Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Superman's new movie suit...two words: God. Awful.

And with a resounding "what the hell is this shit!!" while continuously shaking my head back and forth, my eyes recoiled from some new photos of Henry Cavill in his Superman costume from the forthcoming "Man of Steel". Right off the top: the red trunks ARE GONE!!! Seriously?!! I mean C'MON!!! Don't fuck with an icon! This was a BAD decision. Plus, the entire outfit head-to-toe is WAY over-stylized. Does anyone with a brain or grasp of the Superman legend get that this is kind of, well....WRONG??!!

Click on the photo for the full report on

Some fans are saying if they can change Batman's costume for "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" why can't they change this. The answer: you can easily accept the real world alteration and functionality of Christian Bale's gear more than changing the most iconic superhero costume in the world.

One of my first thoughts when I saw Cavill's outfit: what is this, a steam punk version? Something out of Buck Rogers from the 30's? It's like what if Superman appeared in 1911, not 2011. I actually LOVE the new Spider-Man costume in comparison!...and if you've read my opinion of that then you know this must be bad. I know we haven't even seen the first trailer yet but I just feel like stopping in my tracks, turning around, and heading back down the road to 1978 so I can savor the Christopher Reeve version just that much more. This is feeling like a deal breaker and my Superman-purist blood pressure is peaking.

The thing is...the most flamboyant outfit can be taken seriously if you have the right actor in it. That's what Christopher Reeve did. Any other actor might have made that role ridiculous. Not to say that the character of Superman is ridiculous at all. Just that the wrong performance could have turned Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's creation into a caricature. Yet Reeve brought not just strength, but humanity to Superman in a way that had never been done before...or even since for that matter. Granted, we haven't seen Cavill's portrayal yet and you're probably wondering what character has to do with the new suit. The bottom line is the suit can absolutely be the full-on iconic version; not overly pimped out AND with the red trunks. What will make it believable is how the actor inside wears it.

See? Simple. Oh yeah, I forgot we're dealing with Generation Pilgrim now. Well, I guess we're fucked. LOL!

If this movie tanks and even seriously screws the pooch as far as canon is concerned (Christopher Nolan's involvement not withstanding) this will truly be the end of the Man of Steel on the big screen, at least in our lifetime. I'm definitely more upset about this over "The Avengers" because I have a MAJOR investment in this character. Just seems like there are too many superhero movies on the horizon that I'm very much on the fence about.

...OH, except for "The Dark Knight Rises"! I don't need to see any trailers, broadcast spots or more photos. It's going to be undeniably great, I have absolutely no doubt.

Like with other movies I've been skeptical about, if "The Man of Steel" is good I"ll be the first one to say I was wrong. BUT.....we'll see.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AT LAST!!: The Sepulveda Dam / "Buckaroo Banzai" movie location

Back in 2003 while driving on the 101 freeway and beginning to look for an apartment out here, I came upon a wonderfully familiar landmark: The Sepulveda Dam. It's located at the busiest freeway interchange in the United States and this is the place where the end credits sequence to one of my favorite movies of all time was shot. The place where Buckaroo Banzai repels down the structure's concrete incline to be joined by members of the Hong Kong Cavaliers and walk the walk in time to Michael Boddicker's iconic theme.

I remember I was actually on the phone with my friend Maria when the trees gave way to a very expansive view of the dam area. I was so excited to lay eyes on this gem of a movie location that it became my mission to find out how to get down there. Little did I know it would actually take a few years to finally figure that out and arrive at the spot.

The dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1941 and is owned and operated by that military organization to this day. My main concern was how to actually get on the property and if that was even possible. I was certainly aware that, beyond "Buckaroo Banzai", numerous commercials, music videos and other feature films (including "Iron Man 2") had filmed there. Would I need permission? Would I need a permit? Then in time, the question became how do the kids on bikes I keep seeing get down in there? There was a gate at what appeared to be the main and closest entryway. However it was pretty easy to just walk around, even though a somewhat worn out sign said 'no trespassing'.

Part of the reason why this was taking so long was because I was either busy with work or had put in in the back of my mind for a time. Suddenly I got it in my head one day to call the LA Film Commission. Posing as a scout for an independent film looking to shoot at the dam site, I asked how I could gain access. Quite easily, I was informed. I could 'scout' the location on my own anytime during daylight hours during the week and even on weekends depending on what personnel were there. Now I knew the score, but was still trying to find the right day to go.

