Friday, April 30, 2004

"Now comes a document from the files of the Iraqi secret police, or Mukhabarat, dated March 28, 1992, and headed routinely, "In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate." It is a straightforward listing of contacts and "assets," quite unsensational until it comes to the "Saudi front," where we find the name "Osama bin Ladin/he is well-known Saudi businessman, founder of Saudi opposition in Afghanistan, had connection with Syrian division." Of course, this is not a smoking gun."

The always riveting Christopher Hitchens.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Could this actually happen? The Village Voice thinks so:

"With growing issues over his wealth (which makes fellow plutocrat Bush seem a charity case by comparison), the miasma over his medals and ribbons (or ribbons and medals), his uninspiring record in the Senate (yes war, no war), and wishy-washy efforts to mimic Bill Clinton's triangulation gimmickry (the protractor factor), Kerry sinks day by day. The pros all know that the candidate who starts each morning by having to explain himself is a goner.

"What to do? Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike. "


Friday, April 23, 2004

Slow motion is killing the movies. I enjoyed all three of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptations, but one of my pet peeves about his style is his over-reliance on slow motion. It was annoying here and there in Fellowship of the Ring, grating in the last hour of Two Towers, and had me ready to throw tomatoes at the screen by the climactic scene on Mount Doom in the last film.

Now, speaking as a professional video editor, I know there are places in a project or movie where a. you may have no choice but to slow down some footage (because there's so little available) or b. the dramatic pace of the situation would benefit from it. But to my mind, changing the pace in the quicker direction is more effective than slowing it down (I always liked Laurence Olivier's simple recommendation to one actor who was agonizing over a scene on stage: "Darling, try twice the pace.").

But to use it as consistently and thoughtlessly as so many directors do in today's market —whether for TV or cinema—is to vitiate the energy of the story on screen.

Mel Gibson falls prey to the same tendency (although not as badly as Jackson) in The Passion of the Christ.

Some day, I think moviegoers are going to look back on this tedious fashion the way we currently do about the tendency of old Hollywood movies to rely on montages.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

MPEG-4 is dead. Microsoft wins yet another battle in the digital media wars.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The April/May issue of Art New England has a nice article on the forthcoming DVD release of my production of Richard the Second (unfortunately not online).

Friday, April 16, 2004

Charles Cooper discusses the stupidity behind Real CEO Rob Glaser's ham-fisted threat to Apple.