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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Scottish Can Be Sexy Too

And she has been holding on for too long.
And where will she go?
But don’t worry cuz I am leaving
And don’t worry
And your thoughts aren’t clear
And I’m thinking about you
And your brother won’t be found
And you’ve stopped
And you’ve stopped
And you’ve stopped killing

The Glasgow-based band The Twilight Sad are great guys to hang with and their self-titled EP is slowly becoming one of my most played records of the year sofar.

In a few weeks time (march 19th) Fat Cat will release their debut album called "That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy".

I'm not sure if the album has the same songs as the EP, but hopefully this amazing song Three Seconds of Dead Air is on it.

Oscars recap

Well thanks to the amazing TVU player we were still able to see the Oscar show and let me first say that for the best night out you should bring friends, a bottle of champagne, ben & jerrys icecream and all have a bet. It truly makes things fun and even the more tedious categories interesting since each wrong prediction could mean a defeat or a win (in our case the prize was a bottle of champagne and for the record: I won)

As far as the fashion police goes: I truly missed the real cute women this year (natalie portman?), so I have to say the elder women looked sometimes better than the younger generation. Helen Mirren is still looking strong at 60. Dress awards go imho to Nicole Kidman (although I woulda cut that neck noose), Helen Mirren and Reese Witherspoon. Worst choices this year would definitely be Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez & Jessica Biel.

And now then, I'd never say I'd say this but bring back Jon Stewart!! Jeezes H, Ellen Degeneres was dreadfully unfunny. Ughhhh. I only smiled once when she did that picture thing with Clint and Spielberg.

Funniest skit of the evening: Jack Black and Will Ferrell vs John C. Reilly

First pleasant upset of the evening was Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting Actor. I was so glad he did, although I had bet my money on the wrong horse (Eddie). But amazingly, Alan took it home. I can't believe he only comes under the big audience's radar now, what a fine actor and a great stoic speech:

Overall, it was great to see Dreamgirls lose almost everything! And the other results were really heartwearming as well, EXCEPT FOR Best Cinematography. I cannot believe Children of Men lost to Pan's Labyrinth!!!! Emannuel Lubezki did the most amazing job, TRUE SHAME!

It was great to see Michael Arndt on stage, even with a weird little cold voice. Little Miss Sunshine did better than expected I think, winning Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. There are no clips of this on youtube, neither of Bill Monahan's speech. I guess screenwriters aren't that popular huh. So here's a short clip of Arndt on the WGA awards. Also note to the academy: I loved your presentation of the screenwriting nominees, reading a piece of the script and then showing the clip. Please do this again, next year.

Meanwhile I loved Ennio Morricone's Italian on stage. I had never seen that. Eastwood didn't understand a word he said either I think but it was truly great to see such a legend get honoured.

Second upset of the night: Guillermo Del Toro losing to Das Leben der Anderen! Wowww didn't see that coming. I can't say whether it's for the better, Pan's Labyrinth is an okay movie but not the masterpiece they make of it and I havent seen Das Leben der Anderen. But good for Germany again, they're making the most interesting European movies anyway lately.

Also good to see old Road Warrior George Miller take a surprising win over Cars. I loved the first hour of Happy Feet way better over them silly race cars. Cameron Diaz however is one big dumb cow.

I almost forgot Robert Altman died during this year's In Memoriam montage. Love you Bob.

It was as expected but nonetheless I'm so happy for Helen Mirren & Forrest Whitaker. Whitaker should have taken it countless movies before, but although his speech was brilliant at times and honest, a little less God I could do with.

And then Scorsese off course. What a victory and what a wonderful trio to present. My highlight of the evening. I thought he was almost gonna cry when Schoonmaker thanked him and he seemed really nervous when the almighty trio were announcing the nominees but yeah, this wasn't going to escape him. Great on you. We were giving you a standing ovation here too Marty!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How To Watch The Oscars 2007 Broadcast Online!

