shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


headed through punchy, champers, scratchy throatville

Hello all...

As much as I like to talk about all this Hollywood stuff, I find the business side nigh on incomprehensible. (But then, I have no head for business, she said.)

However, a nice piece by Stephanie Zacharech in Salon today on how cinematographers see the future of film, and of digital video. A few paragraphs that comment nicely on some things that are being tossed around on my little comment board:

.... As a colleague of mine once explained it, the director's vision is the one through which all other visions are filtered, which is as good an
explanation as I've ever come across.

I suspect that directors get most of the credit for the success of a picture (or lack thereof) precisely because movies are such a collaborative process. Sometimes it's easy to separate the strands of who deserves blame or praise; but in many cases a great moment on film that we automatically give a director credit for may very well be the result of some sort of communication, spoken or un-, between a director, his or her D.P., a production designer, a costume or makeup person and any of the actors involved -- all of whom are working off a script by one or more screenwriters, who may also be on hand. And don't forget about producers, people whose degree of hands-on involvement in a picture can vary from not much to a whole lot.

It always feels corny to talk about the magic of movies, but cinematographers don't seem at all uncomfortable with the word. "It seems like magic to us, too, to actually do it," Bailey says. He compares looking at a finished film with what a composer like Gustav Mahler might have felt when he finally heard one of his complex, conflicted and infinitely layered symphonies played by actual musicians. "How awesome it must have been! In filmmaking, there are so many dozens, if not hundreds, of people involved in making a film who, in the right environment, where the producers and the directors give them the opportunity to really express themselves and put themselves into it, can create this incredible thing. When you go and see the finished film, it has an existence of its own, somehow beyond you. It's so much different than, say, writing a book or a play."

I like that. It's nicely put.

I watched "Desk Set" earlier, sadly with commercials on AMC (which is a misnomer much of the time these days--the other night they were featuring "Smokey and the Bandit 2"), and marveled at the sheer quickness of it. You know, Katherine Hepburn doesn't appear until most of her staff have been introduced? You'd never get away with that today, or with that many well developed supporting characters in a movie that's not an ensemble, but wow, it's invigorating to watch. I love the scene on the rooftop, where he's quizzing her and she isn't breaking a sweat (in fact, the opposite of breaking a sweat, literally and figuratively). The try for resonance with it later on doesn't quite gel, but it's a beautiful scene anyway. There's something that always works about someone surprising someone else with a brutal force of intellect in a scene.

After that, a walk around the block, which our scratchy throats kept short, then "Punch Drunk Love." I would have laid money on the fact of an Adam Sandler movie being physically unwatchable in all cases, but, I liked it. In fact, I liked it better than anything else I've seen by Paul Thomas Anderson. I didn't think it was funny, but it was sweet. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman yelling as the Dial It Up to 10 sex-line/scam/furniture store operator was hilarious. I'm not sure I quite buy any woman dating a man who she's only ever seen in one change of clothes (we're talking scent here, people), but it's the movies. Scent isn't a factor I don't guess. I'm not sure that the running and long passageway motif wasn't overdone in the visuals, but I'm sold on any movie with Hawaii and an earned happy ending. Oh, and a harmonium.

Got halfway through "The Haunting of L." today, which is quite good. And I'm trying to hurry reading that book and also hurry writing the YA book because Mr. McLaren has informed me that R'yleh is about to rise from the seas at any moment. Take heed, coastal dwellers.


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