The Games

_MG_4995So I finally have some time to sit down and write about what I’m doing.

So we had this party that was definitely not the party it should have been given what happened earlier in the day.  We started the biggest party I’ve ever been a part of on a down note, with the death of the Georgian Luger.  Given the commentary around his death, I don’t think it would be fair to call it an issue of either track or skills of the competitor.  What happened can’t be undone and it happened so quickly that none of us were prepared.

The opening ceremonies was a good effort by DAE, they had produced the opening and closing in Doha and having worked with them previously it was nice to see them build on what I know they are already capable of and given the challenges they were presented the look and feel of the opening was done quite well.

The highlight for the night for me was KD Lang’s rendition of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah".  It was haunting and sent chills down my spine as to how good it was.  Between that and the audience lighting the look and feel of the song was awe inspiring.

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One of the other highlights was a snowboarding trick that included a video opener and transitioned into a snowboarder jumping through the Olympic rings as snow exploded from them.  It was a good opening look and it put everyone in the stadium in the mood for a party.  Between the well controlled lighting and video effects to the excellent score that was put together, the production was done well.

The only problem that was seen from the audiences standpoint came with the all critical lighting of the cauldron.  One of the four pillars that made up the flame didn’t rise from the floor.  What looked to be a trap door problem caused the final of the four pillars to not rise up from the stage deck.  It was at that point my heart went out to the crew, we’ve all had something go wrong before in a show and no one likes it when it happens, but it’s made worse when it’s televised to the world.

 

RIFF Day 1 & 2

It’s time for the Rainier Independent Film Festival (RIFF) in Ashford, WA.  I’ve been involved with the festival since 2007, which I guess that means from the beginning.  It’s a great weekend away from the hustle of the city to watch some good, bad and ugly movies in the shadow of Mt Rainier. 

This year we started the festival with Spooner, a comedy that sits nicely in the genre that contains Napoleon Dynamite, Rushmore, and pretty much anything else Wes Anderson has done.  Spooner has quite a good cast, Matthew Lillard heads up the cast as Herman Spooner, an almost 30 year old still living at home with his folks who works as a used car salesman.  Part of the story has Spooner getting evicted by his folks on his 30th birthday.  A few days prior to his being kicked to the curb he meets the girl of his dreams, played by Nora Zehetner, on the side of the road.  What unfolds is a sweet as it is awkward, the girl Spooner meets is leaving the country to teach in the Philippines.  All Spooner can do is try and find a way to keep her nearby, only to find out that sometimes you have to travel to find what’s most important to you.

Hopefully the lineup tonight is as good as the opener last night.

Franz Ferdinand

Oh the ringing in my ears, the slight after taste of beer when I burp, the vein in my forehead seems to be getting larger and my eyeballs are showing me my pulse. A small price to pay for the excellent concert last night!

Franz Ferdinand was awesome! The band is tight, the songs were a good mix of new and old and the venue was incredible. We called on Monday to reserve seats, we already had tickets, but there’s an option at the Commodore Ballroom to reserve a table on the mezzanine level, which has a bar, servers and food. It was a great idea and our seats couldn’t have been better. We were center room overlooking the entire crowd with an unobstructed view of the band.

The Commodore is an old venue from the 30’s that has been kept in pretty good condition over the years. It appears to be an old ballroom, dance floor in the middle, bandstand in front and seating all around the room.

All in all, excellent venue and an excellent band!

The Dark Knight

imageHoly shit… My review is plain and simple for a reason.  I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but the ones who have will understand.

I saw something I’ve never seen before when it comes to cinema, well being the film geek that I am that says something, the performances given by the lead and supporting actors were so above and beyond anything I could have imagined and or foreseen I was speechless for a good two hours after the credits had finished rolling. image

Christopher Nolan, you are a genius and I’m sorry that you only got this one chance to direct Heath Ledger in one of his final roles.  Don’t think that I’m slighting Christian Bale or Aaron Eckhart roles, but I found heath Ledgers Joker to be so disturbing and fantastic that I found a level of satisfaction with the comic book hero genre of films that I had never found.  My hat is off to you Mr. Nolan.

On a side note, this is the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time.  So good that I have to go watch it again this weekend, only this time in IMAX!

Pixar is made up of cool

imageWent to see Wall-E last night at the Majestic with S and I have to go see it again.  It’s not that I missed parts or was distracted, it’s just that good of a movie that I have a deep seeded need to see it again.

