Thursday, June 25, 2015

What it really costs to make films....








The following article is insightful and something I'v e been talking about for years.  You can still shoot on film, and make it affordable.  I took it even further and finished on film due to the fact that I had the equipment.


I edited my film on and off for around 5 years.  Pretty long time, but when one needs to pay the bills and get jobs to pay those bills one does not have the time to consistently work on his or her project,

Take a look at the article.  It's well done, and has some good points in it.  Thanks Jacob Dodd for writing it.

https://jamesriverfilm.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/the-true-cost-of-filmmaking-in-the-21st-century/

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World (2015)



What can be said about Jurassic world that hasn't been said by other critics.  my youngest son said it in one word: "AWESOME".  We have enjoyed the series throughout the years, but I asked my boys which do you like, and they all go back to the original.  The others felt like repeats of the same they said, and my boys aren't half wrong.  When Jurassic Park came out way back in 1993 we as an audience had not seen anything like the film.  The effects were breathtaking, and the creatures were very real looking.  That is because a lot of hard work went into the effects.  Some of the CGI was groundbreaking.  So how does one out do the original?  Simple, you don't even try.

Jurassic World is a movie that is unlike the others.  It's new.  The story picks up more then 20 years latter and tries to spin it's own tale.  It seems as though Jurassic World the amusement park has been running for 20 years and without one incident.  What the other films were trying to say about dinosaurs has been ignored, and that is NOT bringing them back is what we should do.  Instead mankind has ignored the warnings and what actually happened on the island and instead built their theme park.  Of course we come in just as the proverbial poop is going to hit the fan.

Everything is bigger in Jurassic World, and why not.  The filmmakers had to bring it big or go home, and I can tell you that they brought it home.  The writing is typical, and the characters are a bit one dimensional.  Some critics have even said that it is a bit chauvinistic since the female protagonist runs around in high heels and is a career minded women who does not know her nephews ages, but I beg to differ.  In the end she comes through and risks life and limb to save her nephews and our hero, so the argument doesn't hold too much water for me, and did not interfere with me enjoying the film myself.

I'll agree with the one dimensional characters, but the story is epic, and it is very entertaining.  What else do you need for a summer movie.

All the performances were good, and I know other critics have harped on it.  I really don't think it has a problem.  The story rolls right along, and yes the one dimensional characters are a there, but the movie runs two hours and ten minutes.  For me it's all about the pacing, and the movie works for me.  The audience I saw with it didn't have a problem with the film.

I do believe that this film shows us that we humans still don't learn form our mistakes and when even when we think we're in control we're not.  Several times the characters say that they are animals not just products, but it seems to fall onto deaf ears.  In the end the animals save the humans, not the other way around.  Nature is stronger.  I don't know if anyone got that message but it seems lost on some.

If I was the filmmakers I wouldn't sweat it.  Already the film seems to be breaking box office records, and is fast on its way to one billion in gross.  So I'm sure the studio is laughing all the way to the bank.

So as Mel Brooks would say let the merchandising begin.....

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)



It looks like the summer movie blockbuster season is opening up early with the opening of "Avengers: Age of Ultron".  The second Avengers begins with a promising opening.  It seems that the Avengers are once again battling the forces of Hydra.  From there the story develops into creating another baddie named Ultron.

The film is fun, and works well, but the one problem was that it seemed overly long when it didn't need to be.  The theater was packed, and everyone seemed to enjoy it, but there were some younger children in the audience that seemed bored when there was no action on the screen, so the movie may not be geared to them particular.  But then why does the studio gear the merchandise to small kids.  

I enjoyed the movies little jabs at itself.  The humor in it was funny, and it endeared us to the characters.  Such as Captain America's purity, or the Hulks anger issues, or even Iron man's love of one-liners and even Thor's good looks.

Like I said my one criticisms  is the length.  But I do love the characters, and the one thing this movie sets up is the next Avengers movie, with a different cast with some regulars still present.  Marvel Studios is following the comic.  It was well known that the Avenger's roll call changed a lot in the comics so Marvel is staying true to the comic.   Overall it's a good outing, and if you have children who are fans then it's a no-brainer to go see it with them.

Joss Whedon is a heck of a director, and he produces a well crafted film.  It's my hope that Whedon continues, and doesn't get bored with the franchise.  Whedon brings love of the characters to the movie, and we the audience care for them.  I believe this is why this film will resonate with its audiences.  It is no mistake that Whedon comes from a writing background.  He has worked on and produced some of the better quality TV shows on this decade where character development is deeper then in movies because it can establish character within several episodes.  Here he does it within a movie, and though a bit long it does work in my opinion.  We already have some character development in the previous movies so the audience knows what to expect, but to Whedon's credit he builds on it.  It's a strong film, and one audiences should enjoy.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

   
I won't give out too much details about the movie for those who still want to see it.  With over 100 million copies of the trilogy sold and the books being translated into 52 languages I would think there is a built in audience for this movie.  So no matter what the critics say people are going to go see it and so this review really won't matter, but as a movie does it stack up to others of it's genre.  That genre being the erotic film.

Erotica is a genre that dates back a long way.  From books, to films the genre has been a popular one and a very lucrative one too.  The film tries to be, but it isn't at all erotic.  There is a scene in the film where our heroine (Dakota Johnson) and (Mr Grey) sit at a piano and are whisked away in a passionate embrace, which is as close to erotic as the film gets.