So finally I decided to just go for it on a Saturday afternoon and cautiously walk past the 'no tresspassing' sign. No one was around until suddenly I was aware that two guys had also just walked around the gate and were walking the long driveway behind me about fifty feet back. I decided to ask if they worked there and was told that they often hike the grounds and that some people actually know that it's fine to just ignore the gate warning. Awesome! I was in and everything was cool! Plus, it was apparent that I didn't need to contact dam personnel, who weren't really there to begin with.

Turned out these two guys were scouting the location for a music video to be shot there in the following days. We talked about their project and what I did in the industry, parting ways once we reached the actual damn. Here I was, actually standing right in front of one of my most prized and sought after movie locations! At the last minute I had the forethought that when these guys walked away I wouldn't be able to get a photo of myself from a distance. Rebecca was in Scotland and I was pretty much on my own. They were happy to snap a couple of shots.

I popped in my iPod earbuds and cranked up the end title track from the "Buckaroo Banzai" soundtrack. Suddenly I felt like I was a part of that scene because the sun was right about at the same angle it had been in the movie. Not something I particularly planned, just a happy accident based on wanting to take the best daytime light photos.

A few moments later after the two scouts left, about 12 kids on bikes flew down the dirt road and onto the flatbed concrete where I was. At first I was a little nervous because I was now the only one there and this place is a little remote, even though the 101 and 405 freeways are within sight. They glanced at me and flew by on their way to the top of one of the dam inclines to just hang out and ride up and down the expanse. So I put the music back on and continued to take photos.

This place looks almost exactly the same as when they shot "Banzai" here in 1984, with the exception of a few areas of graffiti that had been painted over. As the end credits track continued in heavy rotation I suddenly decided I HAD to do the Banzai walk, just like how they did in that sequence. I cranked up the iPod and proceeded to strut over to the wall where the name 'Buckaroo Banzai' had been tagged on the wall that the entire crew walked by...the last image in the movie.

These are some of the moments I truly savor; taking in a movie location that is so near and dear to my heart. Especially when it looks just like a scene in a movie. Even though it was pretty hot and I was out there all by myself, I actually had a pretty awesome time taking everything in. Some people might say 'hey, it's just a dam'. But to me it's another reminder of my passion for movies and even one of the reasons why I'm here in LA.

Click on the top photo to be taken to the Flickr photo set of my visit. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs' resignation: my thoughts

WOW!! We all knew this day would come, especially regarding his health. But here we's today. Being a total Mac whore, I am truly saddened by Steve stepping down.

In 2002 when I was looking to buy my very first home computer, I had no idea what direction to go in. Would I buy a Dell and be a PC guy...or would I go with a Mac? I knew very little about either at the time. The amazing thing is my ultimate purchase was driven by the editing tool I had learned a few years before; Final Cut Pro. This was a software package that walked hand in hand with Apple's powerful computer and I was immediately hooked! This was also around the same time that the iPod was gaining so much recognition, and of course I went right for that as well.

So began my love of all things Mac. With it's ease of use, anything and everything I needed to add onto or complete my system HAD to be Mac or Mac authorized (LaCie external hard drives). I have to admit that the coolness and hipness of these handy tools and toys was also a draw. Even though some fans and critics have occasionally balked at certain missteps and miscalculations with software and design, I've never waivered in my appreciation for Apple and the Mac. Yes, Final Cut Pro has taken a MAJOR left turn with the inferior FCP X, but I'm still mourning the stepping down of a man who forever changed the music and movie industry by how content is produced, edited, distributed and enjoyed around the globe over the last decade.

Who knows what the next step will be for the California-based company. But the good news is Jobs will continue as Chairman of Apple and continue to influence this now historical organization. So I raise my Mac keyboard, iPod and iPhone in honor of Steve Jobs! In part, I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for him.

More alterations on the "Star Wars" Blu-ray release...are we surprised?

Hey, did we expect anything less from Lucas when the "Star Wars" saga hits Blu-ray in a little over two weeks. Seems the puppet of Yoda in "Episode I" has been replaced by a CG version. That puppet was bad to begin with. But the CG versions in "II" and "III" were still kind of dodgy.

