Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arrival at the Kent Farm: only the sound of the wind in the high grass

So here we go! Photos and the tale of the first stop on our movie location trip, 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower'! As mentioned, I've decided to write separate posts for each location because there's just SO MUCH to tell!!!

On Saturday, July 7 we flew out of LAX, heading to Calgary, Alberta Canada and the Kent Farm filming site from "Superman, The Movie"! As I spoke of earlier, I had a flurry of e-mails the day before we left from several contacts / fellow fans of the movie in regard to visiting and shooting at this location, which is privately owned. There's a very long and complex story behind all of it that reached some rather inflated heights. At this point and out of respect for those involved, I don't think it's that crucial to elaborate...not to mention the fact that the it would take forever to transpose here!

After flying over the beautifully snowcapped Canadian Rockies, we landed at the Calgary Airport where I began to experience my first time time outside the US. But from the very first moment we were inundated with why everyone else seemed to be in the area; The Calgary Stampede! An annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July. We were completely unaware of this event but right away noticed that a lot of men were wearing cowboy hats and every eatery and hotel was decked out with some type of western hay bales in the lobby!

"Are you going to The Stampede?", we were asked by everyone. "No, we're just going to the Kent Farm." Believe it or not we actually said that a few times just for a laugh.

Our first night in Calgary was a bit of a revelation; it stays light for a very long time in the evening. How late? Try 11pm before the sun actually sets!! Crazy!

The hotel we stayed in was really nice and just over an hour from the Kent Farm. To our surprise, the pool area (which we'd hoped to enjoy) actually housed a THREE STORY water slide!! Saturday night was pretty packed, but on Sunday when we made our way down to see if we could try it out...the place was a ghost town! For the simple reason that everyone and his brother staying there was attending The Stampede! Yay!!

Smiling broadly as we walked in to discover the space void of people, the water slide appeared to be off. One of the attendants came by and we asked if maybe it might not be working. Nope, we were told. They'd just shut it down because no one was there. At which point the switch was happily thrown and we had a couple of hours all to ourselves! It was A-MAZING!!

Midday was turning into afternoon and I knew it was time for us to get ready to head to the farm. I'd also planned for us to visit a couple of other Smallville filming locations from "Superman, The Movie" while we were in the area; the Smallville Cemetary, Smalville High School and the tracks where young Clark jumps in front of the train.

The weather predicted 80 degress and clear skies all day. But as dark clouds surprisingly appeared to the south, we wondered what things would be like when we arrived at these locations.

As we started our drive south from Calgary to Blackie, I began thinking about how much time we'd want to spend at each stop. Surely the Kent Farm would be the center piece of our trip and I knew I'd want to spend the most amount of time there possible. So I made an executive decision; if we travelled the additional hour south to two of the three additional locations (over two hours total from the hotel), took all the photos and absorption time we desired, then back tracked to the farm, we could be in serious jeopardy of missing the best light possible for enjoying the site as well as taking great photos. Not to mention actually savoring the prime time of the day there!

Verdict: this trip we'd pass on the additional locations.

It was a tough decision but one I was fine with almost immediately. The farm held the most amount of emotion for me and what with the flight only being three hours to Calgary from LA, I knew it'd be easy to take even a weekend trip and return in the future.

Clouds continued to close in as I monitored the situation while guiding Rebecca (who drove everywhere during this entire trip...her election) with directions.

I had Google map coordinates for the farm on my iPhone (provided by someone who'd posted a couple of photos he'd snapped of the farm online), even though we were trying stay away from incurring roaming rates which were astronomical! Having shunned usage from the moment we arrived in Canada, I really felt the need to just shuck it and use the best tool we had in the car for navigation and communication.

As we arrived in Blackie a few drops began hitting the wind shield. This was NOT good as Sunday was pretty much our one day to make this trip before heading off on Monday afternoon for South Dakota and Devils Tower. Somehow we got turned around a bit from where I knew the farm had to be, heading down a road that actually turned out to be two roads to the west. It was now around 5pm. I wasn't worried about day light...just how those rain clouds would pan out.

Suddenly we found ourselves coming up cold on where the farm was actually located. I began scratching my head because according to what I had in front of me on the phone, we were in the right place. But with a little road assistance and perseverance, we at last found ourselves heading down the right road.

