Soderbergh's Schizopolis.

Irreverent. Brilliant. Pointed. A portrait of an artist as a young man.


“A movie has to have a great opening. It must command attention…You don’t ever want to open a play at the top of your bent. But a movie should open at the top of it’s bent, it must, because this damn thing (points to the screen) is dead. The only living thing are the people sitting out here. It's a projected image, and you cannot bring the thing alive unless you seize the people at the beginning. The riderless horse has to come in.”

Orson Welles


Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine died at the age of 95. He was still a working actor. Often people like to flap their lips about who is up and who is down in Hollywood and they cynically go about talking about who's hot and who's not. What they forget about is that these are people living their lives trying to make a wage and pay for the other things in life like, say, family. The crown jewel seems to be crowned an icon like Brando. The other side of the coin is the journeyman who tries to find fun and interesting projects, and if that isn't sufficient, a pay check. It's great to pontificate about the giants of the industry but they are so few. The others, players behind the scenes and in front of the camera are trying to put together a decent living and trying to enjoy the process. Fame is bullshit.
Ernest Borgnine is famous but I am sure most of my film students never heard of him. Some will discover him in various films and television reruns. In the end, this is the life of a creative person. He worked hard. He didn't need to be Brando. He was a great talent and left a body of wonderful work. Whether or not it's seen or revered doesn't matter. He added to a great tradition of talent and inspiration and he lived and worked to the age of 95. Who can have a better life than that?


DSLR Cinema.

I was reading Roger Ebert's review of 'Act of Valor' and found this passage very interesting:

Yet the movie can be discussed on another level. In the same week I saw "Act of Valor," I also saw an extraordinary film named "Hell and Back Again." It's one of this year's Oscar nominees for best documentary feature, and will open in many markets on the same day as "Act of Valor." It is about a real man, Marine Sgt. Nathan Harris, and his real wife, Ashley. Harris led men in combat in Afghanistan. Shortly before the scheduled end of his six-month tour, a sniper's bullet entered his right buttock, shattered his hip socket and bounced back to destroy leg bones. He's quite willing to show people the entry scar and describe how he has two rods filling in for bones. 

I know both of these films history well as I have owned a Canon 5d Mark II for a few years. 'Act of Valor' uses the 5D extensively. Dafung Denis was a still photographer embedded and he used the video capabilities of the camera in it's infancy. I only acknowledge this because I have conversations with industry people who fight back and forth over pixels and formats and resolution. What camera is better? The RED is so much better than the 5d. The Alexa is better than everything. 35mm is the king. Etc and so-on. Yet, Roger Ebert, a life-long critic of films doesn't bat an eye. 'Act of Valor' gets two and a half stars on the merit of story (he even mentions how good it looks). 'Hell and Back Again' is 'extraordinary'. Both films shot with the same camera that he doesn't even acknowledge and rightfully so. The camera doesn't make the a film bad or great. It's a tool and the content is king. Filmmakers need to focus more on story and less on technology. It will win out every time.