Yoda, to me, will always be how he appeared in the original "Empire Strikes Back"; Frank Oz and that wonderful first puppet. Might seem a little creaky to the "Scott Pilgrim" generation but who cares, man! For those of you out there of age, "Empire" was OURS, baby! Hey wait...I think I just coined a new phrase: 'Generation Pilgrim'! LOL! O.K. this calls for a proper definition for future use...

'Generation Pilgrim' - people who range between the ages of 18 to 25 that are fans of movies and TV shows like the "Star Wars" prequels, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars", "Smallville", JJ Abrams' "Star Trek", Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies, "Battlestar Galactica" and of course, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World". You might even throw one or two of those vampire TV series in there as well.

O.K. back on topic.

Yes, technology has massively advanced since those awful prequels premiered ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes" being the peak at the moment), and as far as I'm concerned George can toil on making as many changes as he wants to these, ad infinitum. However, is it really going to take Lucas going into the ground, six feet under for us to finally get proper Blu-ray releases of the ORIGINAL trilogy?!!

Clicking on the image of Yoda to check out this comparison of the two from "Episode I"; puppet and CG.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Passing on D23

After looking over the schedule for Disney's D23 in Anaheim we decided to pass. Certainly there are a number of interesting panels happening throughout the weekend (like Pixar) but nothing really screamed 'we gotta go!!'

The only seriously big presentation at the event was for "The Avengers" which happened on Saturday. But since we all know my expectations for that movie, paying $47 for the day just to see that was not an option. I'll definitely be checking out how the weekend went tomorrow and perhaps there'll be presentations at future events we may wish to attend. But for now we were quiet content with our decision to pass.

This left us with much more time to see "Captain America" again and for Rebecca to finally see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for the first time since returning from Scotland. We also saw "One Day" this morning which was enjoyable but slow at times. We didn't even check the Tomato-Meter on until after we came out of the theater. Yikes!...27% rating with a splat! Didn't think it was that bad. Ended up going to this because the first morning show of "The Help" was completely sold out.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Making my way through project #3 at In Sync

Just a quick work third project, a broadcast trailer for a Fox Searchlight feature, went out the door this week for studio approval. We're waiting on notes to come back at the moment.

As I write this I'm actually in a meeting waiting for my second project's broadcast trailer to go up on a fiber connection for the studio to see. There are three spots in the loop out of the original five that several editors cut and one is mine. Been working on more notes we were given last night and this morning. Was here until 10:30 last night and am a little fried today, in part because this particular round of changes has been a bit of a grind.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A few observations from this week

Couple things I wanted to comment / spout about...

O.K. here's my first sour note: the present day Chris Evans Captain America costume in "The Avengers".

Have to say...not liking it! They did such a perfectly amazing job of making the costume believable and functional during the WWII era!! But I guess here's another time where "The Avengers" is seriously mucking up the works as far as solid first movies in a new potential franchise are concerned..."Iron Man" being the first. Cap's uniform on the streets of NYC just looks like a Halloween costume.

"Iron Man" was seriously grounded. Then, "The Avengers" came calling and it felt like things started to go down hill fast. Director Jon Favreau left Marvel after "Iron Man 2" because he didn't like the direction the third movie would more than likely take, post "Avengers". Too many characters were crammed into "2", all leading to this ultimate team-up that, as I look at more and more photos and read more and more articles, just continues to look bad. Sorry.

Next..."The Dark Knight Rises".

JEEZ, stop ruining all the cool new stuff we'd rather see when the movie ACTUALLY COMES OUT!!! The Anne Hathaway Catwoman-on-the-Batpod shots were fine, but now these extended clips of what some are calling the 'Batwing' just seem to blow the wait-for-it wad that should only be revealed in a darkened theater! I'm having to turn away from these repeated on-set, supposedly 'covert' videos! But again that's what the current generation of young moviegoers seem to want; spill everything in advance so there's no surprises later. Good job!

BTW, I say covert because I've learned recently that a number of these bystander-with-an-iPhone videos are actually planned out by the studios as a viral ploy. Apparently this is something that's starting to be built into pre-production meetings on big tent-pole movies; make it look like someone with a camera phone's digitally stealing something precious when in fact the studio wanted it to look that way all along. These 'pirate' images certainly get your attention as well as answering the question of why do so many of these clips exist on an extremely secure Christopher Nolan set.

