Friday, February 29, 2008

Yeah...I'm gonna love this

The new and final "Iron Man" trailer has hit the web. The 'blowing up the tank' shot looks much better since the Super Bowl ad. All I have to say is "Tell you what...through a little hot rod red in there".

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Oscars: the good, the bad, & the missing

This year's Academy Awards seemed to be pretty average.

I certainly was pushing for "Juno" to win some major awards and in fact it did. I have not seen "No Country For Old Men" and therefore had no stake in whether or not the film won. Just that it got in the way of "Juno".

Jon Stewart was fair as host. He never seemed to leave his mark on the show anywhere. Some of his jokes were good, perhaps a little too political at times, but that did not mean he wasn't enjoyable. Billy Crystal is still the best and no one has topped him yet. Note the blatant Apple product placement shot when Stewart talked about watching "Lawrence Of Arabia" on his portable device. Turning what was clearly an iPod Touch on it's side, he commented on the ability to watch the movie larger on the screen. I did love when they came back from commercial one time where he and some little girl were playing Wii tennis on the gi-normous screen.

Amy Adams singing “Happy Working Song” from "Enchanted" seemed a bit lite considering she was the only one on stage. It would have been better to see her perform "That's How You Know" in a full ensemble musical number which was instead performed by Kristin Chenoweth.

I thought the 80th Oscar montage could have been much better, speaking from montage cutting experience myself. There needed to be a much wider range of feeling and emotion to really encapsulate this milestone. But in the end it seemed to be a little two dimensional. The "Binoculars" and "Nightmares" montages were funny though.

The "In Memoriam" montage was very well done, as usual. There were a couple of people I did not know had passed away and found myself reflecting on that for a moment, almost missing the next couple. I do want to see the whole thing again. I really felt Heath Ledger should have had a line of dialogue from "Brokeback Mountain" at least. particularly since he is so fresh in everyone's mind. Not to put him above the others, although they did squeeze a line or two in from a few so they could have here to put a final stamp of admiration on the piece.

And who was missing from all this? Roy Scheider. Roy Scheider! Why was he left out of the roll call?

Right below the "In Memoriam" title there was a line that read 'February 1, 2007 - January 31, 2008'. Some folks may have questioned exactly what time period these passings fell to include them in the montage. So this could have been The Academy's answer to the confusion. But still, Scheider should have been included...dates be damned! Yeah he'll be there in next year's montage. But his passing is so fresh and could have easily been editorially inserted, even if there was a time constraint. Trust me, I know how this works.

Was very happy to see "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody win Best Original Screenplay, and of course Daniel Day-Lewis taking the very well deserved Best Actor nod for "There Will Be Blood". I also really appreciated Editor Christopher Rouse's Best Editing win for "The Bourne Ultimatum". Another well deserved award.

But didn't everyone think Cate Blanchett was going to be a lock in the Best Supporting Actress category for "I'm Not There"? I would have also expected Amy Ryan of "Gone Baby Gone" to win. But in a bit of a surprise Tilda Swinton took the prize. I certainly like her and look forward to seeing "Michael Clayton" at some point though.

The big upset of the night was Marion Cotillard's win as Best Actress in "La Vie en Rose". I think several million people across the globe all said. "...AH WHAAAAAA?!" at the same time. While several other million thought, "Who is that?". The favorite in this category was Julie Christie, and yes I was pulling for "Juno's" Ellen Page to turn everyone on their ears. But here comes this French actress in this French movie no one has seen or heard of. Very good for her and the film, but a head scratcher for everyone else.

Why did "The Golden Compass" win for Best Visual Effects?! Those effects looked very CG in all the trailers and extended Comic-Con clip I saw prior to the movie's release. Even though I didn't see "Pirates" I thought those effects looked better. "Transformers" (which I did see) looked ten times better than "Compass"! WTF! Plus I think they could have found two more entries from this past year to make it five like the rest of the categories.

