And the Oscar Goes Too…

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Something unique and exciting happened tonite. Something that made every geek pee his/her pants. A fantasy film took home best picture, and a bonified geek took home best director. I am talking about the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King my friends, and that hobbit masquerading as a kiwi down under, Peter Jackson. For the first time a favorite book from my childhood translated to movie magic (the others failed miserable). And while there was much omitted from the story, and some of it not handled as well as I would have liked (I’m a purist, so sue me 🙂 there was SO much that was done right and was handled with spirit grace like Professor Tolkien’s prose.

I thank you Peter Jackson, the talented cast and crew, and New Zealand, for bringing Middle Earth to  life. And most of all to John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, for inspiring us all.

Now its time to go throw my pants in the washer… Good nite all.

Oscar Day!

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126_poster.gifIt’s Oscar Day! In a mad dash to watch the nominated films, we saw Mystic River last night and Lost in Translation this morning. The only best picture nominee we missed was Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, and frankly I found the title too long when in of itself, put me to sleep. I just don’t think it has much of chance.

Well, I enjoyed Mystic River until the last 10 minutes, which were unnecessary and infuriating. I don’t want to give the movie away, but the film needed another week in the editing room. For those of you who have seen the film, it SHOULD have ended with the car driving away, the kid looking back toward Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn, and then fade to black. The performances are top notch however, and Tim Robbins is much deserving of Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

As for Lost in Translation, it is a nice “Two Ships Passing in the Night” film. Not much happens over 90 minutes, but it is a pleasant diversion, with a standout performance from Bill Murray. But I don’t think it will be walking away with Best Picture Oscar.

Lord of the Rings on the other hand, should walk away with Best Picture and Director Oscars. Anything more than that, is icing on the cake.

See ya on the Red Carpet!

Humor this old Trekker

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I happened to catch an older episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG) this afternoon. While a huge fan during it’s run back in the late 80s, early 90s, I have since grown to dislike much of what Star Trek has become, particularly the later TV series and the films. But today’s episode reminded how much I loved the show; the writing, acting and story were great.

320x240.jpgThe episode in question is “The Drumhead” which told the story of an admiral so preoccupied with preserving the Federation, that she was willing to sacrifice the liberty and freedom of anyone to protect it. It is a theme I found startling poignant considering the times in which we live. There is a quote late in the episode I eagerly awaited to jot down, since it has stuck in my memory these many years:

“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably… The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we are all damaged.” — Captain Picard

I feel the quote speaks for itself.

On a lighter note, while this old Trekker is feeling a little nostalgic, let me recommend some of the my favorite episodes from ST:TNG, as no show on television was better when it was at the top of its game:

The Measure of a Man (Season 2)
Yesterday’s Enterprise (Season 3)
Best of Both Worlds 1 & 2 (Season 3 & 4)
Family (Season 4)
The Drumhead (Season 4)
The Inner Light (Season 5)

That is all, and thanks for humoring this old geek one more time.

Next Steps

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dvdcover.jpgAs many of you know I have been pursuing with limited success a career in film and video. My friend/partner Mark and I, and a talented crew of friends and coworkers, won the Best Video Award for Razzle Dazzle, the most recent video we produced for Bank of the West. We also recently finished a special edition DVD of Razzle Dazzle that many of you will soon have in hand. While it is well known that I am rarely pleased with my own work, (a constant struggle against my inner critic), I am relatively pleased with how everything turned out and feel comfortable sharing it with the world.

Now with the bulk of this project behind us, we are eager to start our next venture: a short horror film we hope to enter into film festivals later this year. Today we took a giant and exciting step forward in that direction as we scouted the probable location of the film: a vacant shopping mall slated for demolition later this year. We are hopeful that this mall will serve as the backdrop for our own Halloween or Friday the 13th (when shooting for the moon, always plan to leave a huge gaping hole). The short visit inspired us, and gelled a number of the ideas we had talked about.

I am determined not to let our “film” equipment rust in the garage another year, waiting for the next Bank of the West video. This will be our first completely independent project, and produced under the banner Elma Films (derived from the first two letters of each of our names, Elvis and Mark). But many details remain, including the writing and polishing of a script, casting, crewing the shoot, securing the location and all the preproduction that goes into putting it all on screen.

I hope to document much of it here, giving you some taste of how it all comes together. And if any of you are interested in participating, please let me know. It will be a bumpy but amazing ride.