pretty cool soundtrack as well. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chronicle

Well I'm not surprised that Chronicle is getting better rankings than Batman 3.  Its a better movie.  Even in the area where you would think that Batman would leave it in its dust.  Special Effects.  Maybe the special effects are not quite as visually stunning, however they suit the movie perfectly.  Bright, big and clear.  This is a very different movie, however.  Its every day persons brush with the supernatural (ala Heroes), where Batman is an every day dark and tortured person driven into being natural killing vigilante.  Personally the Batman hero persona appeals to be more, but as far as entertaining and thoughtful purpose, Chronicle carries more punch.  Spoilers could easily escape me if I went into too much details, so I will let you watch it.  Overall entertainment 8.0, historical movie significance 8.0.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Batman 3 The Dark Knight Rises

This installment of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies falls a little short of the previous two, however that's a minor quibble.  Story was a little drawn out and the action sporadic, however the performances and dialogue were top notch.  Bale was again good.  Caine had an expanded role and as always filled the screen with his talent.  I usually really like Cotillard, however she may have been a bit mis-cast.  Nolan has a tenancy to do that with his female supporting staff.  Gyllenhaal was really off in the previous movie.  Unlike a bunch of other reviewers I liked Bain and Tom Hardy's portrayal of him. His dramatic dialogue was pretty spooky and cool, and there is only so much you can pull off with that mask.

The film does however suffer a bit from 'more is less' syndrome.

Overall entertainment value 7.5 with a historical significance of 7.0 (grand as it was in scope it might be the one that is forgotten of the three.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

London Boulevard

Well a mildly entertaining film.  Started off really cool with a Guy Ritchie (at his best) pace and feel.  You could easily get the best of this movie by fast forwarding to the Colin Farrell/Ray Winstone exchanges.  These were really well done with cool tart dialogue.  Both can pull off tough guys really well.  Reminded me of the exchanges in Departed which it comes as no surprise that it was written by the same person William Monahan. 

 

This movie: Entertainment Value of 6.5 and historical film significance of 6.0 (only for the cool, tough guy exchanges)

 

An additive that I found and thought was also kind of cool.  A quote from William Monahan.

I wanted to be an old-fashioned man of letters, so I essentially prepared myself very carefully through my 20s for a job that doesn't exist anymore; You may be able to find a man of letters in Syria or the Horn of Africa, but you could work Manhattan or London with dogs for a year and never find one. Anthony Burgess is dead, Vidal is the last lion, and at any rate belles-lettres aren't where they were left. Anyway, I'm making movies now. Just before all this happened, I thought, 'Out of everything you can do or think you can do, pick one thing and be it.' What I picked was to be the screenwriter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Frank Ocean

I do not know much about this rapper, but judging from his performance on Jimmy Fallon's show last night, I look forward to hearing the rest of his new album Channel Orange.  Here is a link to the performance backed by Roots from the NBC site.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ted

There is no critical comment to add about Ted.   It is exactly what it promises to be - funny.  I laughed more in this movie then I have in a long time.  There wasn't any huge double over laughter but there was sustainable, consistent laughs that kept you entertained for 106 minutes.  Seth MacFarlane knows how to make guys laugh and now he knows how to do it in full length feature films.  He pulled this off with a bear folks.  Like he did in the past in 22 minute segments with a talking baby, dog and alien.  It even works as a romantic comendy.  Wahlberg, Kunis, McHale and Ribisi were aptly cast.  Ribisi is a genius.
Did you notice how many times a mentioned the word 'laugh'?   It was by design.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Music of Sorkin - Newsroom

The circling vultures seem to have found what they have been hoping for.  One episode in, most critics are calling out Aaron Sorkin for his new HBO series Newsroom.  I will not highlight those issues and instead let you decide for yourself.  Granted some of these critics have the luxury of screening 5 complete episodes and perhaps the series falls off the rails somewhere down the line, but from my early vantage point I am just delighted to once again hear the music and cadence of his dialogue writing.  Since West Wing went off the air I have been longing for this kind of writing.  It feeds a different part of my entertainment needs.  I have comedies to make me laugh, horror and suspense to make me jump and dramas to insight various other emotions. Sorkin on the other hand make me think.  There is no such thing as a lazy Sorkin fan.  If you don't keep up with the dialogue's quick pace and listen attentively for the various political references, you will soon find yourself left behind like a majority of the Nielsen audience grasping for the remote to watch a more mainstream form of mind-numbing entertainment.  Let's not forget folks, that last week behind the NBA finals, America's Got Talent pulled the highest ratings.

Typically characters come first, then story and finally dialogue.  With Sorkin, dialogue comes first.  Well researched content with historical validity.  And as you continue to tune in, the character development follows.  And from time to time real drama is born when its necessary catalyst 'crisis' is injected into the storyline.  For example, in West Wing we had a shooting, a kidnapping, heath scares etc.

Newsroom shows us that anchormen are not just faces with pleasant voices.  Anchormen or anchor-persons are real people and unlike in the old days, modern news is dictated by corporations and political agendas.  Perhaps the outcry from critics, who are for the most part paid journalists, stems from the same anti free press agenda.  With previous Sorkin series and screenplays the political content might have been easier to accept or wallpaper over as the jabs and accusations were less overt.  Newsroom stories are  instead based on true life past headlines that are unearthed and exposed to the light of truth or at the very least educated and plausible conspiracy theories.  As a result, the north american public may feel like they are being called out for being spoon fed lies.  This of course is based on the premise that people will actually watch this show.