Within a few kilometers the barn of the Kent Farm started to peak over the horizon. A wonderful chill came over me as we began to recognize and grow closer to those iconic structures.


Yes, it was a bit overgrown some 34 years on. But still beautiful to behold!!

We drove down to the house just next door to turn around. At that moment, and quite miraculously, the sun started to peak out below the dark crowds, shining glowing afternoon light onto the farm and surrounding area. My fears of a darkened visit had lifted and an underlying back-up plan that we might have to return early the next day before our departure was swept away!

I can't tell you how much of an emotional moment it was to stand there on the road and see the place where the Kents and their special adopted son live in "Superman, The  Movie"! The road in front of the farm where Clark surprises a group of school mates, claiming he'd ran home ahead of them. The barn where young Clark discovers the crystal that would change his life. And the field where Ma Kent found Clark looking off in the distance, realizing it was time for him to leave.

As Rebecca parked the car by the side of the road, I immediately reached for my iPod and did the first thing I was waiting to do the moment we arrived; play "Leaving Home" from the soundtrack.

At the end of the opening, foreboding crescendo of discovering the green crystal, the low strings started and began to grow...

...and I just wept.

I couldn't believe we were there. I couldn't believe we were standing at that very place. It just took my breathe right away.

I predicted to Rebecca long before we made this trip that because this place was so far away from everything, even down a very long dirt road, that the only sound we'd hear would be the wind in the grass. And that's exactly what we experienced as we got out of the car. It was so gentle. I'll never forget that sound.

The entire time we were there only three cars passed by. This is a giant swath of farming land and residents were far and few between.

It was time to take photos and we took A LOT! It may seem like there are only a handful in the set, but in fact we had multiple angles of everything in our camera lenses. The pics you see are the best of the best of the best.

I knew there was only one thing to wear to the Kent Farm and it became my mission to find it no matter what. I just knew that someone out there online had to be selling a Christopher Reeve Superman 'S' T-shirt. It didn't take long to find a seller on eBay and shortly thereafter the 1978 shield was in my possession. I proudly donned it after we arrived and now everything was right and perfect. BTW, I even purchased a black one with white 'S' as well which represents Jor-El's robes from the movie.

We were there for probably close to two hours as we brought snacks to enjoy in the car just to give us some extra time enjoying the scenery.

I plugged in my laptop so we could watch the entire Smallville sequence from the movie, much of which takes place right where we were standing. This is something I've enjoyed doing at every single movie location visit and trip. There on the screen were Glenn Ford and Jeff East talking about not showing off and that young Clark was here for a reason. We watched intently, occasionally gazing up at the farm in wonder with only the dialog in our ears. We ended with the crane shot over Ma Kent and young Clark into the wheat fields.

With one last very long look and some more photos, it was time to go. 8pm and the sun was still up and bathing the Kent Farm in it's continual glow.

You can view the entire set of photos from 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower' on Flickr which begins with this location...RIGHT HERE! I'll be posting specific photos to this set from each of the next two stops as I write the story of Devils Tower and the Kinsella Baseball Field, respectively.

I was now in a wonderful buzz of where we'd just been, continuing to listen to John Williams sweeping score as we drove away and back to our hotel. But not before having some well deserved dinner.

Ultimately we were very lucky to have made the decision to not go to the other locations. I really, REALLY want to see them at some point! Hopefully sooner rather than later. But we truly arrived at the Kent Farm when we were suppose to....and I took the sun coming out at that precise moment as a true sign of that.

The next morning we got up and ran a couple of errands; I forgot to bring my car adapter for the iPod so we had to pick one up at a local electronics store. Then it was off to the Calgary International Airport just 2 miles away to head to destination #2...

Next trip post: Devils Tower!

Mary Tamm, "Doctor Who" companion Romana, dies at age 62

Celebrities usually die in three's...or so the legend goes. Yet so far this past week there have been four! But it wasn't until I happened upon the news just now that Mary Tamm had passed away that I had my 'oh, wow' moment out of all of them.

There are certainly a few that I did not acknowledge that I really need to (Ernest Borgnine), but this is for Mary.

She was the first actress to play one of my absolute favorite companions on Doctor Who...Romana. This was back in the days of Tom Baker towards the late 70's and she only played the role for one series. Lala Ward, who would go on to become Mrs Tom Baker for a time, took on the part for a further two series.