Probably my favorite moment of the night was what followed Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova ("Once") taking the stage to accept their Oscar for Best Song. There's always that damned clock that ticks off the 30 seconds everyone has to give thanks. In most instances, when it hits zero you're done. Hansard approached the microphone first to give his acceptance remarks, followed by Irglova who was abruptly cut off by the orchestra which chimed in a bit early. She ended her barely begun acceptance speech and turned to walk off stage when the music briefly stopped, then resumed. After the commercial break Jon Stewart announced that Irglova did not have the opportunity to say her thank-you's properly and would be coming back on stage to do so. I outright applauded.

This was a classy moment that in past years might have been overlooked or perhaps thought of as 'oh well, we fucked up but the show must go on...sorry". But this was a clear acknowledgment that they (the show) had fucked up and needed to correct the situation. Bravo!...and what a wonderful treat for Hansard and Irglova who were having the most amazing night of their careers. They probably did not expect to win against "Enchanted"'s three nominations.

I also appreciated Tom Hanks introduction and inclusion of American soldiers in Baghdad who presented the nominations for best documentary short and announced the Oscar winner, "Freeheld," by video. This could have been a nice little 'Happy 80th Anniversary to The Academy" moment, and then out. But those men and women actually read the list of nominees and had an awards envelope right there to open. It was great to see them included as opposed to just a nod to our fighting men and women abroad.

So "No Country For Old Men" won Best Picture. Yeah, that's nice.

I'm not really sure I want to see this film but am curious after all the hubbub and might catch it on cable when it airs. The Coen Brothers can be strange and enigmatic at during their acceptance for Best Director and Picture. I think they and The Wachowski Brothers should get together and go bowling. Would probably make for an interesting short film. By the time their awards were handed out, the show had lost a bit of steam because everyone knew they'd win. Rah-bah-bah. I was pretty much done right after Daniel Day-Lewis won his award anyway, knowing what was most likely to come.

And on a final note, I don't give a shit that Disney owns ABC which broadcasts the Oscars. Stop waving Miley Cyrus around all the time, we don't fucking care! This was the clear reason why they interviewed her on the red carpet and her inclusion as a presenter during the ceremony. No more Hannah Montana! If I knew she was going to be so obscenely huge I would have turned around and bopped that kid in the head when Billy Ray Cyrus brought her to the edit bay while I was cutting "Radical Jack" in '99!

BTW, it was good to see Jack Nicholson back in the front row.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Independent Spirit Awards

"Juno" won several major Spirit Awards (the Oscars of the indie film scene) last night, include Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Ellen Page), Best First Screenplay (Diablo Cody). But surprisingly Director Jason Reitman did not win.

Was very glad to see "Juno" clean up and am really hoping some of that magic rubs off on 'the little film that could' tonight at The Academy Awards. I'd love to see it totally upset "No Country For Old Men", which is the favorite to win Best Picture. We'll see...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Kodak Moment

At The Cannery on Wednesday they had to do a major export of the various pieces for "Shutter" (I cut the main one), so I had a couple of hours to stop by The Kodak Theatre in daylight. Glad for the time because I originally knew the only opportunity this week would be in the evening. Was able to side step fighting rush hour in and out of Hollywood.

It was great once again to take in the place that would be the industry focal point this weekend. Usually when I look for an opening in the plastic that covers the red carpet I find one along the edge. This time there was one the size of a slice of bread practically right in the middle of the entry arch. I reached down and put my hand on The Precious just as a security guard looked my way. He said very nicely that I probably should not do that. I told him I came there every year to do just that, like touching the grass at Fenway or Yankee Stadium. He smiled and said his supervisor was behind him and doesn't even let them touch it. No worries, I said. I had my feel.

I walked back in towards the main staircase that leads to the actual entrance to the theatre itself. As I was about to take a turn towards the parking garage, I noticed another opening in the plastic. Near the very edge there was a pile of carpet threads that had not been vacuumed away yet, clearly because they'd just installed the carpet recently. I leaned down, grabbed a handful of threats to no one's dismay, and then headed for the car. It might sound funny but hey, I'd love to grab myself even a half inch of the actual Academy Awards red carpet as a token of my dreams! But this was the best, most easily accessible thing I could I grabbed it!

On Sunday I'll be watching the stars walk on that first spot of carpet I touched near the entry arch, and I'll be thinking......some day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oscar Week & The Kodak Theater Pilgrimage

Time to head over to The Kodak Theater for my annual pre-Oscars walk of the red carpet. This always centers me; the movies, the film industry, my career. All these things in their purist forms and dreams.