Remember back in the day (before the internet of course) where any and all info about an upcoming movie (ie "The Empire Strikes Back") would be found in the occasional magazine and just sparsely. Nothing major was blown months or even a year before the release of a particular film and that's the way it should be today. Ah, my continued love / hate relationship with the fanboys.

Oh yeah, and why is everyone taking such issue with Anne Hathaway's Catwoman outfit??!! I mean seriously! BACK OFF!! It's still early! We don't even know at what point in the movie this stunt with her on the Batpod takes place! Fucking CHILL!!!! Cool image: check out this really nice fan rendering of how Anne Hathaway's full costume will likely appear in the film. Great design, I absolutely approve!

Saturday night's American Cinematheque 25th Anniversary screening of "Highlander" at the Egyptian Theatre was very cool and we were actually able to go sit front and center for the Q&A with director Russell Mulcahy and producer Peter Davis.

They showed a beautiful 70MM international print that had been in storage in Chicago. I was amazed when I saw two extended and very different versions of a scene already in the original film. One contained quite a bit more dialogue where Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) says goodbye to his assistant Rachel before going off to fight the Kurgan in the finale. The other more revealing moment was right before the end credits.

On the Scottish Highlands, Brenda and Connor have a very different moment as they open a bottle of champagne bottled in 1976, a direct counter moment to when MacLeod describes historic events from 1783 after he opens a bottle of brandy bottled in that year. Instead of hearing a voice over of Connor talk about knowing what scientists and leaders are thinking and how he can help them, he speaks of finally realizing what it's like to be truly alive and his new-found connection with all living things. Is it possible I somehow missed this on the 'Immortal Edition' DVD I own?...because I've never witnessed these scene extensions and inclusions before! Have to re-check the disc. At any rate, I REALLY like this very different ending!

Unfortunately, Richard Dreyfuss was unable to attend the American Cinematheque Q&A screening of "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" at the Aero Theatre due to some type of family problem. We were kind of bummed by this, but still enjoyed the screening plus Nick Nolte's and director Paul Mazursky's musing about the casting and making of the movie.

Saddened to see that "30 Minutes or Less" is kind of bombing due to bad reviews. I love "Zombieland" and of course this is by the same director, Ruben Fleischer, and starring Jesse Eisenberg. Seemed like a sure thing for laughs but I guess not.

And finally I was overjoyed to see "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" continue to take the #1 spot at the box office while new entry "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" sank under it's own hubris. HA-HA-HA-HA!!! Oh wait....HAAAA!!! This weekend I'll be seeing "Apes" for the second time, now with Rebecca whose back home from Scotland, and of course there will be a second viewing of "Captain America" as we both really enjoyed it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Finishing 5th week at In Sync and the weekend

Just finishing up my fifth week at In Sync and have turned out another broadcast trailer that seems to being flying nicely with the studio. Five spots in all went out with varying degrees of changes that took us mostly through this week. I've started watching my third movie but have been pulled back to continue work on the project out for approval.

At present I'm almost half way through my three month probationary period that will be completely at the end of September. Things continue to go well and the creativity of my work is definitely being noticed here.

This weekend I'll be heading to the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for an American Cinematheque 25th Anniversary screening of "Highlander" plus a Q&A with director Russell Mulcahy. I'm hoping to see something else as far as newer movies are concerned, but nothing is really doing it for me. Although there are some I'm waiting for Rebecca to get back from Scotland to go see with her. Was hoping to catch "X-Men: First Class" and "Super 8" one more time in theaters but unfortunately at this point it looks like I've waited too long; they're not playing anywhere within 50 miles!

On a side note...

For some of you, remember when movies use to last all summer and even into the fall? This, of course, was back before the influx of home video and the DVD market. Now when I read that a movie is heading into it's '3rd big week!' I recall a time when that was nothing. Things were just getting started! These days a major studio film is expected to make the majority of it's money on opening weekend where things begin to fall off sharply just one week later.

Also, I have to laugh when entertainment new trackers revel at the fact that a particular film is still number 1 a week later! The time between the theatrical release and a film coming to DVD has shrunk incredibly. If a movie does well it'll be a whole three months before it hits disc or download. If a flick bombs you could even see it show up thirty days after it's initial release. Crazy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" review: a reboot that's brilliant, emotional, and reverent to the original franchise!