Thank God for the internet again. Everyone who won't be able to see the oscars tonight through their local or national television, do not panic! You can see the whole show easily and for free through the p2pTV application TVU player.


1. Download the TVU player here. (i'm using the latest beta)
2. Save it to your hard disk, open the zip, run the setup and install.
3. Connect to the TVU channel 38474 which says "2007 Academy Awards" (EDIT: as of now, the channel is 51222, they are directly broadcasting from ABC!!)
4. Follow up any questions you might have on the andromeda forum
5. The schedule is as following:
17:00 (GMT): Countdown to the Red Carpet: The 2007 Academy Awards (E!)
23:00 (GMT): Live from the Red Carpet: The 2007 Academy Awards (E!)
01:30 (GMT): The 2007 Academy Awards

EDIT2: people are chiming in from everywhere it seems, if this doesn't work, you also might try next link:

HAPPY VIEWING and go Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed & Babel.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Still Very Essential.

You're still here? It's over. Go home.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kurt D'Haeseleer

Kurt D´Haeseleer does some amazing visuals for the new Tuk music video on the belgian (K-RAA-K)³ label.

Watch it here:
lo-res (16mb)
hi-res (61Mb)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tasting the stars.

There comes a time in every woman's life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.
-- Bette Davis.

Les anges débilles de Reims vous salue bien.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

There are only so many good ideas in the world.

Another amazing CS podcast, this time with Jonathan Nolan, the little and 40 pounds heavier brother of director Chris Nolan. Jonah came up with the idea of Memento, worked as a creative consultant on Batman Begins, co-wrote The Prestige with his brother and is now writing the second Batman installment.

I pitched him this short story I was writing called Memento Mori about a guy who has memory loss and needs to use the tattoos on his body as a roadmap and I said to him: ‘I think this is more of a cinematic thing, why don’t you see what you can do with it’. And then I went back to school and after three months he called me up and he’s all excited and said: ‘I finally figured it out, I’m going to tell the screenplay backwards.’ And I said: ‘that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.’

The way Chris and I work together, we don’t write drafts together. We tried that one time and it was not pretty. We tend to write sequential drafts and sort of bounce them back and forth. But we talk a lot before getting started.

Chris wanted the film itself to work like a magic trick. And I made all that “the pledge, the turn, the prestige” stuff up. There’s no magic history there.

The interwoven three act structure is something Chris did in his first feature ‘The Following’. You got snippets of each act, right from the beginning, and they were delineated to you, so you could tell where you were by the lead actor’s haircut and the amount of bruises on his face, which is kind of a nice device. The same thing to a certain degree happens in Memento with the black and white stock and the colour. In this one, we thought let’s try to have some fun with it. Narrative structure is I think for a segment of the audience. You can’t make everybody happy. Some people don’t want that from a movie and say ‘a movie shouldn’t be hard work’. Fair enough. But I think there’s an audience for it.

But Batman then kind of got in the way of making The Prestige. So we set the script aside for a couple of years, which is actually great. Because you come back and you have a real perspective on it. You’re always able to give it a cold read. So Chris came back to it and said; ‘what if we do this and do that’. The biggest shortcoming in my draft was the female characters. Every rewrite after Batman concentrated on really developing those characters and instead of using them as plot devices, a real flesh and bone quality, which hopefully is there in the final product.

Notoriously on Memento, we took it to the Venice film festival, and the Italians they make everything very fancy, you really feel intimidated the moment you get there with your crazy backwards movie. The Venice festival is well known to be a frank audience, if they don’t like the movie, they stick around to boo you and throw things at you. My dad and I were seated down in the middle of the main section watching the movie and we get to the end - Memento ends fairly abruptly – and the credits start rolling and we sit there for 30 seconds and there’s no applause of any kind and I turn to my dad and say: ‘lets get out of here’. And then people start clapping and luckily, it was a really well received film. And then we go to the press tent and Chris starts to spill the beans about what the movie means and what actually happened in the story. And when he finished answering questions, I sort of walked up to him as we were getting dinner, and I said: ‘you know, lets not do that again, let’s leave it up to the audience’. Because as soon as he gives out his interpretation, it becomes the definitive one. And later, we were sitting together with the producers and a bunch of other people and we were all having a massive argument about what the movie we just made meant. And nobody could agree with each other, which is quite fun. It’s either really bad or really good.

