Saturday, October 21, 2017

Columbo and Jessica

I've been on a mystery kick for the last few weeks, watching Columbo and Murder She Wrote reruns on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel. I'm freaking out at Columbo's deceptive brilliance and Jessica Fletcher's classy detective work.

Columbo aired from 1971 to 2003.

Murder She Wrote aired from 1984 to 1996.

Columbo's glass eye is super cool. He wears a raggedy trench coat, smokes a cigar and drives a French Peugeot. He has dog named "Dog" and he's always talking with affection about his wife, who never appears on the show. (Reminds me of Fraiser - no one ever saw Maris). 

As a homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, Columbo doesn't appear on the scene until after the murder has taken place. This first half hour shows the murder, the motive and how the murderer covers up the crime. When Columbo arrives on the scene, the audience already knows who the killer is, but the fun is seeing Columbo put the clues together and outsmart the murderer, who totally underestimates the unassuming detective.

As for Jessica,  an amateur detective who also writes mystery novels, she always happens to be in the right place when a murder is committed. She hails from a small sea coast town in Maine called Cabot Cove. A murder usually happens when Jessica is visiting her nephew, Grady, or one of her many friends. She discovers clues along the way that lead to the murderer's identity and the motive. 

Watching these old TV shows, I get a kick out of seeing well-known actors is guest roles. George Clooney, Bryan Cranston, Linda Hamilton, Wayne Rogers, John Astin, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Robert Vauhgn, Anne Francis, Tyne Daly, Vera Miles, Lee Grant, Faye Dunaway, Ruth Gordon, just to name a few.

I've become a fan of detective shows and I'm glad these classic TV shows are still around. Do you have any favorite TV detective shows? (And don't even get me started on "Sherlock"! I'm a Superfan!)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Longmire: It is what it is

Just finished a Netflix binge-watch of Longmire. The new season starts next month and I wanted to refresh my memory. 

Like all Longmire season endings, this one left us with a cliff-hanger. 

Malachi Strand and his henchmen left Henry Standing Bear tied to the ground facing the sun on the Crow reservation where "no one can hear him scream." 

Vic is pregnant.

Cady shot a white man on the Rez and has been adopted into the tribe.  

And Sheriff Walt Longmire is facing a civil suit for the unlawful death of Barlow Connally. If he loses, his land will be taken and used for a resort.

So you see, there's a lot going on and I'm waiting to see how all this works out. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Audrey Hepburn in Burlap

I became a fan of Audrey Hepburn when she appeared in My Fair Lady (1964). I didn't see the film when it was first released (I was only 7 years old then), but it played at our local cinema in 1971 when I was 14 - and at that age Audrey Hepburn made a lasting impression on me. 

The film was spectacular - glorious setting, costumes, music. I was mesmerized. So what if Audrey didn't actually sing. She lip-synced beautifully. It was magical. As a result, Audrey charmed herself into my heart wherein she still resides (forgive my flowery language, I've just finished reading Jane Eyre). 

Over the years I'd seen her more popular films, Roman Holiday (1953) with Gregory Peck, Sabrina (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, and of course Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - her signature film.

In each of these films it was a delight watching her. She's not the best actress, but the camera loves her. She is a fashion icon and always appeared elegant and stylish. I had always thought, "Audrey Hepburn is so stunning, she would look beautiful in a burlap sack!" 

Little did I know that she actually appeared in a film wearing a burlap sack! The film was Green Mansions (1959) with Anthony Perkins. Audrey plays the part of Rima, a beautiful, mysterious girl that lives in the jungles of Venezuela. And she wears the same hideous burlap sack through out the film. 

I don't know why anyone would think this was a good role for Audrey. People want to see her in beautiful clothes, acting pert and complicated and spunky. Not slithering around in a burlap sack wearing a long-haired wig. 

As for the film itself, it is the absolute worst on every level. Fake sets, boring script, lame plot. Audrey is not the best actor, so she had absolutely nothing to work with to make it even the slightest bit interesting. The only good thing about it was seeing Anthony Perkins, who did a fairly good job. But every time I saw him on screen I thought, "Norman Bates in the jungle."

So glad Audrey didn't do another burlap sack movie!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Binge Watching and Other Random Thoughts

Binge watching has become a thing. Who would have believed something like this could be possible...watching a TV show that typically would have taken years to watch on "regular" TV and now you can see entire seasons in a matter of weeks (or even days). 

Back in the 80s when we got our first VCR, it was mind-blowing thinking that you could watch almost any movie you wanted whenever you wanted. 

Special effects on TV shows have become equal in quality to feature films and are more cinematic than ever. 

This TV evolution is somehow effecting society, but I can't put my finger on exactly how. It seems that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter...people want what they want right NOW! There is no this attitude leaking into other areas of life? 

Perhaps this "computer age" is triggering a retro movement. People want to create things with their hands, they want to read a real book, write on real paper, build real things, unplug from the Matrix. I have seen it both ways, and while I enjoy the high-tech life, I'm finding that I'm deriving more pleasure from the simple things.  

I'm checking out books at the library instead of downloading a book on my Kindle. I'm drawing with paper and pens rather than creating on an ipad. I'm even watching the old movies, which lately are better by far than anything coming out today in the movie theatre.

One good thing about the tech age we live in - anyone can be a filmmaker. With a computer and a video camera (or even a cell phone), films can be made and there is an audience. The power now belongs to the people, not just the filmmaking elite. That is a good thing. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Episode 6 - Post Production

Welcome to the final segment of the series. 

Post-production is what to do after shooting is completed. 

1) Editing software - I use Sony Vegas Movie Maker, but there are many other video editing programs. Good films have been created just by using a phone. Today everyone can make movies, which is a good thing!

2) Music - Whether to use music or not depends on what kind of film you are making. Music effects the mood of the film. Even no music at all sends a message. Just be sure to have copyright permission unless you are creating your own music.

3) Credits - Give credit to actors, tech crew and anyone else who contributed to your film, whether through time, talent or finances. Be thankful. Film is a collaborative can't do it alone.

4) Promotion - In today's social media universe, your film can be viewed by anyone. Start a YouTube or Vimeo account and get involved in the filmmaking community.

5) Contests - Check out the various short film festivals and contests. This is another way to get your film seen and to network with the filmmaking community.

Now start making your film! Ready, set, GO!