Earlier today I was sent a seven-year-old Coen Bros. draft of Gambit, and I’m guessing it’ll probably end up being reasonably close to the shooting version because the Coens don’t usually write sloppy-ass, not-quite-there, tossed-salad first drafts.
If I was looking to present a genuinely favorable impression of an about-to-open 20th Century Fox film, I probably wouldn’t run top-of-the-ad quotes from Fox TV’s Jake Hamilton (out of Houston) and Fox TV’s Kevin McCarthy (out of Washington, D.C.), who are basically affable junket guys. I would have led instead with the blurb by MSN’s James Rocchi (“a gorgeous romantic tale full of live, love and beauty”), who brings top-tier cred and integrity.
Water for Elephants opens on Friday, 4.22. It’ll screen on Wednesday.
I’ve been hearing for years about technology that can break down the sound of a person’s voice into an array of vowels and consonants and digitally assemble them and make that “voice” say anything. I was hearing about this 15 or 20 years ago. Roger Ebert’s talking “Alex” is cool for what it is, but he needs to sound like himself. There are thousands of hours of tape of him talking. It can’t be that hard.
Since buying an iLIVE sound bar for $130-something and hooking it up to the 50″ Vizio, I’ve been very pleased by the added volume and the increased bass and treble tones. Then it suddenly hit me last week that the Bluray sound is ever-so-slightly out of synch. The sound arrives just a tiny bit late. People’s lips move a split second before you hear them speak, and it’s terrible.
Once you’re attuned to this tendency it becomes impossible to watch a film. All you can do is study lip movement.
So I unplugged the soundbar and it appears that without it the problem has reversed itself. The TV-speaker sound, generated by a Samsing Bluray 5700, is now arriving a split-second early — you hear the word and a half-instant later the lips move. Am I losing my mind? Maybe I am. I know for sure that this problem is pushing me in that direction.
I called the Samsung tech people and was promised that some guy would call back to help with a download that might fix things. Then I called a freelance tech guy and he said it’s probably the the fault of the soundbar and the cords connecting the soundbar to the TV output jacks. And that the cost of fixing things would be about $350 or so, and that’s just equipment.
The cords are probably analog, he said, and that slows down the sound transfer by just a bit. He said I need to use a fibre optic cable made by Toslink. And I’m going to have to get a Vizio soundbar with a wireless woofer, which will understand the impulse from the Vizio TV much better than that piece-of-shit iLIVE model.
Thank you, God. Thank you, life-in-2011. Thank you, iLIVE and the Radio Shack guy who sold it to me. Thank you all and fuck you all.
Variety‘s Richard Kuipers, filing from Sydney, has given Kenneth Branagh‘s Thor a half-pass, at least in terms of satisfying primitive action-flick criteria. I’m sure I’ll find reasons to hate it — where there’s a will there’s a way — but the possibility has been raised that Thor may be at least semi-tolerable.
The Paramount release is “neither the star pupil nor the dunce of the Marvel superhero-to-screen class,” Kuipers writes. “[It] delivers the goods so long as butt is being kicked and family conflict is playing out in celestial dimensions, but is less thrilling during the Norse warrior god’s rather brief banishment on Earth,” and will therefore “face a tougher time attracting viewers for whom this type of fare is the exception rather than the rule.
“With Aussie hunk Chris Hemsworth impressive in the lead and Branagh investing the dramatic passages with a weighty yet never overbearing Shakespearean dimension, pic [will] face a tougher time attracting viewers for whom this type of fare is the exception rather than the rule.
“As the living actor and director most closely associated with Shakespeare, Branagh may seem a surprise choice for such material. A childhood reader of the comics, he brings a fan’s enthusiasm and his skill as an actor’s director to the table here. Fitting Hemsworth out with a classical but never pompous British accent and shooting emotionally charged sequences with elegant simplicity, Branagh succeeds in rendering his mythological characters deeply human.
“While no fatal missteps are taken along Thor’s path to redemption, pic has a slightly choppy feel, as if it’s trying to squeeze an origin tale and at least part of its sequel into a single entity. Most of the material motors along just fine, though the editing occasionally seems a bit too hurried in moving from one dimension to the next. An extra reel of Earth-bound story might not have gone astray.”
The 3D pic runs 113 minutes.
Thanks to all those who sent along PDFs of George Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s The Ides of March, Eric Roth‘s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants and Steven Knight‘s Unitled Chef Project.
As long as I’m on a roll and people are in a giving/trading mood, I’m also looking for the following: Memphis by Paul Greengrass, Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Seeking A Friend For The End of the World by Lorene Scarfia, The Little Things by John Lee Hancock, Raw Knuckles by S. Craig Zahler, Inherit The Earth by JT Petty, Hypoxia by Daniel Silk, Gangster Squad by Will Beal, The Rite by Michael Petroni, and Goliath by John D. Payne & Patrick McKay.
“There is a specific kind of narcissism that the social web engenders,” writes N.Y. Times media columnist David Carr in a 4.17 piece about hand-held etiquette called “Keep Your Thumbs Still When I’m Talking to You“. “By grooming and updating your various avatars, you are making sure you remain at the popular kid’s table. One of the more seductive data points in real-time media is what people think of you. The metrics of followers and retweets beget a kind of always-on day trading in the unstable currency of the self.”