Posts Tagged ‘CGI’

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Revenge of the Nerds

July 16, 2009


I know there’s a lot of people out there who go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs over The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I’m not one of them, and neither is Jim.  Watching 2003’s best picture LOTR:  The Return of the King was a bit tortuous for us.  We’re really not the fantasy film watchers at all.  And why did it seem like every scene the last hour of the movie  was like the last scene, and yet it kept on going?  I think that if I checked my DVD player there would still be some wacky elves and/or crucial battle scene going on. Honestly,  I really couldn’t make head nor tails out of any of these movies.  And we kept getting other CGI fueled fantasy movies mixed up with this:  Where was Aslan?  What’s Harry Potter up to now?  (Jim kept calling Frodo Harry Potter.  I thought he looked more like Debbie Downer myself).

frodo

debbie_downerHarry-Potter

They definitely could all be related.

Around in 2003 that could have or should have won: Mystic River (sure, why not?) In America (one of my favorites, brilliant film) Seabiscuit (Tobey Maguire, another Frodo relative).

Reluctantly I can sort of see why this one did win.  There’s a lot of film making going on here.  Even though I’m not a special effects fan, The special effects really are phenomenal.   Once again, the cgi-less crowd scenes in Gandhi seem like a miracle.  I really do admire Peter Jackson and co. for telling this tale.   I’m sure it’s  a lot better than reading the book (I read The Hobbit when I was in high school. Hated it).  And I do have a soft spot for Mr. Jackson because he appears in (the special features part) one of my favorite documentaries Broadway The Golden Era.  He was trying to get Fay Wray to appear in his upcoming King Kong remake.  She passed away before it could happen

Thanks to Roxane we now know what happens when nerd worlds collide:

For the epic dinner I consulted a few websites that really really like to eat elven food and decided on making Rosie’s Shire Pie and a Carrot Cake.

For the pie:

Rosie’s Shire Pie

1 pound whole mushrooms
1 pound ground sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 Tb. flour
1/4 Cup dry white wine
1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
1 Tb. thyme
1 teaspoon sage
Salt & pepper to taste

Clean mushrooms and cut into quarters.  Crumble the sausage & place in a large, deep pan.  Cook over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, celery, and carrot, and cook about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more until vegetables are tender.  Stir in flour and cook and couple of minutes, stirring.  Add wine and half of the stock, stirring and working out any lumps.  Add remaining stock and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low, add herbs, salt and pepper and cook 10 minutes.  Pour into deep pie dish or 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

The recipe called for a homemade biscuit to be baked on top of the pie.  I cgi-ed a bit and used refrigerated biscuit dough and baked it for 12-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

I also CGI-ed the carrot cake: I used a mix.  And canned frosting (I never do that). I did bake it in a bundt pan so it looked like a forbidden secret ring.  Preciousssss

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Soul Man

August 26, 2008

1982 was a great year for movies, really one of the best.  It’s certainly up there with 1939 and 1994. Tootsie, An Officer and a Gentleman, ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, My Favorite Year, Sophie’s Choice–all of these great 1982 movies, any one of them would have been a decent choice for Best Picture.  But this was the year of the great man and the great performance: Mahatma Gandhi and Sir Ben Kingsley.  This is the first time I’ve seen this movie, and even though I’ve seen plenty of films with Sir Ben, Kingsley’s performance here is astonishing.  He really is Gandhi. And this is, and I’m surprising myself because I usually don’t like epics,  a really good movie.  I really wish that we could all practice non-violence.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Sigh.

Director Richard Attenborough really makes good use of the 3 hours and 20 minutes–that is, it doesn’t seem that long.  You also have to remember this if before all that computer generated wizardry they use these days for special effects.  Those extras are real people.  And there are a lot of extras. A lot.
It sounds funny because 1982 doesn’t seem that long ago to me but, they sure don’t make em like they used to. The massacre scene right before the intermission? Unbelievably good film making.  Attenbourgh deserved his directing Oscar.

One of my recent favorite things while watching these Best Pictures is trying to find a connection between the films.  For example Christopher Walken appears in Annie Hall (1977) and then The Deer Hunter (1978).  I think I discussed the french toast scenes from Kramer Vs Kramer (1979) & Ordinary People (1980) before.  Now with Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982) we have the appearances of Ian Charleson, and he plays religious characters in both films and Sir John Gielgud. –incidentally Gielgud won his Oscar the previous year–for Arthur. Actually Gandhi is pretty much a who’s who of British acting.  Along with Messrs and Sirs Kingsley, Gielgud and Charleson you will also find Trevor Howard, Edward Fox, Ian Bannen, Nigel Hawthorne, Richard Griffiths, John Mills and….as a bonus….One of my old favorite things is spotting actors before they became famous.  Watch the following YouTube clip (please do this, it’s my first one I’ve ever uploaded and it took me forever to figure out how to do it) and pay attention to the tall ruffian.  Who knew that one day that handsome lad would win 2 Oscars of his own, and make drinking milkshakes kind of creepy.

It was a difficult decision about what to make for dinner.  I half-seriously considered doing a fast a la Gandhi but three hours twenty minutes is a really long time for us to go without food and we really enjoy Indian food.  In fact I eschewed the cooking duties because we are fortunate enough to have a really superb Indian Food restaurant, Indian Palace, close by. So we did take out:  Chicken Samosas, Tandori Chicken, Kadai Lamb (my favorite) some spinach rich and some nan.  So I cheated a bit.  So what.  Sue me, put me in jail.  I’d do the same thing again. And again. And again.  Until you see it my way.