She's probably more known as the first time lord and near equal to The Doctor on the show. Yet the both of them combined created a character more than just a damsel in distress at a time when companions, especially female, were someone for the Doctor to rescue rather than be a driving force in each adventure. Romana took the show in a new direction and I always felt that they should bring back the character, possibly even to have her own series.

I actually met Mary Tamm in Philadelphia in the mid-80's and she was very nice and very gracious. I didn't know she had cancer, although the actress has certainly just been a part of my appreciation for "Doctor Who" over these last three decades.

She died after a long battle with cancer and I'm very saddened to learn of her passing. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

You can read more about Mary's indelible mark on "Doctor Who" right here.

Review of "The Dark Knight Rises": not yet

After the midnight show of "The Dark Knight Rises" one week ago tonight I found myself a bit unsure of how I completely felt about Christopher Nolan's end to his Batman trilogy.

My consensus, as well as a few other people's I've spoken with, is that it's good...but not great.

I really wanted to let the film gel in my head (because I really wanted to love it with little or no question!) and then have a very open minded second screening within the week. We're doing just that by returning to the Arclight Dome tomorrow night.

Rebecca will be with me this time as she was not feeling well last week. I'm certainly hoping to like it a bit more than the first time, even though I did enjoy the movie overall.

Once screening #2 is done, I'll be writing a proper review here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Holy crap, I'm finally posting photos from our movie location trip!!

Nothing's up yet, don't get excited!

Last week and this has been pretty busy...working on "Resident Evil: Retribution" broadcast spots. Looking to get al the photos in place on Flickr today and tomorrow with individual posts to document each stop of our movie location trip, 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower'.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Christian Bale visits victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting!

Now THIS is the news I was waiting to hear!!!

After several petitions online asked for Mr. Bale (pictured with one of the shooting victims) to please come and see those in the hospital from the movie theatre attack in Colorado, he did in fact make a trip there and spent around two hours visiting with those who were victimized in this horrible act. Click on the image for the full story.

I have to say I've always liked Christian Bale and very much appreciate his serious dedication to the craft of acting. Now he's outstretching his hand to connect with the people who only wanted to get their first glimpse of the new Batman movie during a midnight show. If I didn't have enough respect for the guy before (which I did and do), that respect has just gone through the roof!

Well done, Mr. Bale!!!

Here's another link to this story with more photos from the scene.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Colorado shooting

The news very early this morning of a lone gunman entering a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, gunning down 12 people and wounding 59 others is so very horrific. I'm copying and pasting what I wrote on Facebook when I got into work earlier...

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Colorado whose lives have been shattered by this insanely senseless act!! What is wrong with people??!! Kids were shot...KIDS!!! A three month old was the youngest! When that guy dressed as Bane got up at the Arclight last night (almost a chilling omen by his costume) we had no idea what was about to happen one hour later. People out trying to enjoy something they've been waiting to see for so long....just having a good time. What complete and utter insanity!!!

Beyond Warner Bros. and President Obama's comments, director Christopher Nolan has issued an official and very eloquent and poignant statement regarding this unspeakable tragedy. I'm going to let his words do the talking because right now I have no more.

"Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of “The Dark Knight Rises”, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."

- Christopher Nolan

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Batman Trilogy tonight at the Arclight!

Headed to the Arclight in Hollywood tonight after work for the big blowout screening of "Batman Begins", "The Dark Knight" and finally "The Dark Knight Rises" at midnight!

I requested to leave work at 4pm this afternoon so I could get to the theatre and have a little dinner in the cafe before the epic begins at 6pm. And because "TDKR" is just a little under three hours long (with trailers, film ends at 3am!), I knew I'd need a TON of sleep the night before. So after work yesterday I went home and JUST. WENT. TO. BED!

Quickly prepping for today's workday, I finally got under the covers at 8pm. So right now I am pumped up with a full-on 10 HOURS OF SLEEP behind me! I'm awake, I'm counting the hours and I am SO ready!!!

With only three hours of sleep (if that) before work, tomorrow's gonna suck. But trust'll be worth it!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Your move...creep": Robocop hit the streets 25 years ago today

Turning the comic book concept on it's ear with mega-violence and sharp-witted social humor, "Robocop" entered the late 80's movie scene on July 17, 1987.

