Monday, November 14, 2011
Then I remembered I had a blog!
So this is it! We're back! I'm back!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
- First meetings. It's always fun to see characters meet each other for the "first" time. Green Lantern doesn't believe Batman is real, Batman deduces the source of GL's powers, and none of them have any idea what Superman is all about.
- Mystery plotline. There is a little mystery developing about who is behind the attacks that Batman is investigating. Of course the ultimate answer is revealed to the audience (although the heroes don't recognize the bad guy's name), it seems that Johns might be setting up a mystery among the fist-pounding heroics.
- Final splash. The final splash page is excellent. Sure it sets up a scene that we've seen thousands and thousands of times in the last six years of comics, but it's a great page. I'd hang the poster on my wall.
- Set-ups. And nothing but set-ups. The whole book is setting up a long story arc that will play out over the next six months, if not longer. And this is the first part of that story, so characters and plot points are being set-up for the future. As a result, not a whole lot happens that doesn't make me wish I had the next issue (or the trade) in my hands so I could keep reading.
- Most of Jim Lee's art. Jim Lee has great character designs, and I might be screamed at by the comics community for saying this, but: I don't care for his art in this issue. It's all a little busy, a little hyper, and more than a little unclear. His characters always look great, but sometimes it's hard to tell what they are doing. But the Green Lantern constructs are fun, as is a single panel of GL half-changing back to Hal Jordan. And I already mentioned that final splash.
- (Too) Familiar ground. A friend of mine mentioned this to me, and my next read really brought it out for me. This book relies on my previous knowledge of the DC Universe, as much as Johns and Lee want to pretend it's a fresh start for new readers. It's not. It's actually a terrible way to introduce characters we've never met before (like my experience with Vic Stone), but it's a standard way to introduce characters we haven't seen in a while (think: Casino Royale or Batman Begins). I can't help but feel that the issue's content is not well-matched to the relaunch's intention.
- Everything else. Okay, maybe that's a little snarky, but seriously, there weren't many things that stood out about this book, either good or bad. A lot of it felt very... functional.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
- Echoes of Film Bond. Deaver's story would fit perfectly into the list of James Bond films. The story takes Bond to exotic locations, involves three beautiful Bond women, a diabolical villain with a real-world plot, and a psychotic henchmen. Action sequences were drawn right from the second unit team, and even John Barry's scores were running through my head as I read them. In fact, Deaver draws so much from the film Bond tradition that he even includes the next bullet point.
- A pre-title sequence! The book actually starts focused on other characters, including the engineer of a locomotive through the countryside. We're introduced to Bond a few short chapters in, when he is involved in a shootout, the destruction of the aforementioned locomotive, and a car chase across the countryside. I could almost hear the title song kick up, and I loved it.
- Echoes of Book Bond. As much as Deaver connects to the cinematic Bond history, he also has his feet planted in Fleming's tradition as well. From the description of Bond's eyes and the lock of hair that falls over his eyes to Bond's occasional melancholy and genuine sadness, Deaver knows his Fleming history. It's great to see such a wonderful blend of the two elements of Bond's history.
- Bond's new backstory. Drawing on the backstory of the literary Bond, Deaver brings back the idea that Bond is an orphan whose parents were killed in a ski accident when he was a boy. I thought it was going to originally stay as backstory, but Deaver expands on it and starts creating an intrigue-laden story for Bond's parents that is more than Fleming ever intended. It is an interesting idea, and I like the attempt to make this more of a modern thriller than Fleming's books. It comes off as a little obvious, although Deaver does include a twist on it that makes it more interesting that just the cliche.
- Pacing. I love books with short chapters. I don't know why, but the chapters come across like popcorn and it's almost impossible to stop reading. Deaver uses this technique really well during the action scenes, but it's one of the those styles that can't help but call attention to itself. In short, it works really well, but there are small places where it feels forced.
