Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jim Kelly (1946-2013)

I just found out that Jim Kelly passed away yesterday.  Jim Kelly starred along with Bruce Lee in "Enter the Dragon", and after seeing that I was completely hooked on Jim Kelly's performance.  He made everything look easy and he exuded coolness like no one else.  His films include "Three the Hard way", Black Samson, Black Samurai, and Black Belt Jones.   After several more films Jim Kelly left acting and became a professional tennis player.on the USTA  senior man's circuit.

He will be missed.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

So for Father's day we all went to see "The Man of Steel".  I have always been a BIG Superman fan, and remember seeing the old episodes of Superman on the TV while I was growing up.  So I was anxious to see this new one.  I have to say that I wasn't disappointed at seeing it.  Now I do remember when Superman came out while I was a teenager.  The two Superman movies were something special for me, and Christopher Reeve was a very special Superman.  But I always wondered what happened to Superman during his teenage years.  Sure I read the Superboy comic books as a child, but in those he just seemed like a Superman who was just younger.  In "The Man of Steel" Superman is seen more human.  He is conflicted about who he is and what he is.  The flashbacks of him and his Earth dad Pa Kent is touching and revealing.  After all could not have Superman been bad.  Could he have used his powers for evil instead of good, and this movie explains why Superman is our champion.  Also we see his original father a bit more, but still having a presence in Superman's life.

I enjoyed the movie because of these things.  In the older movies Superman was one dimensional, but here he's a bit more, and I liked that.  I'm not saying I hate the older movies or the TV series.  They are still as good as they were, and just as fun to watch as this one is, but "Man of Steel" gives us the conflict that Superman has.

Now I know some people are upset by this film, and how Superman is portrayed, but I like how the filmmakers made it more detailed.  More cerebral, then the other films.  This in no way lessens the film, but what it does do is make it less exciting to younger kids.  I took my two boys and they loved the fight scenes, and they enjoyed seeing Krypton, and how it exploded, but they were less amused by Superman's emotional  revelations.  Is the movie not for children?  Yes and no.  After the movie my boys seemed to have liked it, but I did sense that during the movie they were more interested in their popcorn then what was happening on the screen.  But I don't fault the filmmakers for this.  I applaud them for making a mature themed Superman.  "The Man of Steel" is a film that shows us hero's have their vulnerabilities, and I'm not talking about Kryptonite, but what makes us who we are.  Our character.  Superman's character was always truth, justice and the American way, but in a multi-cultural society such as ours he is a hero to ALL because he's just like us.   That's what appealed to me.  Also with any movie with Superheros there has to be a villain and General Zod played by Michael Shannon is a worthy opponent.  Shannon does a marvelous acting job as Zod, and he is a very memorable villain.  But again their is Kevin Costner as Pa Kent, and Diane Lane as Superman's earth mom, and they all contribute to the film.  Their performances make this film what it is.  Also Russell Crowe's performance as Jor-el is also one to note.  It is all these performances that make "Man of Steel" worth going to see.

I did have a problem with the pacing, but my boys felt it more then I did.  It's not that roller coaster ride you get in some block-busters, but for me getting to know Superman and what made him tick was worth it.  I also have to note that the story is the beginning of a love story.  Yes I said love story.  Louis Lane's and Superman always had something, and it is in this film that we begin to see that.  In fact it's his love of Louis that compels Superman to fight for the humans.  I do hope that they pursue more of their relationship in future movies, and by the opening week-ends box office I'm sure there will be more to come.  All I can say is BRING IT ON!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Richard Burton Matheson (1926-2013)

Yesterday I heard that we lost another great writer.  Richard Matheson was a writer of over 25 novels and countless short stories.  He was a big influence in my life because I was introduced to him through the old Twilight Zone episodes.  He wrote one of my favorite novels "I am Legend" which has been made into several movies.  "Nightmare at 20,000 feet" and the episode called "Steel" were two of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes.  He was what writers needed to aspire to.  What Mr. Matheson wrote and conveyed in a 30 minute episode no one has yet to come as close to perfecting.  His writing touched you like no one elses could.  He brought humanity into his stories, and he certainly was prolific with the work he produced.

Not only did he produce great work but he influenced others such Stephen King, George Romero, and Anne Rice just to name a few.

He will be missed, and all I can say is thank you Mr. Matheson for the great work you leave behind for future generations like my boys to discover.  Thank you also for the inspiration you provided through your writings and a BIG thanks for cultivating my creativity and the creativity of others.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Filmmaking Advice from filmmakers!

Here in Philly and the surrounding area there are a group of people I admire and hope to work with some day.  They were on a panel about film making at a gaming con.  They mention some things that I think is relevant and true, so give it a listen it's worth hearing.

Friday, June 07, 2013

DSLR Filmmaking

I've been researching and looking into DSLR filmmaking.  There are many cameras to do this.  The Canon 5D is one of those films, but I wanted to look into the Nikon side of DSLR.

The below clip was shot with a Nikon D800.  I've already come to the conclusion that the Nikon d600 has too  many problems and is not good for the average filmmaker.  It has a problem with low light, aliasing, and it can only be used for 20 to 30 minutes of continuous filming.

It seems that the Nikon D800 has fixed those problems.  More on what I find out and what the D800 can do.  In the meantime here is a film that was shot with the D800.  You be the judge.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Star Trek: Into the Darkness (2013)

After seeing Star Trek Into the Darkness I have to say that the franchise seems to be in good hands.  Being a fan of the series, and the movies I was a little worried about re-vamping the franchise, but all those worries were for nothing.  The creators of the new Star Trek seem to respect and admire its past while giving us a new future.  What Star Trek is about hope.  Hope that man gets it right after all it's screw ups and that the human race does makes it to the stars and becomes a catalyst for hope in the universe.  That's the big picture of course.  What Star Trek is also about and what makes it a phenomenon is its all about relationships.  The crew of the Enterprise is like a big family and the two centered in that family is the relationship between Spock and Kirk.  It is these two characters that make the adventure of Star Trek so endearing to its fans.  In the old series William Shatner, and Leonard Nimoy were two sides of the coin.  Both trying to understand each other while showing love and respect for one another.  It is their relationship that has catapulted them into many adventures that us fans so like.  The other characters in Star Trek such as Sulu, Uhura, Scottty, Bones, and Chekov were also part of the family, and the filmmakers of the new envisioned Start Trek know that.  In fact they take it a step further and throw a few surprises in the relationship to make us more interested in our merry band of explorers.

I won't get into the plot or even say what its about.  It's best seen not knowing too much of the film.  What I will say is its a nod at the movie "Wrath of Kahn", which itself was and still is one of the best Star Trek films made.  "Wrath of Kahn" took the franchise into uncharted territory for the Star Trek franchise, while at the same time enhancing the relationship between the characters that we have grown to love. 

JJ Abrams does the same thing, and gives us a few surprises to keep it all fresh.  The acting is a joy to watch, and its all because of the casting.  Lightning seems to have been caught again in a bottle, and Abrams knows what to do.  What we are given is a true re-birth of Star Trek and what makes it so endearing to us fans.  All the actors do a great job, and you can sense their enjoyment working with each other.

I really liked what they did with the franchise, and I enjoyed the film.  I think if you're not a fan you'll enjoy the film just for the  sheer pace of the film.  It's a fast pace film with lots of chills and thrills for the moviegoer who isn't a fan of the franchise, but for us fans it a great re-boot and a fun ride.