Peter Weller's portrayal of the half man / half machine one-cop army never forgot the human side of Detroit cop Alex Murphy whose mortally wounded and pronounced dead, trying to reconnect with the life he once had but can never return to. "Robocop" would become one of the two most iconic roles Weller would undertake, the other being Buckaroo Banzai just four years before.

Nancy Allen broke out of previous roles playing high school students, call girls and reporters to blast into the screen as officer Anne Lewis, Murphy's partner and ally after his transformation.

Kurtwood Smith's portrayal of brutal gang leader Clarence Boddicker would go on to become one of the most badass villains in movie history, followed closely by Ronny Cox as OCP Senior President Richard "Dick" Jones.

Beyond the harsh violence in the movie, there was always a crazy amount of humor. Commercials during regular in-between-scene newscasts advertised such future games as 'Nukem!' and a doctor hawking the new Jensen Sports Heart. There's definitely a lot of social commentary going on in this film, not to mention some seriously immortal lines!

Emil: "I LLLLIKE IT!!!"

Clarence Boddicker: "Can you fly, Bobby?"

Dick Jones: "I'm sure it's only a glitch. A temporary setback." The Old Man: "You call this a glitch?!" 

TV comedian: "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

Clarence Boddicker: "Ooh, guns, guns, guns! Come on, Sal! The Tigers are playing...tonight! I never miss a game."

RoboCop: "Come quietly or there will be....trouble."
Boddicker gunmen: "Aaahh, fuck you!"

...and the list goes on and on. The movie's full of these!

In lieu of watching "Robocop" in the 10th Box because I just saw it in May plus that wonderfully crazy Q&A with Peter Weller, think it's time to finally watch the special features on the 2-disc DVD. Believe it or not, I never got to them! But that's what happens sometimes when I pick up a movie. Always intend to watch everything right away and then life gets busy.

Happy 25th, Robo!

Monday, July 16, 2012

YES! It was THE best vacation EVER!!!

We've returned from our movie location trip, 'The Farm, The Field & The Tower' and now it's time to go through the OBSCENE amount of photos we took!!! Not to mention the batch from Comic-Con!

The San Diego event was the party/capper after a full week on the road and the specialness of each one of the movie locations we visited was certainly not lost during the time there.

Because there is just SO MUCH to tell about our adventures, I'm going to split up each location visit into individual posts. I'm also hoping to have a little surprise ready this week so watch out for that as well. As soon as everything's organized into a Flickr set, the story will begin!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

'The Farm, The Field & The Tower' is in full swing!!

We are at location #2; Devil's Tower right now! It's been difficult posting on the actual site due to HIGH roaming changers in Canada as well as limited wi-fi in Wyoming. There's A LOT to tell and show you!!! But because we're on such a busy schedule, a full-on report with PLENTY of photos will have to wait until we get back to LA after Comic-Con. Believe me, I tried a few times but there just hasn't been a moment! So for right now you can follow our adventures this week on the LA Filmcutter Facebook page. There I'll be posting some of the countless pics we're taking! I promise ALL the details right here when we return!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

This is it, today is the day!!! The trip we're about to embark upon today is not merely a tour of three iconic movie locations that are near and dear to my heart. It's a pilgrimage to three magical places that touched, amazed and thrilled me in a darkened theatre and continues to do so to this day.

Visiting the place where a young man realized it was time to move on and become something greater. Where a man and a woman reunited to finally discover the object of their obsession; the place where they would meet visitors from another world. A place where a man who heard a voice in his cornfield fulfilled the dreams of not only those who only wanted a second chance, but also his own deepest lifelong wish.

This is the journey; the most ambitious movie location tour I've ever undertaken.

I am packed, I am ready and I am going to post as much stuff as I can with each stop.

There was an interesting development that arose today involving the Kent Farm location. But what I intend to do is go there, take it all in and then share an overview of what transpired. Nothing bad...just learned a number of things and realized completely how I need to approach this place with respect.

To quote Jay Baruchel's character in "Almost Famous": "it's all happening!"

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My "Amazing Spider-Man" verdict: just putting it out there

This is the first photo of Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man costume that pretty much blew my interest out of the water a bit on the new movie. Bottom line: just WAY too over-stylized.

