Monday, January 19, 2009

short cut

you take the stairs...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

top 8 films of 2008

here's my top 8 for the calendar year, listed in alphabetical order:

* beverly hills chihuahua - ha ha, gotcha. for reals...

* dark knight, the - so good that it transcends the entire comic book genre. it's actually a clever & sophisticated crime drama concerning the denizens of gotham city featuring an electric performance by the late heath ledger. also the first narrative feature to incorporate IMAX cameras for six of its scenes...

* frost/nixon - an unexpected surprise from the occasionally vanilla ron howard. showcases a standout perf by frank langella as tricky dick, as his explosive outburst in a hallucinatory phone call made the hair on my arms rise. closeup of his face in the last debate is one of the memorable shots of the year.

* in bruges - uproarious dark comedy that got lost in the shuffle during its february release. if you often wondered just when has colin farrell ever been good, here is your answer. juicy, sarcastic dialogue runs rampant in this tale of hitmen stranded in a belgium town. guns, beer, scenery, women and midgets. what more could you ask for?

* slumdog millionaire - this rousing crowdpleaser marks the return to truly independent cinema for danny boyle. it's a vivid, energetic and romantic tale about an underdog overcoming the odds. plus, the screening i attended at the camerimage festival in poland was the top cinematic experience of my lifetime.

* speed racer - to date, as close as animation come to life one will ever see. going in, i thought the film was going to be all style and no substance, but i was happy to be proven wrong. unbeknownst to many, there's actually a serious, redemptive tale about family hidden in a trippy kaleidoscope of color and visual effects.

* tell no one - this small french suspenser garnered great reviews and lived up to them and more. great lead perf by francois cluzet, channeling his best michael douglas impression of a man being taken advantage of and coming out swinging. twisty, unnerving and exciting, this film featured one of the best action scenes of the year taking place on a freeway.

* transsiberian - a gutwrenching thriller about a couple who encounter, uh, difficulties on their train ride from beijing to russia. truly a harrowing tale and kudos to emily mortimer, whose performance leaves you squirming in your seat.

* wall-E - yawn. another pixar masterpiece that rivals the best of silent films in its first 40 minutes. just a charming tale about a robot in his quest to save the earth and find love in the process. reminds you of why one goes to the movies in the first place.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

poland - day 5

i know you're thinking, wait a sec, didn't he go to poland like a month ago? i feel bad for procrastinating so, but work and the holidays really put a cramp into me finishing up this darn trip. so i will try to breeze thru the last few days as quick as possible...

wed, dec 3

1:00pm - steven rosenblum editing workshop
10:00pm - viggo mortensen award presentation
10:30pm - 'good' screening

i arrive at the lodz film school, excited to attend steve's workshop. steve is a client of ours and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. [sidebar: when he found out i wouldn't be able to make it home for thanksgiving, he and his charming wife debby invited me to their home with open arms] steve has edited such noteworthy films like 'braveheart,' 'the last samurai' and 'blood diamond,' so it was a treat for the students to listen about his outlook and work process with the director when tackling such big projects.

afterwards, we met up with a few other festival judges at the polish/jewish restaurant anatewka for a rousing lunch in a private room best described at a glorified coat closet. to the right of steve and i are DP gabriel beristain ('blade II') and DP nicola pecorini ('fear & loathing in las vegas') in a... lighter moment. i then meet up w/marta and she takes me to manufaktura, a sparkling complex in the newest part of the city yet. [katsuya = philippe starck, manufaktura food court = ikea] but it's the only place in lodz where one cannot smoke, making it immediately my favorite place.

i head over to the festival to see viggo's ceremony (the girls went cr-A-zee over him) and his new film 'good,' which was shot by another of our clients, DP andrew dunn. immediately following, they hold an impromptu press conference on stage, which was fun b/c it's the first time i get to see andrew (tho i've spoken with him the last few years!).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

USC impact - parkour

so the documentary we shot for USC's news magazine called impact is now complete!

feel free to check it out directly on their site listed below. once there, click on the segment entitled 'parkour' and it will open up a new window (requires flash). thankfully no interviews this time, so you can keep your wisecracks to yourself...