Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Grilling, Photo Fun and Film Remakes

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

I allowed myself to be tardy this weekend. The blog was largely finished yesterday, but I still had to find links for some of the things I mentioned. It was a lovely day, and I was cooking and laughing with the Hubs. I hope no one minds.

Month of Fun – Week Three
This moth seems very long this year. I don't mind. To counter the torment visited upon me via e-mails from Cannes (Dragoncor Productions is still on the Cannes Market website of production companies. I'm getting lots of inquiries for meetings, parties, and the Monaco Grand Prix), I have been making plans for next year's Festival and Market. I've informed our partner and Jon that we will have a film to screen there as well. Jon is groaning a lot. I'm a determined lady. I'm also planning a long delayed trip back to Philly. My writing group beckons and it's been literally decades since we've been in the same room. That's way too long. And there are family and a host of friends we haven't seen in a bit. Unfortunately, we'll be traveling in August with all the humidity, but what can you do?

The Month of fun is going well. We went to dinner at one of my favorite places in the LA area, Bistro of Santa Monica with Matty Ferraro (Vincent from Blood Oath) and his charming companion. The food is very well made and reasonably priced. The restaurant is beautiful and they even have a pianist playing during dinner. Despite great temptation born of a long and stressful day, I did not have a couple of dirty martinis in quick succession then drape myself across said piano before Matty arrived. I also skipped the Carpaccio in favor of the amazing shrimp bisque. I wanted to have room for their decadent chocolate souffle with fresh Chantillly at the end. I made chocolate mousse last Sunday (very nice to have a big bowl of it about). Dinner was leisurely and delicious and a lot of fun. Matty is delightful company. We had a great time. The fun continued during a photo shoot for Blood Oath. It was pointed out to me by one of my readers that we were missing an opportunity to promote the series and the books. The cookbook would make an excellent marketing tool. I had recipes and anecdotes for the book. I'd even worked out the layout. But I had no cover art. Thus, we had Matty again dressed as Vincent this time, Jennifer pitched in to do the make-up last minute and Jon was re-dressing my kitchen to make everything just so. Silliness ensued. Matty brought along a souvenir from his last trip to Italy, an apron featuring Michaelangelo's David as a torso.. He wore one of mine as well. It turned out fairly well for something that was happening on the fly like that. And there was a lot of laughing. I'm particularly fond of the way Matty will strip down to his skivvies just because I ask him. Yes, I really love working with this group. Sometimes, it's nice to step out of the grind and remember that. The rest of the cover photos can be found on the Blood Oath Myspace page and my personal facebook page. Have a look and let me know which ones work for a cover.

The seafood extravaganza will be next weekend. I decided to grill copious amounts of meat for company Sunday. At this writing, I have no idea who, if anyone, is going to show up. No worries, I have vacuum seal food bags for leftovers. At this writing on late Sunday, we have had no guests. However, I enjoyed some lovely baby-back ribs. And I have some very tasty lunches for the rest of the week. Jon enjoyed his burger and potato salad and the fresh corn. My actor is burning the candle in far too many places before a major move. And I think Gabriel's latest CG movie scene got the best of him. He sounded pretty whipped when he called. I hope they get to enjoy tomorrow.

Pillow Talk and Editing Fun

Both are related to Blood Oath. Like love scenes, pillow talk is really different in a book and on screen. The screen is for action. Characters can't stay in bed endlessly talking unless an ax murderer is sneaking up the stairs or one of the lovers has an ice pick handy. It's especially difficult to have a pair of men endless chatting in bed on screen. Even in the novels, I had to be careful about what kinds of things they talked about and how they talked to each other. If they sound cutesy and domestic, it just doesn't ring right as between two men. In fanfiction this phenomena is known as Tupper talk. I tried finding a written definition on line, but there simply wasn't one. Basically, the term originated as a criticism of a story in which the men sounded like a pair of Tupperware ladies. I certainly don't work that from my living killing machines. Fortunately, Vincent is a smart-ass. He would be nervous about the newness of the situation. Thus, there would be awkward jokes. There is a sweetness to the scenes that – hopefully – doesn't drift into treacle. That was as hard to pull off as the love scenes. I'm waiting to hear from my Rik and Vincent if it works for them. Meanwhile, Jon is experiencing the fun part of editing when you get things you didn't expect (good stuff) and are missing things you did expect. Since the storyboards were based on what we expected to get, the story has to be changed to fit. This isn't a disaster. That happens when you get none of what you expected. Jon experienced that while making his senior thesis film. The changes can be made, but it will slow post down a little. Ah well, it has to be right. And despite the grumbling I'm hearing from across the room, I know that Jon enjoys this sort of challenge.

New vs Classic

As a fan of films in general, I can't say that I'm automatically opposed to movie remakes. I can really understand those who want to remake films that could benefit from better special FX than existed when the original was made. There are also different ways of relaying exposition and different ways of editing that could make an older film even better than the classic version. Personally, I've known it to happen that I really liked some remakes of films I admired. In those cases, I cannot say that I liked one over the other. It's just that I appreciated and enjoyed the newer version on its own terms. Sometimes, this has surprised me. I was a huge fan of the 1953 version of War of the Worlds. Loved it to pieces. I'll still watch it when it turns up on TV, and it still holds up for me, FX and character wise. Thus, I was most reluctant to see the Spielberg version. No, I was not a receptive viewer by a long shot. Yet, I found myself blown away by the film. It was a very different film from the classic, but worthy of praise on its own terms. I can say the same about the Ladykillers. Both films were highly entertaining, but they were completely different films from each other. Vastly different.

This brings me to the newest remake coming to theaters this summer. The Taking of Pelam 1 2 3 is one of my favorite films. I adore Walter Matthau, and I love Robert Shaw. It's not a film that would typically get my attention. Oddly enough, I'm not into the action thrillers unless they have a lot of interesting things going on with the characters. This film had that in addition to taught action, great suspense and humor and a phenomenal payoff in the end. I can't say that I was pleased to see the giant billboard over Sony studios heralding the remake with Denzel Washington and John Travolta. I fear that if a remake is bad, it's less likely that viewers will ever look at the classic. And one always should. But it's important not because older films are better. It's because the classic inspired the film maker who re-made it in some way. There was something that he or she digs that compelled them to do a remake. It can put the newer version in context, and that's worth the effort it may take to see it.

So, don't be like some of my colleagues over the years that judge all Robin Hood films by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. See The Adventures of Robin Hood. Though Will Scarlett (far left in the photo wearing red) is a little hard to take, there was only one Errol Flynn. Likewise, be sure to see both the 1955 version and the 2004 version of The Ladykillers; the 1953 version and the 2005 version of War of the Wolds; the 1951(snappy dialogue and wonderful sense of humor) and the 1981 versions of The Thing; the 1962 version and the 2004 version of The Manchurian Candidate; the 1933 version and the 2005 version of King Kong. Now, I haven't seen the new version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, but you must see the 1951 version. Likewise, I haven seen the new version, but I heartily recommend seeing the 1974 version of The Taking Pelham 1 2 3. It's a real treat.
The Month of fun concludes next week!

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