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Oct. 30th, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid

It's almost here!!!

The full trailer...

Aug. 20th, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid



I've been waiting 4 years for the day I'd get too just watch the trailer for this movie. It could end up re-defining the very foundation of studio filmmaking forever.

The story’s protagonist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), is a former Marine who was wounded and paralyzed from the waist down in combat on Earth. Jake is selected to participate in the Avatar program, which will give him a healthy body. Jake travels to Pandora, a lush rainforest-covered extraterrestrial moon filled with incredible life forms – some beautiful, many terrifying. Pandora is also home to the Na’vi, a sentient humanoid race that humans consider primitive, but are actually more evolutionarily advanced than humans. Standing three meters tall, with tails and sparkling blue skin, the Na’vi live in harmony with their unspoiled world. As humans encroach deeper into Pandora's forests in search of valuable minerals, the Na’vi unleash their formidable warrior abilities to defend their threatened existence.

Jake has unwittingly been recruited to become part of this encroachment. Since humans are unable to breathe the air on Pandora, they have created genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. The Avatars are living, breathing bodies that are controlled by a human "driver" through a technology that links the driver’s mind to their Avatar body. On Pandora, through his Avatar body, Jake can be whole once again. Sent deep into Pandora's jungles as a scout for the soldiers that will follow, Jake encounters many of Pandora's beauties and dangers. There he meets a young Na’vi female, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), whose beauty is matched by her ferocity in battle.

Over time, Jake integrates himself into Neytiri's clan, and begins to fall in love with her. As a result, Jake finds himself caught between the military-industrial forces of Earth, and the Na’vi – forcing him to choose sides in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world.

The movie also stars Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, and Stephen Lang.

Cameron originally wanted to make this film in 1999, but special effects technology was too primitive and also had the movie budgeted at $400 million. It was when he saw Gollum in The Fellowship of the Ring that he felt the technology had improved enough to begin work. It's budget is listed at $190 million.

The movie was filmed using a virtual production studio developed by Robert Legato and newly developed 3D virtual cameras developed by Vincent Pace, which produce stereoscopic 3D images simulating human sight. Cameron has insisted that the film is not intended to be watched in 2-D, and was specifically filmed for IMAX 3-D. He didn't even want to release the trailer in 2-D.

The Na'vi planet, Pandora, was created from scratch. All of the flora, fauna, and creatures were designed and dreamed up Cameron (putting George Lucas to absolute shame in the process) and Weaver spent weeks studying it, as it pertains to her character.

It took Cameron two years just figure out how to film the movie's climax.

Cameron hired a USC language professor who worked two years to develop the Na'vi language, and had all of the actors playing Na'vi take movement classes to "de-humanize" themselves.

(from Wikipedia) ... In 1995, director James Cameron wrote an 80-page scriptment for Avatar. Cameron said his inspiration was "every single science fiction book I read as a kid", and that he was particularly striving to update the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter series. Cameron saw his story as being about how advanced civilizations supplant indigenous cultures, in either actively genocidal or more unpremeditated ways, and was influenced by the story of Pocahontas.

(from Wikipedia) ... In December 2006, Cameron explained that the delay in producing the film since the 1990s had been to wait until the technology necessary to create his project was advanced enough. The director planned to create photo-realistic computer-generated characters by using motion capture animation technology, on which he had been doing work for the past 14 months. Unlike previous performance capture systems, where the digital environment is added after the actors' motions have been captured, Cameron's new virtual camera allows him to directly observe on a monitor how the actors' virtual counterparts interact with the movie's digital world in real time and adjust and direct the scenes just as if shooting live action; "It’s like a big, powerful game engine. If I want to fly through space, or change my perspective, I can. I can turn the whole scene into a living miniature and go through it on a 50 to 1 scale." Cameron planned to continue developing the special effects for Avatar, which he hoped would be released in summer 2009. He also gave fellow directors Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson a chance to test the new technology. Spielberg and George Lucas were also able to visit the set to watch Cameron direct with the equipment.

Ubisoft has been developing a MMORPG, in the vein of World of Warcraft, that will only be playable with an HDMI output in 780-1080p (except for the bullshit Wii, which isn't HD) and a 120 Hz-capable monitor (for PC).

You might recall I made a post last month about 24 minutes of the movie screening at Comic Con (which I didn't see). As you can tell, I'm way fucking stoked for this.

Aug. 16th, 2009

I'm a gamer.

I, er... uh...