The Eddies, the awards given by A.C.E.: The American Cinema Editors, were just presented with film editor Christopher Rouse's "The Bourne Ultimatum" taking top honors. Certainly the best of the pack which included "Into the Wild", "Michael Clayton", "No Country for Old Men", and "There Will Be Blood". Although I would definitely place "Blood" next to "Bourne". "Bourne" winning will also be the outcome for the Oscars Sunday night where it's pitted against "Blood" once more.

My other picks for some of the Academy Award nominations are:

Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood"
This is a lock on everyone's best bet card and I agree after having seen the film last weekend.

Best Actress - Julie Christie in "Away From Her"
Even though I would love to see Ellen Page grab this award for "Juno", my clear favorite this year. Christie's last Oscar win was 42 years ago and they may decide to give it to her as a career nod as opposed to this one performance.

Best Picture - Probably going to be a toss up between "Atonement" (not a great movie from what I've heard) and "No Country For Old Men". Have not seen either yet but I would still love to see "Juno" pull off the surprise upset. Hey, I loved it! Who needs all that depressing war angst and violent outlaws hunting for their stolen money. I think a pregnant 16 year trying to figure out what to do with her baby is much more uplifting in this year of downer films.

Best Original Screenplay - I am only mentioning this because I think this (in reality as opposed to my fantasy world) is where "Juno" will shine. Since the Best Picture nod will go to something else, and the Academy knows this is a wonderful film that deserves top honors, they'll hand the Original Screenplay award to "Juno" as an acknowledgement that this too is a Best Picture.

In general I'm hoping that "Juno" turns out to be the little movie that could at this year's 80th event.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Indiana Jones trailer now online!

All I have to say is....IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!! The hair stood up on my arm. Literally.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New Line sinking even lower

After the flap between Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema over millions of dollars he never received for the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, now, to quote The Hollywood Reporter:

"The Tolkien Trust and the author's original publisher, HarperCollins, claim that New Line has committed "accounting chicanery" by, among other things, inflating the cost of each film in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy by more than $100 million and refusing to allow an audit of the second and third films in the "Rings" series."

"Rings" brought New Line to such a huge level as a major studio, netting obscene box office bank AND many major awards including Best Picture for "Return Of The King"...and yet they can't pay the fucking money they owe to the people who were their own personal Jesus! Assholes!

Jackson won, and so will The Tolkien Trust.

This may very well wreck "The Hobbit" from getting made, although I don't have a major stake in that. I enjoyed the "Rings" movies but never really felt the urge to buy them on DVD.

This from the New Zealand site,

"The plaintiffs are seeking more than $NZ190 million in damages and a court order giving the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to make films based on other works by the author, including The Hobbit."

YES! Absolutely! I think everyone involved should just pull the big ol' plug on The Big Studio and let them fall flat on their faces after all this shit. Take it to MGM who are chomping at the bit (with proper respect!) to work with Jackson.

Here's the full Hollywood Reporter article.


YAAAAY!! After four months on the picket lines, The Writer's Guild of America finally signed a satisfactory contract with the studios! Thus ending the strike. Thank God because I was starting to get a little concerned.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roy Scheider dies at age 75

I was very surprised and saddened to learn this evening that Actor Roy Scheider had passed away. He'd suffered from multiple myeloma for several years, and died of complications from a staph infection. He was 75.

The two characters I will forever link him with are of course Chief Martin Brody in "Jaws" and chopper pilot Officer Frank Murphy in "Blue Thunder".

He first came into the public's consciousness in 1972's "The French Connection" alongside Gene Hackman. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Two years later he would hold his own in the lead role of "The Seven-Ups". Just a flat out cool and gritty role. The one that would garner Steven Spielberg's attention to cast him in the role that he would forever be connected with...speaking the line that would be become one of the most remembered movie lines of all time; "You're gonna need a bigger boat".

"Marathon Man" and "All That Jazz", another major career high and Oscar nomination, would follow. The mid 80's brought the release of "Blue Thunder" and "2010", the "2001" sequel I'll also associate Scheider the most with. By the 90's Roy was trying his hand at television with the undersea adventure series "SeaQuest DSV" and later "Third Watch", continuing his film career at the same time.

