Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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Punchy, Bleary, Fresh Out of Magic -- AND ALIVE!

Sorry I've been away for so long. I just served as Director of Photography on a film I co-wrote with my roommate. A detective story set in a retirement home, it's a project we've been talking about since Summer 2007, and we're just so effing excited that we got to do it for our thesis film. Of course, I myself have three more films to work on in other capacities after this, but for tonight, it just feels good to have completed production on a movie I wrote and shot.

And yet, I still found time to go to the movies twice!

Toy Story 3 is fantastic, first of all. It's a little short, so that there's little time to develop the large ensemble Michael Arndt and the Pixar team have created. That's a shame, too, because I'd love to get to know Mr. Pricklepants, Dolly and Stretch a little more. Neat thing, though: that's barely even a drawback. The film succeeds as both the end of a franchise and a transition between generations. There is a devastating and beautiful moment at the end involving hand-holding, and you could hear the audience trying to stifle the tears. This movie gets it, and for those of us who are still a little attached to our childhood toys, it's a touching reminder of what these "things" actually represent to us.

Also, Ned Beatty rocks. Not to short shrift the rest of the cast, of course, but don't we already know that the main ensemble is amazing? Joan Cusack, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn: great, great, great! Michael Keaton's Ken, also, is a work of genius. And can we please give cinematography Oscar noms to animated films? Or, I don't know, something to honor the lighting? It's too real. Add to that a great score by Randy Newman, and we have ourselves a fantastic, if too short, film for all ages.

Compare this to Jonah Hex, which was awful. I barely remember it at all, and I just saw it less than twenty-three hours ago. Michael Fassbender seems to be the only one who knows what tone to go for. Not just among the actors, either: the director, cinematographer, editor, colorist, VFX techies, even Marco Beltrami! Nobody knew what the hell was going on, clearly. I wasn't even angry. I just wondered why anyone bothered financing this, why anyone put this into theaters, why I actually paid to see it. I turned around at one point and said to my roomie, "My God, it's a TV pilot." That's what it plays like: A short introduction to the characters we'll be following throughout the series. On SyFy.

What I'm saying is, Jonah Hex sucks, Toy Story 3 rules, and I deserve a break.

2 comments:

Caleb Strul said...

It's true, Toy Story 3 was wonderful. I'm gonna take some time next week to see it again. Best thing I've seen this summer I think. I'm afraid to even sit down in a Jonah Hex Theater, but alas I feel a need to do so... since it's free. I hope you guys got a chance to see MacGruber, cause it actually turned out to be awesome. If I had to guess, that's the tone the guys from Jonah Hex were trying to capture. This summer has not been very strong so far, and that's sad for all of us, but we still have two months of stuff to come. Gonna take a gander at Cyrus and Knight And Day very soon, so perhaps something in those will pick up the pace... perhaps not.

I hear the shoot went great. Can't wait to see the final product. From what I've read I think I'll very much enjoy it.

TomS said...

Walter, I would love to hear more about the film you photographed!

Making a film is such a painstaking process....

Thank you for checking in with me recently.