Tim & Eric Extravaganza!Collapse )

Aug. 12th, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid

Nerd Status


...that's me...

Aug. 11th, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid


Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus... the movie involves Ledger's character going through portals into three different dream-like dimensions. He died after completing all the scenes where his character is in our dimension--having traveled back to New York from England during his break from filming, where and when he overdosed. Gilliam was hit with an anvil, both personally and professionally, but managed to get Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law to help out. They obliged to complete the scenes where Ledger's character goes through the portal into the different dimensions, and they gave their salaries to Ledger's daughter, Matilda. So... Depp, Farrell, and Law are playing Heath Ledger's character. And, Tom Waits plays the devil.

Congratulations to Gilliam on avoiding another cinematic financial disaster. I've been waiting for this movie since before Ledger died... and certainly after I heard that the afore-mentioned actors were going to pitch in. I should mention that I've been a Farrell fan since I saw Tigerland (his first major film) some five years after it was released; and, you should be too. Though, if you've seen In Bruges you've likely been converted as well.

Jul. 13th, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid

One great film.

After Star Trek, it's the best film I've seen all year.

Damn if Sam Rockwell isn't the most underrated actor alive. Seriously, if you don't recognize him then check his IMDb résumé. This guy had the gall to show up Tom Hanks ten years ago and remains a completely unsung acting hero of the highest order. I love him. I love this film.

Fortunately for all involved, the Academy has expanded its "Best Picture" category to ten films... which means Moon will undoubtedly be included, if only for namesake.

NOTE: The 1:14 mark of the trailer only covers the first act of the film. David Bowie's son makes his directorial debut. Kevin Spacey "co-stars" as a latter-day H.A.L. 9000 (named "GERTY"). And, it was all done under a measly 2 million dollar budget.

Duncan Jones is definitely a filmmaker to keep an eye on.

NOTE: I'm still waiting for Cameron's Avatar (estimated budget: 190 million dollars).

Jun. 1st, 2009

Station 6: The Orchid

This. Is. Priceless.

Notice mark 0:43, when Mr. Mathers realizes he's about to get pranked on live television by the best in the world.

Mar. 27th, 2009

Full Metal Jacket


...'till Max said "BE STILL!"
and tamed them with a magic trick
of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once
and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all."

- - -

I don't use LJ for stuff like this anymore because when I used to, I let it get way out of control, but I'm just coming out of the worst 365-day period of my life and I need an outlet right now, so here goes:

My parents have been going through a divorce since my father was arrested and taken away on April 16 of last year. Now he's got a website up and he's doing radio interviews to try and not only protect his career as a political consultant but to to his damnedest to influence the looming court case.

The day after my dad was arrested my mother filed a restraining order against him for herself and myself. He had left his computer at the house and about one month after he was arrested I managed to crack the password on his profile (it was "X") and proceeded to peruse his hard drive file by file. I knew that what I was looking for would be on there and I knew I had to find it because my father is well connected politically all over California but particularly in the southland. Since then, the domestic violence case has been dismissed because my dad is legally acute and managed to work the system in his favor. I figured that would happen and so I absolutely had to find what I was looking for.

What I found was porn. All kinds. I found gay porn, lesbian porn, bestial porn, and I found the kicker: child porn. The first time I confronted my father over the porn I found on that very computer (we used to share it... it's now in state custody) was when I was in high school and it was basically the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of my decade-plus journey that saw me lose respect for him and completely lose all emotions I once had for him, my father.

To make a long story short, all of this has been going on for almost a year and it's gone to the next level in the last two months. He's sort of making a PR push. This is particularly effective because a PR push from my dad is the type that will go from a political radio talk show on to a congressional aide with a rolodex of lawyers and judges and so on. To give you an idea: The last two times I've attended court proceedings, my dad has been there with Tim Prince. Tim Prince was the democratic nominee last November who ran against republican powerhouse congressman Jerry Lewis. As the site I linked says, Prince served as Judge Pro Tem of the San Bernardino Superior Court. This is the very same court building that the divorce, domestic violence, and child porn cases are being heard. This is what you call having connections. My dad's lawyers have already managed to drop the domestic violence case and have now gotten a decidedly man-friendly judge to hear the divorce case. So, I'm watching all of this go down. I follow politics so I know who Tim prince is. I know what he looks like. And, now I know why my dad is bringing him to the court with him to sit in the back the whole time. He isn't involved with the case in any way, shape or form. He isn't one of my dad's legal counselors.