My favorite moment with Scheider in "Blue Thunder" is when he's in the cockpit of The Special after just having listened to the final recording of Officer "JAFO" Lymangood (Daniel Stearn). A mechanic bangs on the window telling Scheider's character, Murphy, that he's not suppose to be in there. Murphy whips out his gun, points it at the guy's face, and says "you talking to me, asshole?". The mechanic runs.

Another favorite moment is from "Jaws", where Scheider, as Chief Brody, is sitting at the dinner table beginning to notice that his son is mimicing his every gesture. Brody's final move is to grit his teeth like a grizzly bear, to which the child mimic back in a tiny grimus version of his father. Brody leans down and asks the boy for a kiss. When the child asks why, Brody responds in a hushed tone, "cause I need it".

Here's a little tidbit I never knew about Scheider's career. He turned down the role of Michael Vronsky in Michael Cimino’s Vietnam drama "The Deer Hunter", believing the script was implausible in that someone would never travel halfway around the globe to rescue a friend. Robert DeNiro ended up with the part. Apparently Universal was so angry about his stance (he reneged on his contract) that they strong-armed him to appear in "Jaws 2".

I feel sometimes like I grew up with Roy Scheider. Kind of in the same way I grew up with Mark Hamill, John Travolta, and Christopher Reeve. He was one of the icons of sitting in a darkened movie theater and letting the magic unfold. Sometime this week I'll sit down to watch "Jaws" once more. Not only in remembrance of Roy Scheider, but also remembering what it was like when I was younger, watching the 'everyman' police chief trying to survive the worst summer of his life, for the first time.

Here are the LA Times and New York Times articles on his passing.


Friday I was asked if I could work over the weekend. So I am here today cutting a 90 second piece for 20th Century Fox' horror film "Shutter". It's from the executive producers of "The Grudge" and "The Ring" so you get the picture. I have a day to cut it and the delivery date is Wednesday.

Shouldn't be a problem, although I will be switching back to "The Other Boleyn Girl" DVD tomorrow. Hopefully any notes from the studio can be done quickly as to not interfere with Wednesday's first rough cut viewing of my piece for "Boleyn". Might be working into the evening a little this week.

Friday, February 8, 2008

"Indiana Jones" trailer in front of "The Spiderwick Chronicles"

It's confirmed! The first full on trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" will be attached to this Paramount relese next Friday.

I remember years past where I would go to the movies just to see a highly anticipated trailer like this, then walk out before the feature started. Who needs that now that the internet will have the very same trailer that very same day! Plus you can watch it as many times as you want as opposed to saying 'hey what was that in the middle?, I want to see that again!'.

Writer's Strike almost over?

From several sources it's sounding like the Writer's Strike may be over within the week. Whew! I was starting to worry a bit that that could affect my work in the coming months.

Yesterday on my way to The Cannery (which has been renamed Cannery Agency, BTW) I noticed a larger than normal crowd of sign carrying strikers in front of Walt Disney Studios. An insane amount of people. Today there's not a picketer or sign in sight, certainly because the talks have begun again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Extended work with The Cannery

Just started work on "The Other Boleyn Girl" DVD today. There are four featurettes with a different editor working on each. My pod is a 10 minute featurette exploring the real experience and lifestyle of women in London and in the court in the 16th century with connection to the characters in the film. Part of this will also examine behaviors and mannerisms of court members and elaborate on the ways they conducted themselves.

Monday I learned that they want to book me for a good six weeks worth of projects. I'll be switching back and forth between "Boleyn" and a DVD for another feature film (not sure which one yet) in the coming weeks. After that I'll start a third project that will take me into March. God bless work!

Superbowl 2008 Ads

This year's Superbowl spots were pretty cool, wildly indentifiable, and sometimes crazy/funny. Here are my top 5:

#1 - Diet Pepsi Max

#2 - Coca Cola / It's Mine!

#3 - Bridgestone Unexpected Obstacles

#4 - FedEx Carrier Pidgeons

#5 - Budweiser "Rocky" Clydesdale