From the Blog

Nov
03
Posted by Derek on November 3rd, 2005 at 2:16 am

Okay, this is the THIRD time I’ve watched “Too Late Wtih Adam Carolla” on Comedy Central and he’s taken a call from Florida. It’s also the third time that the giant screen behind Adam’s head has misrepresented the location of the caller. The first time, he took a call from St. Petersburg. That’s about 15 miles away from me, so I should know where it is on a map. The people at “Too Late” pegged it about 30 miles south, near Bradenton. Wha? Okay, then a couple weeks later, they took a call from Largo. Whatta ya know, that’s only FIVE miles away from me. But the “Too Late” guys were WAAAAY off. Like 100 miles or more south – probably Punta Gorda or something. Then tonight, I’m watching and there’s a call from Orlando. Okay, EVERYONE knows where ORLANDO is, right? Disney World? Mickey Mouse? Universal Studios? No, Adam Carolla’s people placed their dot about 50 miles EAST of town, probably half way to Cocoa Beach! Mother puss bucket, what’s with these people? And the big gripe I’ve got about the first two items above is that St. Petersburg and Largo are both in Pinellas County, WHICH STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB ON A MAP. It’s a PENINSULA! I’m talking when you look at a Florida map, right after say, Lake Okechobee and the Keys, our Peninsular county is the next most obvious geographical feature. Right there in the middle of the west coast, there’s a little bay inlet – Tampa Bay – and Pinellas county falls right between it and the Gulf of Mexico.

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May
15
Posted by Derek on May 15th, 2003 at 2:42 am

I’m not in the middle of a project on this computer right now! Yay!

Yesterday, when I was procrastinating said projects, I did two cool things.

First, I bought The Monkees Season One on DVD. It’s not that weird for people to like The Monkees, I know, but I am a very odd fanatic. I have purchased a lot of CDs, just to get an odd mix or a previously unreleased song. I am the person who can notice the different vocals in a version of “Saturday’s Child” on the TV show versus the album version. I can tell you the difference between the single version of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and the LP version.

Okay, credentials established. I am a nut. But I have The Monkees on DVD, and it’s pretty darn cool. The episodes look pretty darn good (not perfect, but almost), and there are a handful of very informative audio commentaries.

After buying the DVDs, I went over to see Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. My pals Jenn and Mike are big fans of the show, so I thought I’d check out the movie. It turned out to be pretty cool. I usually only go for the sillier anime (Ranma 1/2 and Project AKo for instance), but I did like a lot of things about this one. The story did slow a bit too much for my tastes in the middle, and the big action finale was also not my usual taste, but it was overall a fun flick.

And while anime definitely has no shortage of ideal looking female characters, Faye Valentine is quite a hottie. And the other female character in this film, Elektra, reminds me so much of some real-life actress, and I can’t put my finger on it. Okay, enough pondering animated female characters….

I have quite a list of movies still to see. Laurel Canyon, A Mighty Wind, and Confidence are in town. And of course, there are the big summer sequels that I need to see. Must remember to watch The Matrix and X-Men DVDs again to refresh my memory.

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Apr
26
Posted by Derek on April 26th, 2003 at 11:58 pm

My roommate wanted to watch Bottle Rocket tonight and was a bit indignant that I didn’t own it. So we went to Blockbuster and rented it. I haven’t seen the whole thing in a few years. I rented it last just before seeing Rushmore back when that first came out.

I was pleasantly surprised that Bottle Rocket was funnier than I remember, but I felt it lacked a bit of the emotional resonance of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Though Bottle Rocket is often as unconventional as the other Wes Anderson flicks, there are some elements that seemed clichéd. This is why I will never ever ever ever make a crime movie. If there was ever a genre where “it’s all been done,” that’s it. Nobody’s even sure who’s being ripped off anymore. (I will make an aside to note that I recommend Who Is Cletis Tout?, which I think was vastly misunderstood as a rip-off of crime movies rather than an homage to old-fashioned entertainment. Rent it and see if you agree.)

