like the restaurant battle in 'kill bill,' this sequence from 'bourne ultimatum' is pure, virtuoso filmmaking. i've watched this fist fight over and over again, trying to figure out the sheer number of setups in the sequence.
acclaimed editor, and editing theorist walter murch says that if you cut between more than 14 setups per minute, the audience starts to go crazy. i don't have a solid count on this sequence, but there are way more than 14 setups. i think the key is in the way one setup is cut into the next: what used to be regarded as ugly jump cuts are now commonplace. it is acceptable to cut between two angles that are close together. murch's theory comes from old school visual vocabulary where cuts must happen between contrasting angles: 14 of these in one minute would make your head spin, but in this case the myriad of setups are all close together, and the cutting happens between similar angles, not contrasting ones. each cut flows with the action, and though the cuts and the camerawork are frenetic, the movement of the scene is crystal clear because of the sharpness of the sound effects editing.
it's brimming with the excitement of something new, which means there will be many imitators.. so look forward to a lot of badly done shakycam and jump cut editing in the near future. meanwhile, greengrass' editor should be nominated for another oscar.
btw: if you're going to see 'ultimatum,' i reccomend you re-watch 'supremacy.' 'ultimatum' fits into it like a jigsaw puzzle piece - a revelation that blew me away with its storytelling audacity, and unwillingness to pander to the audience.
and so, the new haiku year comes to a close. laura and i wrote a three line poem for the last 365 days. we had done the exercise once before, during a year that encompassed leaving grad school and moving to new york, so it felt appropriate to reinstate it for this year of similar changes.
the first time around, i remember both of us felt great relief that the project was over, but this time i've been dreading the end for months now. not only was it a great creative exercise, but it has become the primary source of communication between myself and laura, as we lead our incredibly different lives.
so we've decided to continue it indefinitely. perhaps one day we'll both tire of it and agree to end it, but i somehow doubt it. it's an important chronicle, a journal that's easy to keep, and a reminder of where we've been. plus, at the end of it all, we will have the most amazing book.
i've also begun another project, for myself. i've decided that i'm going to learn all of shakespeare's sonnets, and record a short video of me performing each one. it will probably take years and years to complete all 154, which is exciting in itself.
will my acting improve by the end of it? how much older will i look? how much wiser will i be? so far i've done three. and i'm not cheating either. i have to know each sonnet cold. no cue cards or hints (i tried it, and you can see my eyes reading. it looks awful.) i set up a separate youtube account just for these videos. subscribe!
last weekend the roommates and i embarked on an amazing trip into the past.
first we watched the film 'space camp,' which definitively nails the 'kate capshaw is a terrible terrible actress' coffin shut. it's obvious that the only thing spielberg saw in her was.. himself. the film is fascinating to watch for several reasons: 1) it had such a profound impact on me as a boy. 2) lea thompson, kelly preston, joaquin phoenix, and tate donovan all got their start on it, and 3) terry o'quinn (locke on 'lost') has three lines, and hair.
the plot is so amazingly stupid, the acting is atrocious, and yet it taps into a childhood fascination with outer space in a way that still makes it (just barely) watchable.
take a trip back to 1986, with this amazing set of trailers, including one for 'space camp.'
the second wave of 'return to boyhood 2007' consisted of a jaunt to california's 'legoland,' yes, a theme park based entirely on plastic bricks.
last year i got david a ticket for his birthday because our early friendship (we were 6 years old), like the park, was based entirely on plastic bricks.
the target demographic for legoland is kids aged 5-12. i don't recommend it unless you possess the capability to truly regress yourself down to that age. fortunately, for the three of us, this was no problem at all. we spent a good portion of the day programming lego robots to pick up lego asteroids and lego astronauts.
the highlight though, was the scale reconstructions of entire cities in lego - including new orleans' bourbon street, which faithfully depicts the first gay bar i ever went to. how cool is that?
also in legos: the bethesda fountain!
i bought myself a lego artoo-detoo keychain, and a set from the new, totally awesome, anime inspired exo-force collection.
on the way home we had dinner in laguna beach. the people were disturbingly pulled from jcrew catalogs and reality shows, but the sunset on the beach was so beautiful.
so i've come to yet another realization: perfectionism is a curse. it's also a beautiful thing, yes, but it's mostly a curse.
the perfectionist goes to see a movie, the movie sucks. the perfectionist is shocked that such talentless people are actually working: talentless writer, talentless director, talentless actors. how the hell is this stuff getting made? why, the perfectionist asks, am i not working in the same field? i am at least as good as they are, hell i'm better!
and the reason is because the perfectionist has a petrifying fear of failure. rather than be less than perfect, the perfectionist attempts nothing, does nothing, and in doing so, never learns, never grows. perhaps the petrified perfectionist's only developed skill is that of criticism. and that skill, being so honed, frightens the perfectionist even more, because should they put work out into the world, that work would be dissected by others with the same fine scalpel they gleefully used to cut with themselves.
i've been here almost a year now. i think it's nearly time to take another big risk. one that would have me land flat on my face, but one that would have me put work out into the world, face the firing squad, get better, learn, and grow.
1 commentsPublished Wednesday, August 01, 2007 by j.
thanksgiving has been accepted to the long beach q film festival! (unfortunately, i will be in paris for my friend max's wedding when it screens in october.)
my dad's short screenplay, adobo, has been selected by the boulder asian film festival to be produced, and i will be directing it! they are looking to start production soon, so, uh, i guess i'll be flying out to boulder at some point. yikes!