- Nothing. Literally, nothing. There are some pieces that don't work as well as others, but no element fell flat on its face. That surprised me, but my standards for books are much more flexible than for films.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
- The action. The action sequences were amazing. They were realistic (for the most part), exciting, and seeing Cap throw his shield was worth the price of admission. The first sequence after he becomes the super soldier is incredible, and he's not even wearing the uniform yet.
- Chris Evans. I wasn't sure that Evans was a good choice for Cap, but he won me over almost immediately. I quickly forgot that I was watching the star of other films, and I only saw him as Captain America. The haircut and the overall styling helped a lot as well. The computer effects to make him smaller were mostly convincing, too, and although it sometimes looked like a strange bobblehead, it always felt like the same character.
- The script. For the most part, the pacing of this movie was dead-on. There was enough character development that made it clear why Steve becomes Captain America, and there were good comedy beats exactly where we needed them. And perhaps most importantly, there were no characters that existed only to be ciphers and provide backstory or plot development. Very well structured, very well written.
- The old-fashioned style of film-making. Aside from the visual effects, this film felt like it could have been made twenty-years ago. There is no shaky-cam, no lens-flare, no quick-cuts, all elements of modern cinema that drive me crazy. Instead, Johnston uses long tracking shots, wide pans, giving the film the feeling of a much older, more "classic" Hollywood. Not only does it mirror the 1940s setting, but it makes it that much more exciting for me.
- The costume. When the first few photos of the movie costume came out, I was really excited. I thought it was really cool. I liked how it combined the comic book design with the reality of WWII-era uniforms. But unfortunately, it didn't look as good in motion due to bizarrely padded shoulders and a strange helmet that didn't look as good as his USO look.
- Hugo Weaving as Red Skull. In the opening scenes of the movie, Weaving is understated, subtle, and truly creepy. But as the the film continues, not only does his performance become downright mustache-twirling, but his accent starts approaching "moose and squirrel" territory. Maybe it was the Halloween mask they made him wear.
- Montage, times two. It's strange to see a montage in a film these days. And this movie has two of them. Both of them fit the story, do a good job of showing the passage of time, and contain a lot of exciting imagery. However, both of the montages were a little long and they robbed the film of some momentum.
- The love story. I don't know why every superhero movie needs to have a love story, especially when it feels tacked-on in movies like this, Thor, Iron Man 2, and The Dark Knight. It gives the opportunity for some jokes, some intentionally tender script moments, but overall it felt tacked-on by the marketing and publicity department.
- The timeline. Captain America is a hero from WWII. And according to the comic books, he somehow winds up in the present day, as a part of the team that includes Hulk and Iron Man. But the pieces of this story are thrown into this movie is such a strange way that I don't see how you could understand it unless you already knew the character's comic history. It felt like they should have saved it for The Avengers movie next summer.
- Samuel L. Jackson. I'm sorry, fans of Marvel Comics, The Avengers, and Mr. Jackson in general. He is completely out of place in these movies. He's there just for fan service, and when it comes to acting, he's not even trying. Reminds me of his comically awkward turns in the Star Wars prequels. This movie (and maybe the entire Marvel movie universe) would be better if they deleted Nick Fury and replaced him with the wonderful Agent Coulson.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
- The design and style. It was like a 1960s James Bond movie done with a budget and scale to rival modern blockbusters. It was a period piece, and they even replicated some of the filmmaking styles of the 60s. A training montage halfway through the film is amazing.
- Professor X and Magneto. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender steal the show. They are great together, and they steal the scenes they are in. Fassbender has a little more to do and a much broader arc, but both of them knock it out of the park.
- Flight effects. As a Superman-fan, I am a sharp critic of flying on film. I never think it looks realistic. But the scenes of Banshee flying in this movie are some of the best that have ever been done. Very realistic, yet without obvious use of computer generated imagery.
