Friday, August 29, 2008

Running on Empty

Once again, I'm posting a clip from another favorite movie, Running on Empty. The linked clip pretty much defines what the film is about. Again, the performances here are excellent. I've always admired Christine Lahti and thought she was underappreciated and she delivers the goods in this film. Also good in this scene is Steven Hill as Lahti's father. If you're a fan of Law and Order, you'll recognize Hill. Anyways, I know this clip is rather long, but I promise if you stick around to the end, you won't regret it. Watch the bottled up emotions rise to the surface as the scene is concluding. Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Exceeding Expectations

I finally got to see this summer's blockbuster film The Dark Knight. I was preparing myself to be let down and disappointed after all the hype and critical praise it's been receiving, but thankfully, that wasn't the case at all. In fact, this movie exceeded my expectations. Wow! That's the best way to describe The Dark Knight. Props have to go to writer/director Christopher Nolan. He has managed to not only re-invent the Batman franchise, he found a way to take the Bruce Wayne/Batman character to dark and emotional places that I never thought anyone could take a comic book movie. I guess if anyone could've pulled this off, it was Nolan. If you've seen his prior work, you'll know what I'm talking about. His first commercial film was a film called Memento which is a murder mystery told backwards where the main character has amnesia and is trying to figure out how to piece his life back together after the murder of his wife. A couple of years later he made Insomnia with Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hillary Swank which is another murder mystery set in the long summer days of Alaska. Nolan's next film was his most popular, mainly because of the incredible twist at the end, The Prestige. Then the Batman franchise came a knockin' on his door and took the whole concept of the DC Comics hero and has fashioned two films that I believe make the Batman franchise more accessible to a wider audience than just the nerdy die-hard comic zealots and he still has managed to satisfy them. In Batman Begins we get to see how Bruce Wayne became what he is. In The Dark Knight we see how Wayne must come to grips with his power and how use his gifts ethically against a villain that is relentless. That brings us to the Joker played with a mix of sick humor and anger by the late Heath Ledger. This version of the Joker could give Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter a run for his money as the best screen villain of all time. Maybe there is some kind of added creepiness since Ledger wasn't able to witness the critical response he would receive for this performance. What makes this Joker scary is that he really has no agenda, financial or political. His goal is to create chaos through anarchy for the fun of it, nothing more. He forces Batman into making difficult decisions on how far he can go to stop him. All the performances are spot on. Christian Bale, the always reliable Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and new to the franchise are BYU grad Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhall. Credit has to be given to Australian editor Lee Smith who gives the picture a relentless pacing and rhythm and when it needs it, a deep breath before going into another slam-bang sequence. Longtime Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister shoots Gotham (using Chicago) as if it were a character. If you have a chance to see this on IMAX, do it, you won't regret it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Grapes of Wrath

As I've mentioned earlier, I'll use this blog to post links to my favorite movie scenes. This week is a scene from The Grapes of Wrath. I think the signature of a good scene is that you never tire of seeing it. You memorize the dialogue by heart, you know when the music will start, you know every beat of the scene. I love this scene because of the performances of Henry Fonda and Jane Darwell, it so simple yet intensely powerful. I highly recommend putting this film on your Netflix cue, you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Today was my last day on 90210. It's always sad to say goodbye to people you enjoy working with when a project is over. Only this time, the project is far from over. I feel sorry for them as they have a grueling production schedule ahead of them. No one on in the 90210 editorial will have a weekend off for months. I hope the show is a hit to at least make all the hard work and long hours worth it. With two episodes airing back to back on September 2nd, it's been a struggle to keep up with production which has already started shooting the fourth episode. I don't know how they're going to do it. I know Aimee and I are relieved that I won't be sucked into that nightmare. Another season of Lost starts production on Monday, but since the first episode won't air until January or February, our schedule is a bit more relaxed. The start of a new season is coinciding with Aimee and the kids leaving for Utah on Tuesday. I'll have to find reasons to stay away from home as I hate being home alone. You always think you'll look forward to peace and quiet, but to me, that gets old very fast. I feel lonely when I'm home alone. I know Aimee would love to spend a couple of weeks by herself as she has always has the kids with her at all hours, even on her vacation. I know Ross and Eleanor have a lot of fun things planned for them so I hope everyone can stay healthy and enjoy their time in Utah.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Vacation?

This is the time of year when families across America are going on vacation. With my current work schedule, I won't be going on vacation with my family. Aimee and the kids will be going to Utah for two weeks at the end of this month. I'm sure Aimee will take plenty of pictures of which I'll post here, but I have to admit I feel bummed that I won't get to go with my family to Utah. I knew when I got into "the business" that work schedules are unpredictable and there's no way to know when you'll have downtime, so I can't complain. Still, I think I'll miss Rachel and Allie kicking the back of my seat asking, "How much longer till we get there?". For now, I'll just have to pretend I'm Matthew Fox running around the beaches of Hawaii as I watch dailies as a new season of Lost begins shooting in two weeks. Many of you have asked if I know anything about what will happen on the show this season. All I can say is that I know nothing. I'm sure Damon and Carlton have another great season in store for all the fans as the show slowly comes to a conclusion. I'm excited to go back. I have to give props to the fantastic and talented people I've been working with this summer on 90210. I'll miss them when I leave next week. I hope the new 90210 is a hit and will be around for years to come. Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs deserve a renewal, I hope the CW will be patient with it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Desperate Measures

This is what happens when a presidential candidate views himself having no shot at winning, so he'll resort to appeal to the lowest common denominator with mud-slinging ads. I'm glad Jon Stewart is around to keep everyone honest.