So the summer season is basically over. Who landed on top? X2. I enjoyed Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, but for some reason it wasn't a blockbuster and is considered a disappointment at the box office. The Matrix Reloaded tried too hard, as did Hulk. Haven't seen Terminator 3 yet, but most everyone has been saying it's not bad. But no one seems to go over the line and actually say "It's good!" It feels like everyone expected a pile of shit without the involvement of James Cameron, and were surprised when the pile was smaller than they thought. But still, supposedly, shit. I liked 28 Days Later, but it didn't blow me away. LXG has been getting bad reviews everywhere, and you could pretty much tell from the trailers and the horrible way they've been promoting it that it was going to suck ass. Finding Nemo will at least save the day at the tail-end of the summer.
Oh well. At least Fall is coming up, so everyone's going to be bringing out their Big Meaningful Movies in competition for the Oscars. Which is both good and bad. You get genuine emotion in some of them, but others, of course, try too hard and deliver schmaltzy melodrama. Hmm… what am I really looking forward to? Kill Bill, which has now been split into two films. Return of the King. What else?
There's summer, which is devoted to Making Money. Then there's Fall, which is devoted to Winning Things. So I'm thinking, that dead spot in between winter and summer? Something exciting should be happening there. It would be nice if that were the period when exciting films emerged, with no hidden agendas other than to tell a great story, and deliver it in a kick-ass way. Genuine surprises should emerge from that period because it doesn't come with the expectation that comes from releasing in Summer or Fall/Winter.
It depressed me to find Star Mandarin gone. It's the first channel I go to when I turn on the TV, and I had completely lost track of the date, so when I sat down to watch TV the other day, it was a sad reminder. There was just a screen saying Signal Gone. Now it's some Australian channel. Thinking of switching cable companies, but I don't want to go back to the evil Sky.
Look at this beautiful picture:
Bigger version here.
That's a still from the upcoming film MirrorMask, written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Dave McKean. It's one of the films I'm most excited about. It was commissioned as a straight-to-video project and stars no one I know, but hopefully the impressive visuals convince the Jim Henson executives (who are producing) to give it a shot at a theatrical release. It would be wonderful to see moving McKean visuals on a giant movie screen. It began as a sort-of sequel to Labyrinth, but has become quite something else.
And here's another beauty:
James Jean is one of my favorite artists. His soft brush strokes, composition, and use of color are just inspiring. His figures are always interesting to look at, and everything looks so… cotton-candy. Yum.
Yesterday was another great Keka shoot. It was at Quark's lola's house, where he used to live. I hadn't been there since the night of the Rage Against the Machine concert. Before that, maybe grade school. It's a fascinating house, the structure's almost maze-like. Must've been great when they were kids. His lola's so cool. She's very animated and lively. She does these magnificent jigsaw puzzles, the heavy-duty kind that go from 1000 to 15000 pieces. Some of them are framed, like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the dining room that took 6 months. Some of the crew were admiring the one she was working on now. She has processes: start with the edges, work inwards. Group colors and shapes together. Proceed with caution. Neva and I spoke to her for about 15 minutes, asking stuff like was she interested in puzzles as a child (No, it only started in her old age as a hobby). Neva mentioned she'd always wanted to try one of these daunting puzzles, and Quark's lola went to a cupboard, opened it, and showed us boxes and boxes of completed jigsaw puzzles. She couldn't frame them all, she said, because they'd run out of wall space, but she didn't have the heart to break them after completing them so she just left them in the boxes. She told Neva to pick one and take it with her. She was even offering one to me but I declined and said I didn't have the time anyway. What a sweetheart.
It was Vhong Navarro's last day. He was a real stand-up guy, and his improvisation is incredible. He might have difficulty remembering his lines sometimes, but his attitude as an artista is solid. I hope he remains modest as his star continues to rise.
It was good for me because I had such a shitty Wednesday. A bit of family problems, coupled with weird body exhaustion, ending with slight paranoia. Horrible, horrible day.
Big Thing is being revised. We're going to submit a second draft soon, but not sure when. Some of the requested changes were, as expected, ridiculous, and will promptly be ignored. Some were already being worked on by us. Others, we can't avoid, so the nature of the project is turning into a bit of a beast and I can't say that my excitement about the project hasn't waned. It's a fucking damn shame, too, because for a while there everything was looking good. Even had a director who would know how to do it. These things continue to change all the time, so I don't think I'll be announcing much until sometime when they're editing, maybe. Recent political factors have come into play (where is the money coming from?, who wants to appear in the film?) that worry me. Hopefully we'll be able to figure out a way of salvaging what we've already worked on.