Having worked on several broadcast trailers for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" about a month before it's release, I certainly was thankful to have the privilege of seeing the movie, even in it's unfinished form. But what I was really waiting for was to experience this movie on the big screen with all of the music, sound and visual FX complete. I'm very happy to say that it's everything I hoped it would be and more!

The movie is truly brilliant!!! Andy Serkis seriously should get an Oscar nod! The story is perfectly crafted with both spectacle and heartfelt emotion, the VFX are well beyond anything we've seen before, and speaking as an "Apes" purist, I feel only that my beloved franchise has been justly and reverently rebooted! To me, "Rise" is the first domestically produced retool (both movies and TV) that doesn't completely dishonor or rape the original.

The ape characters who inhabit our world in the story are the most perfectly realized living creatures that WETA or any other visual effects house has ever given us. People have always commented on how the eyes of a human character in a CG movie can sometimes be the rise or fall of the entire project. It amazes me how CG artists are able to create so many inadament objects or living beings that look incredibly real, yet human beings can be so hit or miss when it comes to portraying them on screen. WETA has created the most incredibly lifelike eye set for not only Caesar but all the apes in this film.

Even though Caesar isn't a human character, he stills exudes a certain amount of human behavior due to the genetic altering ALZ-112 used by James Franco's character in the movie. That blend of human traits along with a keen recreation of ape personality and habits form an onscreen creature that you immediately begin to accept as a real, living, breathing ape. Andy Serkis, whose become the go-to guy for motion capture characters, is completely on display in the movements, emotion and being that is the intelligent ape who will lead not so much a revolt as much as a spearhead to freedom.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT!!! Stop reading here if you haven't seen the movie yet!!

The trailers and some of the broadcast spots paint the movie as a rebellion against and domination over mankind. I'm glad that turned out not to be the case as I had always wondered how a band of intelligent apes in one major US city could possible cause our society to slide and theirs to take over. When you see the movie, everything will brilliantly make sense as the story logically rolls out in a series of events that connect to present day musings about possible biological contagion. How is mankind supposedly defeated? You'll need to see the movie. I will say that even though what happens with the apes and what happens to mankind are connected but also very separate.

There's a number of really great nods to the original "Planet of the Apes" that are happily recognizable and even perfectly subtle in their humor. I'll let LA Times Hero Complex contributor Rebecca Keegan spill those beans....if you dare to read them! #13 on her list is a BIG spoiler so STAY AWAY if you haven't seen the movie yet!

These tribute moments are just a part of what I love about "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". There's a wonderful acknowledgement of what's come before without offering a rotten carrot (like what JJ Abrams' "Star Trek" did) to fans of the original or even the four films that followed. Of course "Rise" is more a re-imagining of the forth movie in the series, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes". Caesar (directly named after Roddy McDowell's character in that installment) follows a somewhat similar path; treated well by a human conterpart (Ricardo Montalbán's Armando and Franco's Will) who loves and cares for him, only to find out that everyone else out there can be a bit different, even cruel.

I'm sure by now you've all read a breakdown of the movie's plot, etc. so I won't redundantly repeat that here.

"Harry Potter" alum Tom Felton is great as the catalyst for Caesar discovering exactly how cruel humans can be at times. John Lithgow, as Franco's Alzheimer's disease ridden father, is a welcome familiar face and certainly no stranger to acting in films like these. Even though James Franco is technically the star of the film, it's Andy Serkis who truly rises above everyone else to deliver a wonderfully diverse role. A role where his physical presence is nowhere to be seen, yet his powerful performance is what fuels the brilliantly told story. You absolutely see Serkis digitally in every frame Caesar is onscreen. But like I said, those 1's and 0's fall away quickly to reveal a compelling three dimensional character (story driven, not just visually) as well as an incredible leap in motion picture visual effects.

Completely spoiler-free note: there are a number of sequel options perfectly and sometimes subtly built into this film. There's definitely much more story to tell and I am SERIOUSLY looking forward to the next chapter!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'LA Filmcutter: The Podcast' is now officially on iTunes!

My podcasts have reached the big leagues as you can now hear them on iTunes. Even though I'm formulating the next show with nothing newer than the Comic-Con report up at the moment (as well as my first show), I still wanted to share the link.

Click on my new 'LA Filmcutter: The Podcast' logo to be taken directly there. You can also subscribe to my podcast on iTunes as well. As always, enjoy! Working on a format that pops more. Looking to turn topics, location and music into CRAZY topics, location, music AND sound FX!