Pixar revolutionized animation and they keep setting the bar higher and higher.  Wall-E is a prime example as to why Pixar is in charge of animation and everyone else is scrambling to keep up.  Don’t get e wrong, it’s not just about the animation either, the script was fantastic.  Not that there was a lot said in the movie, but there didn’t need to be.  The humans are lazy and the robots do everything for them.  Hard not to side with the robots in this case.

Congratulations Pixar on another fine social commentary about consumerism / global warming / pollution, if the population out there can’t see what it really is then they really need to open their eyes. 

Turning 10,000

canon00001 In the last few weeks I’ve been working on taking more photos, what I didn’t realize was my camera was about to turn 10,000. It’s a joyous day when on my camera’s 10,000 shutter click it takes a photo of a half naked woman doing a burlesque show.

I’ve had this camera body since November 24th, 2005. I had sold my old Canon 10D to a friend and was upgrading to the 20D, of canon10000course within a few short months Canon came out with the 30D and then the 40D, but I’ve been very happy with the performance of the 20D over the last two and a half years. From the first shot I took  to the 10,000 last night, I’m happy with my camera and the only thing I have to worry about now is how much longer it’s going to last.

Photo Credit from the Seattlest

I was looking through my reader this afternoon and I noticed a great photo of the Dalai Lama from his visit last month.  Well look at that, it’s one of mine.  I love the fact that I can get my images out there for a bunch of people to look at.  Especially the ones I want them to actually see.

Thanks Seattlest for using the photo!

Calling Doctor Jones…?

indy4 Went to see the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise yesterday, I use the term franchise simply because that’s what it has become.  I laughed at the parts you should laugh at and at the end when the plot, that was so transparent it hurt, was reveled I said “holy shit they’ve jumped the shark!”  My best friend who was sitting next to me said “not only have they jumped the shark but they vaporized the shark!”  Right so you might have guess that I’m a little upset at Spielberg and Lucas for putting a movie together that screams “I want more money…”  I’m disappointed in the plot, the actors made the movie, but frankly they should have left well enough alone and said the third movie was a perfect ending to the trilogy.

Someone should remove George Lucas from a position to write or direct anything, he’s lost whatever respect I had for him and Steven Spielberg is heading there if he does one more fucking movie with aliens in it.

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Review – The Flyboys

So here I am in Ashford, WA, the Southwest entrance to Mt Rainier National Park, it’s the road to paradise and I’m watching indie flicks.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

imageThe Flyboys has been “released” so to speak.  It hasn’t been picked up  by any major studios and the writer & director, Rocco DeVilliers, has been touring the film festival circuit pitching and showing the film.  It’s a good bet someone will decide to pick this up, but at the moment Rocco will continue to travel around and show it to as many people as possible.  The plot is simple enough as it is fun, with little surprises it’s filled with enough fun that it should keep the audience happy for the duration.  In my experience with films like this they either loose the audience at an early stage as they’re trying to play down to the kids or play up to the adults thus loosing both audiences.  Rocco did a wonderful job playing to both audiences by balancing the heavy with the playful and keeping his actors interesting, although that’s not to hard to do with the cast of usual heavies he was able to work with.  Tom Sizemore, Stephen Baldwin, Frank D’Amico, Vince Cecere, who could be typecast as the usual suspects.  They do a great job playing, and I do mean playing as the two main characters are a couple of kids, Jesse James and Reiley McClendon actually get to have a air gun battle with Tom Sizemore, which I think was worth the price of admission in this case.

At the moment the director is touring around the festivals trying to get as many people to see Flyboys while trying to find a way to distribute it in a more sensible fashion.  If you see it coming to a town near you give it a shot and you might be as surprised as I was.

Reviews – Four Brothers

I just watched Four Brothers, not my usual fare, but I decided what the hell I have Netflix so I might as well take advantage of the three movies at once thing.  Let me say this, I’m disappointed in Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Josh Charles and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Can’t you boys do better then this John Singleton bullshit?  I mean really y’all are better then this, I know it.  I’ve seen you do better then some crap movie that has no plot other then someone gets popped and y’all go out and try and get revenge on those who did it.  I’ll mention the plot once more since there really wasn’t one and if I reveal it here it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, or at least no one that matters.  This plot is so thin and over used, really, if I see one more crap movie made with this plot I think I might need to rent a tank and blow up Hollywood.

I won’t get the last two hours of my life back….  That’s how I feel about this movie.  I’m half tempted to burn the disc just so I can save someone else from watching this piece of trash.