Sunday, September 19, 2010

M. Night Shyamalan On 3D In Movies At 3D Summit

The other featured speaker of the 3D Entertainment Summit was famed Hollywood Producer M. Night Shyamalan.

In a rambling, confusing, and interesting 30 minute conversation about 3D, the industry, and how he felt the younger producers were being "forced" to plunge in and use this new approach to film making, the maker of The Devil, his newest film, went from wanting to use 3D, to not wanting to use it, to using parts of it in a film, to some place of still trying to work it all out.

As 3D Summit Director Bob Dowling said, content is king and good content is important in 3D movies. While presented as a film-maker who's innovative, Shyamalan immediately dispelled that idea by saying he's a dinosaur who cut Lady In The Water on film. "Technology is not the thing that gets me going. When I see other people that inspire me like George Lucas and Spielberg and Peter Jackson and James Cameron. They're just all so techy-savvy. It's the thing they get excited about. The dinner table dialog gets me excited. Just that I'm sitting here is like some alternate bizarro universe."

Shyamalan, who doesn't even know how to work his own computer, nonetheless, likes to take huge leaps, and that's why he wound up doing The Last Airbender.

Not made as a 3D Movie, The Last Airbender has been panned and the 3D effects called "laughable" by one reviewer. Shyamalan admits he learned a lot, and wished that he'd made the decision to use 3D much earlier in the process of the making of the movie.

The Message Of Film With Respect To 3D

Shyamalan said the World kept changing such that the question of 3D came up again and again. But he was not swayed by one movie made as a 3D movie and said did not like the pan effects, and so called Paramount and said "I don't know." Then he saw Alice In Wonderland, where 3D matched the story, and called Paramount back and said "scratch that last message."

It's that back and forth which marks Shyamalan's still-in-flux thinking about the use of 3D in his movies. One issue for M Night are the 3D glasses. The fact that one has to put them on, in his view, is an impediment to the film watching experience. If he wants to use 3D in some parts of a movie, then the viewer has to put their glasses on, then take them off, then put it on again is bothersome to him.

Plus, there's the problem of his aunt in Buffalo, who asks "Why doesn't the 3D come out at you more?" His need to explain the technics of 3D and worry that the audience expectations may not match what he's trying to communicate make him hesitate to fully jump on the 3D bandwagon.

For M. Night Shyamalan, 3D "is not subservient to the story, and that is the problem."  He sees it as more than "just a tool" but something that can take over and define a movie, and that observation gives him pause regarding its use.  

Oh, and don' forget about the glasses.

Michael Vick-Led Eagles Beat Detroit Lions and Jahvid Best

Once again in two weeks, Quarterback Michael Vick directed the Philadelphia Eagles to score more points than the opponent when he was quarterback, and this time gets a win. The Eagles best the Detroit Lions and a coming-of-age performance by former Cal Running Back and Lions Rookie 1st Round Pick Jahvid Best to win a close one 35 - 32.

The win now presents Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid with a clear quarterback problem. Quarterback Kevin Kolb, who Coach Reid made what this blogger called the dumbest trade in the World of Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, to make room for as the starter, did not play.

Kolb did not fully recover from the concussion sustained at the hands of Green Bay Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews last week, and which paved the way for Vick to replace him.

In two games, Michael Vick has 459 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Additionally, Vick has 147 yards rushing with just over 7 yards per carry.

Intangibly, Vick gives The Eagles a spark they just didn't have with Kolb. Ever. But even with that, Coach Reid, afraid to admit he screwed up, is sticking with Kolb.

That places Kolb in a bad place mentally. Kevin's got to believe the fans want Vick to start and not him. So if Kolb comes in, he has to not only play well, but win. It's not enough for him to play well if the Eagles lose, because fans will say the winning spark is gone. If Kolb plays poorly and the Eagles lose, Reid looks stupid. If Kolb plays poorly and the Eagles win, the questions still come raining down on Coach Reid and Kolb.

That's a terrible situation for Kevin Kolb.

To his credit, Michael Vick said it's Kolb's team. Vick knows he literally can't lose.

Academy News: AMPAS Says Oscar Red Carpet Drawing Ends Tonight

You can get a seat over The Red Carpet at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (AMPAS) Presentation of The 2011 83rd Annual Academy Awards by entering a randow drawing, right now at The drawing, which has been active for the last week allows you to be one of the select 700 people to be there live at the Academy Awards' premier pre-event, event.

AMPAS reports:

To be eligible for the random drawing, an individual must complete the application form in its entirety. Applications may only be submitted online. Forms may not be returned via any other method.

Applicants may register for themselves and one guest. Duplicate registrations will not be accepted.

Those whose names are selected in the random drawing will be notified in late September. They will then be required to submit additional information for security purposes prior to final approval. Eligible attendees will receive a confirmation letter in early January with information pertinent to the event.

Only those individuals who have been pre-approved by the Academy will have access to the bleachers. Those who wait overnight to attempt admittance will not be granted entry.

The Academy will not be responsible for securing travel and/or hotel accommodations for bleacher fans.