Here's my partial inspiration for how I'd like it to sound: the "Family Guy" episode with Dingo and the Baby! O.K. so I won't be giving out free boob jobs but you get the idea...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

LA Filmcutter Podcast 2.0: now online!

OMG, I've FINALLY posted my Comic-Con podcast!!! Because I've written just about everything that happened up until and including Saturday, I'm only wrapping up the final day in San Diego as well as some post-event thoughts which includes Rebecca as my special guest. She and I have been formulating a duel show and I know her involvement will be more prevalent during the next podcast.

O.K. these kinds of delays HAVE TO END! I seriously need to roll out the podcasts in a much more timely fashion regardless of work, etc. If other people can multi-task podcasting, posting photos and writing reviews / comments about and during the event, I CAN DO THE SAME, DAMNIT!!! LOL!

Click on the podcast logo to hear my current show. As before, you can also download it to put on your iPod, iPhone, iPad or other mobile device. Enjoy!

"Apes" pre-release under-appreciation? SIDDOWN!!

Oh and BTW...

Lately I've been feeling like the only person on the planet who was looking forward to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" more than just a few days before it's release! I keep reading people saying things like...

"Look, let’s face it. I don’t think any of us were really expecting a lot out of Rise of the Planet of the Apes."


"...many people still seem to be skeptical of whether or not it'll actually be good."

To which I respond BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!! I felt the potential of this movie many months ago...for absolute REAL!

And on a side note (with a re-post I made on Facebook earlier today), I seriously hate pretentious movie critics. Whether they're working for a major publication / website, or just some 20-somethings who eat way too many donuts and think they know all there is to know about movies. Everything sucks to them even when it's good. Coming from an intensely faithful movie lover, I just don't need such negativity in my life. Especially from people who think "Scott Pilgrim" is God's gift and the original "Terminator" is a laugh-fest comedy. Morons!!

All they ever have to say about the 1968 classic is 'how cheesy it and the sequels were'. For the record (in case you haven't looked it up online) those films were made during a certain period of time (it's all about perspective), they weren't 'cheesy' (once again, I despise that word!), oh and when were you born? After "Back to the Future"? O.K. no wonder!! LOL!

Along similar lines, this guy in particular seriously annoys the shit out of me and I can't contain my PC veil any longer! I've already noticed a couple of articles where he just doesn't do his homework.

Most recently he claimed that Cornelia (one of the apes in "Rise") was the name of Kim Hunter's character in the original "Planet of the Apes". Then he went on the say that Caesar led the simian revolt in "Battle for the Planet of the Apes". [BUZZER] Sorry...the correct answer is Zira (Kim Hunter) and "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes". Other posts hold some of the same type of misinformation. Jeez...if I give you a buck would you go out and buy a clue or another donut? Oh, and he likes "Rise" (good!) but with a pretentious edge (bad!).

Hey, it's 2am...just needed to blow it out before bed. HA-HA! Hail, Caesar! Hail, Andy Serkis! Hail this movie! I'm so ready for the screening tonight!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Great reviews for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"!

I am seriously loving all the fantastic and extremely positive reviews for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"!! Plus, now that the movie has been released, I can officially reveal that this is the project I'd been cutting broadcast spots for throughout July at In Sync. Four in all with one going to finish. I'm still trying to track it down online to post here.

Going to "Apes" tomorrow night at the Arclight Dome and I already have my ticket. It'll be nice to see the completely version since I was working with a cut devoid of music and some visual effects. I'll have a full review after I see it in all it's glory on the BIG screen!

From what I'm reading, if Andy Serkis doesn't get some type of Academy recognition for this role I'd be shocked. Even though he's not on screen in the flesh they should certainly make acception.

A moment of reflection...

This past July 28 marked the 15th anniversary of my entire life changing. Stepping away from the events in Maryland, while initially the most grueling I would ever experience, ultimately became the best possible thing that could ever happen to me in my entire life...and my appreciation for that decade and a half marker continues...

Going back to school, finding the path, securing those first industry jobs, gaining a lot of experience, getting on a plane for the first time in my life and traveling to a major city I'd never been to before 3,000 miles away.

I stand now at the best place in my career to date. This year has not only seen me make MAJOR steps forward, but also brings me to a goal achieved; to get a staff position at a top trailer house. I'm here!!!....and this certainly doesn't mean I stop in my tracks and not try to achieve even more.