So I truly hope that the upcoming episodes keep pace with the first.  I will keep in mind the criticisms identified by the critics and if I agree with them I will be the first to admit it.  Hey I once truly respected M. Night Shyamalan and if he can fall from grace anyone can. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

SNL and Kristen Wiig

This season's finale of Saturday Night Live was the best I had seen in quite some time.  Who would have thought that Mick Jagger was so funny and surprisingly comfortable with making fun of himself. in many of the jokes, poking fun at his contorting dancing and facial expressions, even his much rumoured sexuality.  The show had many funny and memorable moments.  The music acts were as Steven Tyler puts it 'over the top'  with collaborations of Mick with the Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire and the legendary and totally singular Jeff Beck.  Of course Steven Tyler did not escape un-parodied when Mick poked fun of his hair-brained judging comments in an Idol skit. 
Andy Samberg displayed his off-kilter genius with another Digital Short video teamed with Jason Sudeikis in a tribute rap to white rap champions The Beastie Boys.
Most memorable was the sendoff tribute to Kristen Wiig who IMO is the most natural female comic I have seen in a long time.  I see her tearing up the screen in the future in both comedy and serious roles.  Sorry tried to embed the video with no luck 'in our area'.  Yes, don't trust them Canadians.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Entertainment News

Greetings.  I have not written anything for a while and thought I would give a quick rundown of movies and  new tube programming that I have found interesting and/or enjoyable. 



First of all, I recently caught Cabin in the Woods.  Although I might not have been as overpowered by this as some of the critic reviews I have read, I can tell you that as a whole it was a good movie going experience.  Much of the scenes and memorable moments of this movie have been done quite well before within the genre.  But what makes this film unique is that it combines many styles, scenes and sub-plots into one movie going experience.  It almost seems as though the film maker Drew Goddard, was paying homage to all of the horror and sci-fi suspense flicks that influenced him.  In here, there are elements of other classics in the genre such as Saw, The Truman Show, Evil Dead, and any college kid spring break slasher movie. It even steals from Scooby-Doo for goodness sake.  If I have any real criticism, its that just when the film is gathering suspenseful steam, it breaks away to the puppeteers in the lab.   Now the string pullers are perfectly played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford,.  They provide most of the comic relief which is needed in such a bloodbath however their constant interruption seems to throw down snares in the horror plot's pace.  I did however enjoy the recipe of creepy secluded cabin, foreboding dock on a dark silent lake, range of emotionless killing monsters, the jock, the sweetheart, the sexpot and even a pot head cerebral hero.  All in all you will have some fun but could probably wait for this to come to video.


In Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol I might have found my favourite chapter of the MI franchise.  Poor Tom Cruise is looking a little stretched.  As Bilbo put it 'pulled and stretched over metal'.  (Sorry I don't know where that came from.)  However Tom still delivered, and for once the MI storyline was focused.  The action and stunt scenes were both incredible and as hard to believe as ever.  I really love a great villain.  This evil genius was of little consequence and really seemed secondary to the action.  However the action was enough.  Sometimes the female leads seems out of place in action pictures. In this case Paula Patton was believable and easy to look at.  Jeremy Renner is always good and Simon Pegg provided just enough comic relief to briefly interrupt dramatic pace.  See it on video.

HBO's second season of Game of Thrones has taken off where it left off last season.  Great story and beautiful production.  The pace is rather slow in the first few episodes, but I think I like where they are going.  Enough corruption and bloodshed to keep any viewer happy.  It is also interesting how the character Tyrion is building and how strong women characters continue to be introduced each episode.



VEEP is another HBO show.  Two episodes in and I'm still feeling it out to determine if it will have consistent writing and staying power.  So far, I like the quick wit and the characters.  Its a political mock comedy and brings back Julia Louis-Dreyfus who is a comic natural and should always be on TV.  You will also find the saucer eyes and larger than life lips of Anna Chlumsky of My Girl fame, who does a great job at her right hand.  It seems like a far less serious West Wing, but still has spirit.  Let me know what you think.






Girls is yet another HBO show that keeps me up late on Sunday nights.   I'm even more interested in this show.  The creator, writer, star and director of this project is Lena Dunham. Man am I impressed with what she is delivering here.  The writing is top notch, insightful, real and funny.  I laugh, out loud often while watching.  In my opinion this is what Sex In the City should be like.  I am sure all women can relate more with the girls of Girls than the unreal shoe obsessed characters of Sex in the City.  What the characters of Girls ponder and complain about is probably more realistic and less pathetic than the S in C dialogue.  I have only watched two episodes, so it may be too early to tell but this dark comedy and Lena's genius remind me of how Ricky Gervais broke out with The Office.  I really hope you and enough other people watch this show and keep it on the air.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Looper

I'm looking forward to seeing this futuristic time travelling hitman movie. http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/04/looper-trailer/ Joseph Gordon-Levitt and someone I haven't seen for a while, Bruce Willis.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Walking Dead

Wow again. Bravest show on TV. I'm sure Game of Thrones will testthis theory. We'll see.