I think one thing that particularly struck me about Bottle Rocket is that Robert Yeoman’s cinematography wasn’t in the style he so strikingly adopted for Rushmore and Tenenbaums. There are early stages of those static and balanced compositions in Bottle Rocket, but I really, really like the fully developed look of the latter films. Oddly, some of the tracking shots of Bottle Rocket come off more flashy than the highly stylized look of the other films.

In other news…

If anyone remembers back a few weeks, I mentioned I was editing a video for my friend Dale. We shot a half-hour superhero comedy pilot called The Siamese Cat.

I have been waist deep in audio editing for a week or two. I’m trying to make it sound as natural and alive as possible – not as easy as I’d hoped considering our small audio mishaps on the set. I discovered some footage with audio so full of hiss, I’ll have to do more ADR (automated dialog replacement, for those who prefer to avoid over-stylized filmmaking acronyms) to correct this…

The good news is that we will screen the program for the actors and a test audience next weekend. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “test screening” stuff, so it’s cool that we’re going to try it. As a matter of fact, one of the highlights of my trip to Los Angeles last year is that I lucked into a test screening for the movie Down With Love… (Shhhhh, I signed something that said I wouldn’t talk about it!) The credits on the film weren’t in place, so I didn’t know until much later that the movie was directed by Peyton Reed, who used to do behind the scenes featurettes (like “Through the Eyes of Forrest Gump”) but broke into features with the ultimate guilty pleasure, Bring It On. I was so ecstatic that I got to fill out one of the fabled “comment cards”… which was actually both sides of an 8.5 x 11 sheet! Unfortunately, I was not in the film’s target demographic, so I was not chosen to stick around for the “focus group”… Hopefully some of those people had the same thoughts as I did… I suppose we’ll all have to wait until the end of May to see the finished film and figure out what stuck and what was changed.

But I digress…

So The Siamese Cat is almost complete, and we will be submitting it to the Independent Film Festival at the San Diego Comic-Con. Dale thinks we are a shoo-in based on the fact that we meet the stated criteria of being (a) a genre piece and (b) family friendly. I really do hope it gets selected and we go to San Diego, though. I could use a trip, especially one that may validate all the work I put into this. Plus, I’d get to hang with some Movie Poop Shoot colleagues, as there will be the first MPS convention table there.

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Apr
20
Posted by Derek on April 20th, 2003 at 7:04 pm

Is it wrong for a guy to so enjoy watching Gilmore Girls?

Just a rhetorical question, really. I have no shame in admitting it.

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Mar
31
Posted by Derek on March 31st, 2003 at 12:00 am

The Cool Thing for 3.30.03 is…


Six Feet Under

First I was hearing that Lauren Ambrose would be in some new show on HBO. I really liked Ambrose in the underappreciated movie Can’t Hardly Wait. Then I heard it was from Alan Ball, writer of American Beauty, which I thought was a brilliant film.

So along comes Six Feet Under, and I missed it.

About five weeks into the run, I catch an episode and completely fall in love with the show. Another reason to watch turned out to be the superb Peter Krause, late of Sports Night, one of my favorite TV shows.

But what was so compelling about a show that wallowed in death and featured a family who lives and works in a funeral home? Turned out, a heck of a lot.

Some movies and TV shows I can wax eloquent about for hours, but Six Feet Under is something a little more visceral and compelling. I can only mention some of the great things I see from week to week.

Amazing title sequence. Eerie moods that really serve the stories. Great dialogue in the mouths of characters that feel so real. So many things in the show feel stranger than fiction. The show takes chances on ideas and themes that most shows would run away from screaming. While nobody I know is really comparable to the characters on the show, I still relate. Each episode is a rich, textured experience with thrills, laughs and occasionally, something that touches me – it’s like life. I can’t wait to come back next Sunday to see what happens.

Six Feet Under is now in a third season on HBO, and even though I thought they tripped up the beginning of the season, the brilliance I saw in the previous episodes has come back.

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