But to say that this film is devoid of any redeeming value is a lie.  Ms Johnson's performance is what makes the film.  She does a good job at conveying her characters interest in Mr. Grey's obsessions, but it is Johnson's ability to portray her character as a strong and independent character who is set afire by her awakening desires.  She is what makes it interesting.  I totally agree that the film could have been edited a bit better.  just as the characters are getting interesting we find ourselves at the end.  The end is unsatisfying, and we the audience are left up in the air.  I realize that this is part of a trilogy, but the book stands on it's own, and is not dependent on the second or third book.  Instead they explore a different period in the characters lives.  The movie does not do this and by leaving the audience hanging it make the film weak.

There are a lot of other films that I really could are better.  I would think this to be a romantic film with S&M as a theme on how broken we as human beings can be, and how puritan we as a society are, but the film treats it like a gimmick.  It cheapens it, and makes the film not as good as it should be.

Dakota Johnson does a lot here to make us feel for the character she plays and she does a fantastic job at it.  Jamie Dorman tries to do the same and he does his best but there is little for him to work with.  Dorman's character is a caricature of a wealthy troubled millionaire.  He tries his best at what the screenplay allows him to, but we still don't get who he is.  It is only at the end when there is a conflict that we see or have a clue to what his character is really like.

Listen if you're a fan you'll see the film despite the reviews, but from what I am told there is more depth in the book about the characters then there is in the film.  Again Ms Johnson's performance is quite good,  and just alone I recommend the film.

It's not a bad date movie.  It certainly will make the dinner or late nightcap conversation a bit more interesting.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Monster Road (Bruce Bickford, animator)



 I reviewed this long ago, and now I see it's available on-line for free.  How cool is that.

http://youtu.be/0Q2MI23zS2w


ENJOY!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

LED projectors



I've worked in the A/V field now for over 20 years and have installed, re-fitted, replaced, and fixed  many A/V related equipment.  The largest expense, and the most maintenance heavy piece of equipment is the LCD projector.

No matter where I go I am confronted by these dinosaurs and as always I've written memos on what to do about them that usually lands on deaf ears.  replace those LCD with LED projectors and you're organization will be happy, and a even have a bit more cash.  LED projectors are quite good, and can last 10 to 20 years.  Now of course the having a piece of equipment that last almost 20 years may not be the greatest.  After all you want your organization to have the latest pieces of equipment, bu a projector is just that a display device.  Hook it up to a computer and or a DVD player and you have an instant presentation device.  Include a smart board and have a multimedia 21st century blackboard.

Why am I talking about this?  Because organizations are slow to move on technology.  If it ain't broke don't fix it, but I would ask you one question and that is how much did you spend on bulbs this year.  When lamps are $100 to $300 don't complain about blowing lamps when they are used everyday by teachers, salesmen, and administrators.

LED solves all that.  Bright image, quality bulbs, and almost maintenance free.  Filter cleaning still is a must, but with less classrooms, and meeting rooms that have caustic material flying around the less dust gets trapped in those filters.  But make no mistake have a maintenance schedule for your projectors or they'll soon fail.

What types of LED's you ask?

The PRO Series 7, 2100 Lumens LED HD Projector is a good basic LED projector.  It only has 2100 Lumens so it may not be good for a room where daylight seeps through the windows and over powers the room.


Casio XJ-H2650: LED/Laser Conference Projector is a good one for the classroom


There are several out there but what you want is a projector that is nicely built and has a high lumens.  One needs to shop for the right one, but there are projectors for your organization that will be better then and less expensive to run.

Remember high lumen, portability or non-portability.  The potable LED projectors do have smaller lumens so beware. 

The Panasonic PT-RW430UW WXGA 3500 Lumens Integration Projector is another good one, but one that may be a bit expensive.


Have any questions about lumens, projectors and LED projectors?  Try this resource at E-bay.  It is helpful and will clarify any questions you might have with projectors.

LED Projector Buyers guide.
I've worked in the A/V field for nThe life of an LED light source is seriously spectacular. Even with 40 hours of viewing per week, the average LED can run for an impressive 10-25 years, which is longer than the expected life of the product itself! Let us put in perspective how long 25 years really is in the world of technology. In 1985, the VHS was the standard in home recording, a really huge TV was only 32 inches, CDs were new, DVDs were only a dream, and high-definition was still 15 years away. Thus, because technology changes so much, the use of the same LED projector 25 years into the future is not really practical. But theoretically, it’s possible! - See more at: http://www.projectorreviews.com/projector-categories/led-projectors/#sthash.WpcGRxU1.dpuf
The life of an LED light source is seriously spectacular. Even with 40 hours of viewing per week, the average LED can run for an impressive 10-25 years, which is longer than the expected life of the product itself! Let us put in perspective how long 25 years really is in the world of technology. In 1985, the VHS was the standard in home recording, a really huge TV was only 32 inches, CDs were new, DVDs were only a dream, and high-definition was still 15 years away. Thus, because technology changes so much, the use of the same LED projector 25 years into the future is not really practical. But theoretically, it’s possible! - See more at: http://www.projectorreviews.com/projector-categories/led-projectors/#sthash.WpcGRxU1.dpuf
The life of an LED light source is seriously spectacular. Even with 40 hours of viewing per week, the average LED can run for an impressive 10-25 years, which is longer than the expected life of the product itself! Let us put in perspective how long 25 years really is in the world of technology. In 1985, the VHS was the standard in home recording, a really huge TV was only 32 inches, CDs were new, DVDs were only a dream, and high-definition was still 15 years away. Thus, because technology changes so much, the use of the same LED projector 25 years into the future is not really practical. But theoretically, it’s possible! - See more at: http://www.projectorreviews.com/projector-categories/led-projectors/#sthash.WpcGRxU1.dpuf

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)


Gone to soon.  A brilliant thespian, comic, and performer.  He will be missed .  Thanks for the laughter.