The slander he's been heaving on my mom and myself (basically depicting me as a slim and tall Artie Lange) has sort of put me in a lull. I haven't been on here much and have been neglecting people left and right. My father is the most violent, vindictive, arrogant, thick-headed, destructive, deviant, and possibly the craziest person I've ever known. It's been severely disheartening to watch all of this. I can only hope that the Microsoft Windows XP protocol that logs when files are introduced on a hard drive... I hope that ends up being the last unbreakable wall that keeps him from walking away from 25 years of domestic terror upon my mother, my brother, and myself scot free (you see, he's implicated in court documents that I, your humble narrator, put those pictures on there to frame him).

Did I mention, by the way, that he had 40 gigs of porn on his computer? Yeah, it wasn't all child porn but it was mostly deviant shit.

- - -

Anyway, the reason I posted this right now is actually pretty simple, almost disarmingly cathartic.

I saw this movie trailer yesterday. It's directed by one of my favorites, so needless to say, I've been waiting for it for a while (as have you maybe). I watched it yesterday and I cried. I totally cried. It was actually pretty embarrassing as I watched it with a few others.

A few hours ago my mom showed me the website mentioned above where my only father slanders me and her and lies about everything. She thought it would make me angry and felt I needed to know. Last month it would have made me angry. It would have made me absolutely livid. Instead, after I browsed the site I felt this... incredible calm come over me like it didn't matter, like it was out of my hands. I remembered the trailer, went downstairs and, while my mother was in between websites dealing with my dad, I told her to open a new window and watch this trailer with me as she used to read me the story as a child.

In my life, as crazy and ridiculously sad as it sounds, I've probably had only two or three moments where I really felt the power of love with either of my parents. This was one of them.


Mar. 8th, 2009

I'm a gamer.


The third Star Trek trailer was released. So far, it's the best one and further complicates my abilities to find a flaw in this movie. The music is what caught me in this one, written and composed by "Lost" composer Michael Giacchino. Of course.

Interestingly enough, in addition to being the first Romulan archvillain in the movie series, Bana's Nero looks to be the first empathetic villian as well. And, Trek mythos be damned, I rather prefer the rewrite to Kirk's bio. Also, back to the point that the filmmakers could have easily plugged that Simon Pegg is Scotty, but instead have relegated him to a sub-Harold & Kumar level since they've clearly pushed John Cho over Pegg's involvement. My summation: Smart move... it shows what you're trying to do. This, by the way, is my second most-anticipated film of 2009. My most anticipated film, can be found here, and you should anticipate a weekly update on this film in the near future, including an initial posting (and re-posting) of the teaser and the trailer... once they become available. I'll post an official list of my 2009 Movies to Watch probably tomorrow soon.

Also, who remembers the scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack's character laments how John Dillinger was sold out by his girlfriend in the back alley of the Biograph Theater in Chicago? Well, the trailer for Michael Mann's Public Enemies was released on Friday. The movie tells the story of John Dillinger, illegally gunned down by the FBI at age 31. And, apparently judging from Billy Crudup's character, tells the parallel story of the incident that made J. Edgar Hoover the eventual necrocratic head of the FBI to this day.

Michael Mann is one of the modern (American) masters of at least directing... and concurrently, is one of my favorite filmmakers. He happens to be directing Johnny Depp and Christian Bale this time around. What else do you need to know?

My Obligatory Ranking of Michael Mann Films

1. Heat
2. The Insider
3. Miami Vice*
4. The Last of the Mohicans
5. Collateral*
6. Ali
7. Thief
8. Manhunter
9. The Keep

*The Viper Filmstream Camera, a technology that allows for perfected digital motion capture--especially at night, as it allows for nighttime filming with "natural" lighting without deliberate overexposure (i.e. fluorescent streetlights as well as 100% natural moonlight)--was mastered by cinematographer Dion Beebe on these two films. David Fincher and Harris Sevides further expanded upon the use of the Viper camera in Zodiac. Now, it's essentially an industry standard.

Also, I can tell in the first fifteen seconds, and from at least the :22 mark to the :28 mark that he's using the Viper camera in this one too (a signature trait is the naturalized "live" blur, as opposed to that 24 f/s "splotch" blur you see in other movies [a fault of my beloved Superman Returns, as seen in the final shot, a Christopher Reeve homage], where you can't make out the iconic Superman smirk even though it's a cornerstone behind the philosophy of the film).

Я люблю экскременты

Live from Broadway, this Saturday

I like Will Ferrell.

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