Oh, but you can't judge a book by it's cover...right?

Now, here we are during opening week. And as the months and weeks ticked down to the release of the too-soon reboot entitled "The Amazing Spider-Man", we put a pretty quick lid right down on top of even going to see this movie.

Critics are saying things like 'why do we need to tread on ground we covered so perfectly just ten years ago?' Not to mention comments about unevenness and a lack of real heart. A friend of mine even said it's more like "Batman Begins" (think gritty revenge) than a Spider-Man movie. His final take: 'it's anything but AMAZING!'

Sure, the picture seems to be action packed. But didn't Sam Raimi do a precisely wonderful job of setting up the web slinger already? As well as bringing his adventures passionately to life along with Toby Maguire's amazing performance?

Raimi is a tried and true Spider-Man fan going way back to the early days of the comics. To shove him out the door just because he didn't want to play the studio's game is inexcusable (post Venon / "Spider-Man 3" debacle). Hey wait, Sony Pictures....didn't he make a SHITLOAD OF MONEY for you guys?! That's right, throw the baby out with the bath water like a lot of the studios do. Sometimes it's very painful to watch.

We're passing on the new flick from Day 1 and I have no regrets. Our hearts belong to Sam Raimi and Toby Maguire and I doubt that's going to change anytime soon. 'Nuff said!

In Sync Advertising: 1st Anniversary!

One year ago today, on July 5, 2011, I began working at In Sync Advertising!

These last twelve months have been filled with really cool projects; some big studio releases I was really proud to cut, a few films that were OK but still carried the acknowledgement of a major release (part of the mix for sure) and some crazily creative concept trailers and broadcast spots I gleefully undertook.

This is the time to push back and acknowledge once more how far I've come and the great place I now immerse myself in, working on nothing but top studio films.

Even though we're gearing up for our trip in a little under two days, I'm hoping to get out and celebrate a little this evening. If time does not permit, I know we're headed to a really nice French Restaurant in Calgary this weekend which could totally do the trick for raising a glass to this milestone.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"A League of Their Own": 20 years later there's still no crying in baseball!

In and around remembering movie icons from thirty years ago as well as the three cinematic icons we're about to visit in the heartland of the US and Canada, I'm certainly not forgetting the fact that this week marks the 20th Anniversary of Penny Marshall's 1992 baseball flick honoring the women of the AAGPBL.

"A League of Their Own" was released on July 1, 1992 and soon became one of my favorite movies of all time. When I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown during the late 90's I absolutely had to make a stop at the 'Women in Baseball' Exhibit. Certainly in a different part of the building as portrayed at the end of the movie, I continued to immerse in the history of the league. An interest which began right after the first time I saw the movie. I even picked up a book or two at that time.

Amongst the original uniforms and souvenirs from that era they also had a number of props from "A League of Their Own", including the LIFE Magazine cover with the photo of Geena Davis doing a split to catch the foul ball.

Of course I need to watch it sometime this month in the 10th Box. But hey, wait in line!! There's so much more on my plate movie-wise at the moment, even beyond our trip beginning this Saturday. Got another festival I'm putting together for after we get back. Probably starting beyond "The Dark Knight Rises" premiere on July 20.

"A League of Their Own" is hilarious, emotional, thrilling and just flat out fun! But just don't look at me when player-in-training Shirley Baker turns back towards the announcement board to see if she's on the team or cut...and begins to cry because she can't read. Gets me every time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Tron" 30th Anniversary screening brings '30' to it's final night

Tonight I'll be screening "Tron" in honor of the film's 30th Anniversary, which closes the '30' film festival I began two weeks ago.

Although "Tron" debuted in theatres thirty years ago next Monday, July 9, we'll be in Calgary and flying to South Dakota later in the day at that point. Important to watch it now before we immerse ourselves in the three movies we're about to visit the filming locations of.

It's definitely been a lot of fun revisiting these six staple movies from the summer of 1982! Plus, I know I'm going to be re-running a few of these movies again when we get back because I am re-watching and watching for the first time some of the special bonus material connected to each. Most notably "Blade Runner", "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" and "E.T."

Also, screening "Tron" will be a springboard to me checking out the new Disney XD animated series "Tron Uprising", which looks amazing!