For years, I didn’t understand the concept of writer’s block. I was like ‘what’s that?’. And then I realized a few months ago ‘oh that’s every day.’ My thing about writing is that it’s like a lot of the best things in life: ‘if it’s not hard work, you’re not doing it right’. And I find writing to be a lot of the times agony. I’m lucky if I can get five good hours of work in a day. It often takes 10 hours of wandering around and yelling at people and eating candy bars and talking to yourself and babbling, that kind of stuff.

Christopher Priest’s book The Prestige itself invites you to mess around with time a little bit. But I think any time I work with Chris I know there’s an invitation to do that every time.

You also realize and I have done this enough now at this point with Chris to realize that a lot of the non-linear narrative structure is going to be changed in the editing room. There are a lot of things that you can do on the script and you can get the broad strokes in there but you are not going to be able to solve the problems that the director and the editor have got to figure out in the editing suite. So you have to build a kind of flexibility into it. The final cut of The Prestige versus the shooting script, there are substantial differences. Not in content but in structuring.

The audience is remarkably flexible in what they can absorb, in what they can process, in what they can put together. And there’s a fun in there as well, if it’s handled right.

There are only so many good ideas in the world.

My brother told me when I was first moving out here in 1999: ‘don’t come because everyone out here writes about the same stuff’. And that’s kind of true. But you just have to got with it.

To a certain degree the phenomenon that I have figured out is that when I’m working on a idea and I’m really excited about it and then you go to a movie theatre and you watch a trailer and it’s like ‘oh no’ and you get that awful feeling. What I figured out at this point is that pretty much anything that’s remotely similar to your thing elicits that feeling if you’re in the wrong mood. And then you need someone else to help you step back and say ‘dude what are you talking about, they are completely different things’. So you kind of have to fight that feeling.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Michael Arndt

Great podcast with Michael Arndt, on writing and going through development hell with Little Miss Sunshine:

I was writing scripts where everybody got killed and nobody wants to see that stuff. People don’t go to the movies to get depressed. I really feel happy endings are underrated because they are usually done badly and they are not earned.

People say I really put my characters through hell in Little Miss Sunshine. But I really feel that’s important. It’s not like they are all happy at the end and they’re all going to get along with each other. But they have gone through a real life-changing experience. Not in a way they have swerved 180 degrees but I really feel you do want your character to turn like 10 degrees and take one step forward. And that’s enough of a change for your characters to go through.

Little Miss Sunshine is the first script I wrote where the characters came first. That was a real lesson for me. One of the earlier mistakes I made was that I was doing plots that were too complicated and it doesn’t leave you a lot of room for character development. With Little Miss Sunshine, I decided earlier on I was going to do the simplest plot in the world and I mean it’s embarrassing how simple the story is and it is such traditional storytelling that it kinda makes me cringe but it leaves open a lot of space for character development and that’s where you get emotional identification with your characters.

So I think: don’t overcomplicate your stories. Simplify, simplify. Nietzsche has a quote: “it’s easy to make things that are big, noisy and complicated and it’s hard to make things that are small, simple and quiet.” So if you can, keep things simple.

I’m a big believer in outlines. I outline until I know what every scene in the movie is.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I spent my days with way too much bitchin'

But the thing that has always distinguished Cahiers du Cinéma from the rest is our principe of laudatory criticism: if you like a film, you write about it; if you don't like it, don't bother with tearing it to pieces. One need only stick to this principle.

-- JL Godard.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dolores updates his site Loves You And Thinks Of You When You Give Him Work.

Both... But Maybe Sunset fans may find their fix here as well.

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