- The scope, but without the "origin-sickness." This one will take a second to explain. In many superhero franchises, the first film suffers from "origin sickness," taking a lot of time to develop and explain the backstory of the hero, showing the process by which the hero develops. But that often means that the first hour of the movie is dedicated to slow-moving development before the more interesting part begins. And First Class avoids that problem really well. I don't know if it's the genius of the screenwriting or the fact that the script banks on knowledge of previous X-films, but it works really well.
- Emma Frost, and to some extent, Mystique. This film continues the tradition of the X-men film franchise of having excellent leading men and adequate leading women. Much has already been written about January Jones, but even Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique isn't compelling. Maybe it's because the majority of her scenes
- Comic book tropes. The characters at one point come up with their own code names. Without missing a beat, they automatically pick the ones established by the comic books, including esoteric names like "Professor X." Where did that name come from, other than the fact that the comic books said so? When Hugh Jackman called him "Wheels" in the first movie, that felt authentic. These "code names" just felt forced.
- Cameos. Well, one cameo in particular that was set in a bar, featuring a certain mutant that we all know from the previous films. He was played by the same actor as the original films, and I know I am in the minority that this cameo actually took me out of the movie. It was distracting to see the original actor in the new franchise films. It would be like having Leonard Nimoy is a Star Trek movie featuring a brand-new crew. Oh wait...
- Confusion over the next step. Is this film a stand-alone prequel, or is it the first step in another trilogy to link up with the original film? If it was the first, then things weren't complex enough for me to jump over the 35-year-gap to get to the next film. Aside from the main characters aging, it seems like it should happen tomorrow. But if we're being set up for a sequel, then things were wrapped up a little too neatly
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Case in point:
I spent six weeks being considered for a job in the early part of this year. As I shared in a blog post in February, I did not get the job. But I did spend those six weeks hoping and wishing for the job. I talked about what I would do in the job, and I even talked about the things I was doing in case I didn't get it. Of course, I did not do any of the things I had been planning to do, and so when the job offer did not come, I felt like I was left up the creek without a paddle. And the only person responsible was me, since I had willingly thrown the paddle into the river.
Another case in point:
I am a well-educated, articulate person. I have a variety of work experience, with different interests that span disciplines, and I work very well both on my own and in a team. However, I am at heart a very insecure person. One moment is enough to throw my whole universe out of whack. One lost job that I thought was in the bank. One stray comment after a night of drinking. One facebook status change that seems to contain a hidden message, one rejected job application, one perfect plan that falls though last minute, and I'm suddenly a quivering mess of self-dout. One moment calls everything else into question, and I'm left grinding my jaw and developing ulcers.
What I am doing:
Billboards everywhere are saying that "Self worth beats net worth." I have been trying to keep things in perspective, and I've been trying to remember that life is long and there are no checkpoints along the way. The only pressure on me is the pressure that I put on myself. To that end, I have been trying to put less pressure on myself. I often compare myself to other people, either in their career, their finance, their relationship, and I never think that I match up. I've been trying not to do that, but it's not easy to stop. So instead, I try to remember that other people compare themselves to me. Or that I can compare myself to others and come out on top.
What I need to do:
Somehow, I need to figure out how to be much happier with myself. I have been talking about finding a new hobby tha I can put some time into, something solitary unlike radio production. I've been looking into things like yoga or tai chi, and I do know that my NYC dorm is outfitted with a gym. I plan to dedicate some time to the gym on a regular basis, trying to generate some healthy habits. Because as far as I can tell, worrying is not a healthy habit.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
The three things that will lure me out of retirement are:
1) A project that interests me and that I really believe in.
2) A project where I can make a lot of money very quickly.
3) A project where I can work with close friends, or when a friend needs a favor.