At this level, a whole new world has opened up and my head is firmly above the clouds. I'm certainly not trying to brag. Just acknowledge how grateful I am to be in LA, to be working in the film industry and how I'm becoming firmly entrenched at In Sync Advertising.

So much of my previous existence has been pushed aside, packed away or dumped in the trash. Possessions, situations and interactions I would have held near and dear 15 years ago are now just unnecessary albatrosses, having been cut loose during the last decade. In But for the mere innocent fact that I've moved on into this new, wonderfully enriching phase of my life where what isn't good for me, goes!

This is all just a personal satisfaction and not a call for approval, because the only approval I need now is my own. This is not a proclamation of higher status but of self-betterment. This is my own ongoing acknowledgment of a dream fulfilled. And as I stated in my very first blog post (with a slight modification) back on March 26, 2004...

The Editor's Adventure continues!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My thoughts: the new "Man of Steel" costume

I'm really on the fence about the new Superman suit for "The Man of Steel". The 'S' is much too raised and even looks like Play-Do. Also, can we stop over detailing everything!!! This thing just seems too shiny and scaly looking. Too 'wet'.

Overall I liked Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" costume. Although I was hoping some of the aspects of the suit would be dialed back a bit, especially the 'S' belt buckle which I never approved of. Apparently the new company decided over stylizing was the best way to go. Sometimes 'too busy' can really be a serious detractor!

Even though you can't see it in this first image, I sure hope he has the red shorts on. Don't want to find out later that they've gone the somewhat cringe-inducing DC rebooted Superman version who has an all blue outfit save the yellow belt and red cape.

Nice to see the yellow belt buckle back but it almost looks too big and clunky. Need to see more photos. Maybe more people will pipe in and there'll be some alterations made by the how fans influenced the Wonder Woman costume for the failed pilot.

Yes I know it's saturating the internet right now, but click on the image for a much larger view.

New project at In Sync

Started my next project at In Sync this past Monday. Although I'd already broken the movie down into the clips I intend to use for this series of broadcast spots, the real cutting began this week with a first rough cut delivery due the beginning of next.

It's hard to believe that I've been here for a month! The first of my three month probationary period before being put on staff officially at the beginning of October. Things continue to go really, really well.

...And hey, people actually talk to me here! Much more than just good morning or a courteous spare word or two. Pretty friendly environment, quite a change from my previous experience and a very welcome one at that.

"Captain America" review: reverent, rousing period film in the tradition of "The Rocketeer" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark"!

"Captain America: The First Avenger" is a movie I was very skeptical about a year out before it's release. But as newer trailers surfaced I began to realize that this had possibilities. Especially with "Rocketeer" director Joe Johnston at the helm.

Having never been a huge Cap comics fan (although I did enjoy the Marvel cartoon from the 60's), I certainly was aware of his origin, his arch enemy The Red Skull and some of the other characters who inhabit his world. This is a hero whose costume is just about as unmovable as Superman's and Wonder Woman's when it came to recreation on screen, and probably just as precarious in it's depiction. As with Wonder Woman, I'd always felt that if they were going to do a Captain America movie than it would have to be set during WWII. The costume pretty much demanded it with it's stars and stripes and big 'A' on the headpiece. And of course that's right where they set Steve Rogers beginnings as a scrawny young man who wanted nothing more than to join the U.S. Army and fight Nazis.

Chris Evans definitely made the right choice by ditching his former Johnny Storm persona from the mediocre "Fantastic Four" movies. He absolutely carries the movie with a humble strength like no other superhero movie out there right now. The visual effects transformation of Evans' physique into an almost 98 pound weakling is one of the most startling aspects of the film. Never once do you even question that his frame is that slight. I'd even have to go further to say that when I expected a similar effect as what was done to Brad Pitt in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", this movie made that look like someone had done the CG work on their old home computer by comparison!

Evans is surrounded by very competent actors who add the flourish and flavor to make this a very unique Marvel stable entry. Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt / Red Skull brings all of the menace we love watching him inhabit on screen. Tommy Lee Jones as the US general overseeing the Super Soldier project is brash and comfortingly humorous at the same time. Hayley Atwell is Peggy Carter, Cap's love interest also directly lifted from the comics. Her relationship with Steve Rogers helps to add the right amount of emotion to the story, even finding me tearing up during the film's climax. Plus, we're introduced to Captain America sidekick (of sorts here), Sgt. James "Bucky" Barnes, as well as a younger Howard Stark (Tony's father) who exhibits that same swagger he undoubtedly passed onto his son. Stark's involvement is more than just a cameo, as he assists in the design for the final Captain America uniform.