In previous years, as many as 20,000 fans have applied online for the limited number of red carpet seats.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Hurry up. It all ends at 9 PM PDT tonight.

Cal vs. Nevada: Keenan Allen Heisman Watch Week 3: 11, 194, 2 TDs

Keenan Allen in High School 

Cal's embarrassing 52 to 31 loss to Nevada Friday was hard to stomach, especially since it looks like Stanford's steamrollering people, having clobbered Wake Forest by an unholy margin 68 to 24.

Add to that, Cal seemed to forget that defensing against the Pistol Offense means taking away the inside gaps, but that's another story.

In all that, the Keenan Allen Heisman Watch takes a hit. Allen had just one catch for eight yards against Nevada; another one thrown to Allen by Cal QB Kevin Riley was high and intercepted; Allen was open.

Meanwhile, Keenan Allen's teammate Marvin Jones had 12 catches for 161 yards against Nevada, and has now outperformed Allen. Jones has a total of 20 catches for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Of his career 978 yards, approximately one-third were gained this season. At that pace, has Jones projected to gain 1,276 yards this year.

Marvin Jones for The Heisman? Maybe, but it Allen's a natural big play receiver that Cal should not give up getting the ball to. Marvin Jones had three seasons to get to his current level of play; Keenan Allen's already there as a freshman just out of high school.

Stay tuned.

Dinner Recipes: Old Fashioned Sloppy Joe's by Tina

Better have a bunch of napkins out, because these are delicious and messy!

In a skillet, brown
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, diced

When thoroughly cooked, add:
3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp mustard
1 can chicken gumbo soup
1 jar mushrooms
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flour

Stir over medium heat until warm. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over bread or on hamburger buns.

Cookie Recipes: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies by Tina

This is an old fashioned recipe where the cookies are chewy and soft. Perfect for an after school snack!

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix and set aside.

1 c butter
1 c peanut butter

Beat until fluffy and add:
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix well and pour in dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoons on to cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork to make crosswise pattern on top of cookie. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

Snooki Makes $20K For Walking by Tina

Snooki is getting paid $20,000 each times she walks down the red carpet. Can you believe that? Every time Snooki goes to an event, say the VMA Awards or some other product release or movie release, she makes a cool $20K. How's that for hardly doing any work!

Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are also stars who can make that much money for appearances...but to just appear and walk down the red carpet? I'm not sure Lindsay or Paris can command that kind of money now with their legal troubles.

ON top of each $20K for walking a few yards, Snooki is reportedly getting $30K per episode of being on the Jersey Shore. That's a lot of money to get paid to drink and party. Bummer for them, huh?

M. Night Shyamalan On His New Movie The Devil

First, let's get this out of the way: M. Night Shyamalan is a very nice person. He's painted by some as self-important and a bit snobby, but this blogger saw none of that at the 3D Summit. Even though pressed for time, M. Night stopped to address to questions about his movie The Devil.

Shyamalan says the concert has been in his head for some time. But it wasn't until he was able to strike an agreement with Drew and John Erick Dowdle to direct it that the project set sail. While they have really only one film, called The Dry Spell, under their belt until now, the pair were Shyamalan's choice to work on The Devil.

Shyamalan says to see The Devil because his take on The Devil is "unique."

Stay tuned.

3D Movie Industry Analysis By Screendigest's Analysts at 3D Summit

One of the highlights of the recently completed 3D Summit at the Hilton Universal City, CA, was the presentation of the "State of the 3D movie industry" by Charlotte Jones and Helen Davis Jayalath of Screendigest, the media analysis company.

While based in London, Screendigest serves as a consultant to several Hollywood studios. Their work is highly regarded in the movie industry.

Avatar's Giant Footprint

In their talk, which was split between Charlotte Jones discussion of the movie industry, and Helen Davis Jayalath's presentation of the inpact of demand for Blue Ray DVD, we learned just how incredible the impact of James Cameron's epic 3D movie Avatar was on the overall industry.

Avatar's the 900-pound gorilla in the room. The $2.7 billion in revenue the movie gained is the lions's share of overall 3D movie revenue for 2009-2010. Avatar's success caused the green lighting of far more new 3D titles, an estimate of 60 in all, between 2009 and present day.

What's interesting to this blogger is how the 3D movie industry would look without Avatar. The point is, Avatar's success is causing Hollywood to do what it does best: overreact to a perceived trend. The vast majority of 3D titles were 2D to 3D conversions, many done such that the dual image matching was so poor it would give you a headache.

By contrast, Avatar was not a conversion process.  It's the movie type some studio heads prefer, but fail to mention that Avatar costs $500 million to make.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg talks about Avatar, but fails to mention its cost:

Studios Shy On Blue Ray 3D

The video is a summary of the excellent presentation by both Ms. Jones and Mrs Jayalath. Helen says that the main problem with Blue Ray currently, is that there aren't enough 3D titles on Blue Ray to set up a future demand for viewing sets that allow one to see the 3D titles. (Helen also expands on this in her research doc called Studio caution may stymie 3D, Blu-ray's potential killer app.)

You can learn more about Screendigest at its website