Any project I do from now on will have to be one of these. Preferably, two of these. Ideally, three of these. It's been a while since I've found joy in my performing, and these three bullet points will help me find the joy again.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
This headshot seems to suggest that I'm a little quirky but still serious. The face says I can run your Fortune 500 company, but the body language says I wouldn't enjoy cashing those five-figure paychecks. (The body language is a lie; I'd love to cash the five figure paycheck.)
Quite frankly, I just liked this picture. And I'm still stuck on the plot I suggested two captions back. This is when I learned that my long-thought-dead-and-then-reincarnated-but-now-lives-a-double-life-as-a-nanny-and-an-exotic-dancer sister is also my next-door-neighbor. Spooky.
For a potential headshot, this photo is inappropriate on several different levels. First, there is entirely too much brown of the wood. Second, I have some dirt under my fingernails. And third, it cuts off some of my hair at the top. Complete inappropriate.
It's not professionally done by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a good photo that looks like me. My old photos were a little out of date, so I did need a little update. But I also didn't want to spend upwards of 400 bucks on new headshots, since I want to switch careers completely anyway. So this will do for now. Hopefully the next promotional photo I have taken of myself will feature me in a suit and tie, and I'll be listed in the "staff" section of a publishing company's website.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
But until that happened, I was really grooving on the project, and I was really enjoying the editing work I was doing. In another blog post not long ago, I talked about how I wasn't feeling the work for RHP anymore, about how it felt like just another job and my heart wasn't in it. Well, now I'd like to recant that position almost entirely. It just took the first episode to get the energy and momentum building again, but with that one online and behind us, I'm feeling the fun again.
It might be a passing thing, as I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed again on this Thursday afternoon, and tomorrow will be a challenging day at work. But for last night, everything was going great. I'll hold onto that feeling, and take it with me through the darker times. Which are sure to return. But I feel like I might have a torch now, which can make all the difference in the darkness.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
By now, you've probably noticed I am using the past perfect tense. "Would have.." So it's no surprise for me to tell you now that I wasn't offered the job. I found out on the Friday before the Valentine's day weekend, when I was booked to shoot a short film with a young filmmaker. (More information on that movie will be coming to this blog soon. Stay tuned...) So I did have something to take my mind off the bad news at first, when I headed out to Bucks county and had a great time shooting a short film. But when that film was over, I went right back to my somewhat exhausting, temp-jobbing life.
On one hand, nothing has changed. But on the other hand, the only change is that a possible "yes" has now become a definitive "no." I have to go out again and find a new job opening, apply, interview, etc, and hope to make it far enough to be considered for the position. And that's a daunting task, especially when I have to return to my temp-jobbing weeks. I am applying for some summer courses as well to help me realize my goals, so there is a long-term plan in place that I'm running toward. But that still doesn't make the day-to-day any easier.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
We had originally written the script a few years ago, working with a producer who had worked with Rob on a WWII documentary. She was interested in his idea for the horror film, so he and I spent a feverish ten days writing most of a screenplay so we could read it at a meeting at the producer's house. We finished most of it, outlined the rest in an exciting paragraph of action, and then pitched it. Everyone involved liked the idea, including our own twists. We talked about the next steps to take to make the film, but ultimately the project fell through. And, true to form, Rob and I never went back to work on it, since we were no longer planning to make the movie.
And, unfortunately, that has emerged as a habit for me. I dedicate a lot of energy into a project, and then when that project takes a downward turn, or when another project replaces it in the front of my mind, the older one simply falls by the wayside. As a result, I have a whole pile of never-finished scripts as opposed to a pile of finished-but-not-edited scripts. I'd like to be better about following up on these projects; you never know when an old completed script will come in handy for a new project or as a writing sample. But we worked hard for that week, and we don't have a finished screenplay to show for it. I've actually been thinking about dusting off those old notes, seeing if I can give it some shape again and try to write the ending. Just for fun.
If I do, I'll tackle it next week. This week is a busy one with RHP work and temp work, and I barely have enough time to cook, learn my lines, or have a social life. So next week... Perhaps...