O.K. let's get into that.

The costume designers did a stunning job of transferring the look and feel of Captain America's flag waving uniform to the big screen! At first it's a bond-selling tool, looking exactly as it does in the comics. Then, as that part of Steve Rogers uncomfortable connection to the military subsides, that very look becomes a functional combat uniform, retaining all of the lines and colors ever present in the comics, just now more realistic and perfectly befitting of the path Rogers takes to becoming the in-the-field Captain America who will truly prove himself in what he set out to do in the first place. What's great about this journey is that it's never rushed. You don't see Evans becoming Cap for more than half of the film and this allows the characters and motivations to breathe quite comfortably.

Director Joe Johnston has gone back to some of his roots, mixing elements of "The Rocketeer" and Indiana Jones with the bravado of "The Guns of Navarone" and other WWII mission movies that starred the likes of Robert Shaw, Richard Burton and Lee Marvin. This is truly an epic film that doesn't feel outwardly like a Marvel superhero story. Even though it's certainly another piece to the "Avengers" puzzle for next year, I can't help but hope Johnston will direct a second "Captain America" and that somehow, some way his adventures can continue during WWII.

SPOILER ALERT!!! Stop reading here if you haven't seen the movie yet!

When Steve Rogers wakes up in a hospital to learn that he's been frozen in the arctic tundra for seventy years, you realize that his conection with those damned dirty Avengers might be the end of his foray into period film bliss. Based on what I saw in the post credits "Avengers" teaser, I can't say I like the uniform upgrade they've given him. This, of course, may be moot since I continue to not hold any hope for the summer 2012 tent-pole movie to flourish. How they'd get him back into action in the 40's may be anyone's guess, and I fear this current film may have only been the pre-story they desired and nothing more.

At any rate, "Captain America" is a rousing WWII period movie with style, action, adventure, emotion and definitely a great amount of heart. I can't wait to experience it again very soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy 30th Anniversary, MTV!

30 years ago today, THE driving force for music in the 80's was born. On August 1, 1981...MTV began it's first transmission!

It's amazing how much has changed in the last three decades and the network doesn't even resemble it's roots anymore. Having ditched the 'music television' name under the logo (all they did was crop it off) MTV is now a haven for incredibly lame reality TV shows involving teens. There are NO music videos whatsoever, although that seemed to be on the way out even in the late 90's and early 00's. The MTV that stands before us now doesn't even deserve the name! They should have just given it a proper burial and came up with something new.

One show from the original 80's run on the channel still remains though. Incredibly, "The Real World" continues to crank out season after season some twenty years later, even when bigger and more pimped out versions of the same concept crashed everyone's quality party later on. That's not really a saving grace because in a lot of ways that very series would be the catalyst for the end of what so many of us held near and dear.

But enough ranting!!

I remember tuning in to MTV in the first week of broadcast to watch videos by The Buggles, Pat Benatar, Robert Palmer, David Bowie, Talk Talk, Split Enz, Madness, Duran Duran, and so many others! I'd seen 15 minute music video segments on pay channels like HBO, but here was a dedicated network for all things music. I recall my Mom, learning that the program I was watching wasn't just a few minutes or a half hour long but 24 hours a day, saying: 'you mean this is on all the time?! Ugh!'

The artists and groups whose videos were shown on MTV became overnight sensations, and the original veejays, stars in their own right. My favorite was always Martha Quinn who I totally had a crush on back in the day. It's very cool that she continues to do a subscription radio show from her home in Malibu. The line-up would change over the years, but those first five would, in part, become the template for how the channel made it's iconic mark on the 80's generation and as that decade progressed.

YouTube is now the place to watch all of your favorite videos, as well as other sites who have become what MTV might have morphed into if it weren't for the reality TV explosion. Regardless of what trite sears the airwaves with utter trash like "Jersey Shore", so many of us will always have fond memories of what has now passed into music history.

Click on the image of the iconic astronaut and MTV flag to check out a 30th Anniversary article at