Just Say No to 3-D

03/31/2010

James Cameron was the first person to say it, but I’ll paraphrase here: Distributing your movie in 3-D when it was shot in 2-D is a pointless act of stupidity. He should know. The only movie I have ever seen in 3-D that was impressive was Avatar. The top-grossing movie was shot entirely using 3-D equipment and exquisite protocols. The bandwagon that has followed (and somewhat preceded) Avatar is full of tacked-on tech that accomplishes two things, and two things only: turning a film into a novelty, and milking extra dollars from the audiences.

Scott Weinberg writes more on this topic in Here’s How 3-D is Ruining Movies.

But to jam an allegedly whiz-bang 3-D face-lift onto a film that was never shot for such a presentation? It’s a rather shameless marketing gimmick that seems to be making some solid coin — and that sucks because the 3-D technology slathered all over Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans remake does nothing but mar the film. At best it’s a forgettable nuisance (nothing in the movie truly “jumps” out at you; there’s no real “depth of field” expansion; and the 3-D stuff does nothing to get you “into” the action that the normal film wouldn’t) and at worst it’s a visual headache that actively damages the film’s production design and special effects. I noticed the surface of a tree that was “bubbling,” and I thought it was supposed to be an evil tree until I realized … nope, that’s just the low-rent shake & bake “3-D conversion” process in action.

I will be watching Clash of the Titans sans glasses, thank you very much, and I’ll use the extra money I save to feed a starving kitten. So there.

(Photo: 20th Century Fox)


The Fascinating Tale of the Kee Bird

02/20/2010

Once upon a time I was most interested in the world of aviation.  I was actually contemplating pursuing a career as a helicopter pilot, and had always found myself gravitating to the lore of flight machines.  As kind of a fluke, I ended up in the US Navy as an airman loading ordnance onto planes; this led to other duties such as towing jets and the corrosion control/painting of the A-6 Intruder, a fine bird.  The films of Steven Spielberg had a role as well, like a shared love of all things WWII aviation.

Nova’s B-29 Frozen in Time, about the Kee Bird, renewed my geek affair with aircraft in one fell swoop.  Here’s Part 1, narrated by Richard Crenna (!):

(YouTube Link)

The story is romantic, and tragic.  It’s the epitome of FAIL, but it’s so very inspiring.  Darryl Greenamyer was a test pilot and B-29 enthusiast who, after learning about a certain abandoned bomber called the Kee Bird that emergency-landed 50 years hence in Greenland, decided to launch a rescue mission.  With his long time mechanic on board, a crew of skilled workers, and a lot of financing to get the seemingly simple task done, he delved into the harsh Greenland waste.

The ensuing voyage of frustration, drama, determination and ultimate failure shines a light on the nature of strength.  You can see what happens as you watch the videos (linked in each part at the YT link), and perhaps relate to efforts and best laid plans… an agent at my office wrote on her whiteboard: “There Is No Struggle Without Strength.”  It is so true, and sometimes the struggle turns out okay.

Like it did for me today.  After a month of negotiating, salvaging failed sales, dealing with scared and angry people, and a lot of hard work, my sellers signed today, and their buyers sign Tuesday.  It was a struggle, but I was strong.  And for some reason, this all reminds me of Darryl Greenamyer and his Kee Bird dream.

Buy it on Amazon.


Star Trek Insurrection Review

01/21/2010

I was getting anxious tonight for the next installment of  RedLetterMedia‘s review of the Star Wars prequels; so much so that I tripped over this other (4-part) review by the same genius as the famed Episode I The Phantom Menace review (7 parts).  Full disclosure: I actually liked Insurrection, precisely because it felt like a throwback to the TV series.  But wow, great presentation here as to how bad that movie was.


My Favorite Rabbit Since Bugs Bunny

12/30/2009

I guess I’m behind the times on this one, which escaped my gaze a few years ago on the short animated circuit.  I am absolutely loving it right now.  Treating my cat for milial skin infections, and the sudden snowstorm has made me just want to snuggle up next to a fireplace and watch this on repeat.  Viva Run Wrake.  Brilliant.


Rare, Wonderful Words

10/18/2009

ERIC’S LEXICON OF OBSCURE WORDS

For a lexicomane like myself, it’s quite idoneous.


In the Shadow of the Volcano

09/28/2009

BeautyShot (2)

Yesterday I took a trip up to the Mt. St. Helens area in Gifford Pichot National Forest, where I haven’t been for over 13 years.  Back then, it was still a wreck ecologically, as though I was walking on the moon.  Now, a lot of scrub brush and fauna have moved back in, but no sign of any Douglas Firs that once dominated this landscape.  Indeed, the biggest change to see is the Johnston Observatory, which is perched directly across from the open crater formed on May 18, 1980 when St. Helens let loose the largest historic volcanic eruption in the 48 contiguous United States.

The Observatory, named for the vulcanologist who was monitoring the mountain from this very spot that day (famous last words, “Vancouver!  Vancouver!  This is it!”), is educational and fun, with a theater showing a 20 minute narrative of what happened.  After the film ends, the screen and curtain rise to reveal the volcano directly behind an enormous wall of windows.  Exciting.

David A. Johnston May 17, 1980

David A. Johnston May 17, 1980

YouTube Link

Notice the tree trunk in foreground, an original victim of the giant blast.

Notice the tree trunk in foreground, an original victim of the giant blast.

Blast Zone, flattened logs

Blast Zone, flattened logs

Lexie digs it.

Lexie digs it.

Closeuptroughs

Spirit Lake now

Spirit Lake now

Spirit Lake before

Spirit Lake before


Inauguration

01/20/2009

Some things work.  Some things don’t.  If this doesn’t work, I surely won’t.

In honor of the dual occasion, here’s a Powerpoint Presentation of the Gettsburg Address.

Of course, if you’re new to the whole Martin Luther King phenomenon, there’s this:

I’m a big fan of Obama and King.  Since Martin’s death, a lot of bullshit has crept into society.

Obama will turn this stuff around.  Stuff will get better everyday.  Stuff is like that.

The U.S. Economy

The U.S. Economy


Don’t Believe Everything You Read (Really)

11/01/2008

Man did I get a wake up call this week.  I feel at once a gullible fool, and an enlightened being.

For 3+ years, I’ve been a huge fan, and regular reader of Snopes.  The Mikkelsons immediately struck me as kindred spirits with their fact-driven writing, with the most flairey bits penned by Barbara.  David’s pieces tend to be more hard fact, yet wonderful as well.  I have had a habit lately of sending my e-mail contacts links to snopes articles that responsibly refute their irresponsible fwd: fwd. 

It’s with this kind of thinking that I came across this article on Mental Floss that made me remember something I had read on Snopes long ago.  The article is about Mr. Ed, and while the Mental Floss post stated the horse was indeed a horse (of course), a commenter jogged my memory of Snopes dealing with the fact that Mr. Ed was actually a zebra.  Checking the link, it was confirmed.  But here’s where it gets interesting.

Click This To See The Mr. Ed Post

After reading that, click on the icon at the bottom that says “More Information About This Page”

and you’ll get this awesome explanation.

I really felt those warning bells go off, right up until the black/white vs color comparisons of how a zebra looks on tv showed the same picture of the Palomino.  Gotcha!  It’s a great message from a very intregal part of the new world, and they’re only two people.  Two very awesome people.  David and Barbara, Kudos, and Snope On!

Dont worry, Honey. The stripes are invisible in TV land!

Don't worry, Honey. The stripes are invisible in TV land!


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