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Sunday, October 7th, 2007
11:25 pm - Movie pet peeve number 17!!
I hate-- HATE-- when action scenes are over-edited.

I finally saw The Bourne Ultimatum tonight. I thought it was good, but could've been way better if some trendy fucking pussy hadn't cut the action scenes to shit and back. Assface-- it doesn't make them more exciting, it robs them of any sense of space and continuity. It's no longer an action "sequence", it's a series of seemingly unrelated still shots. You might as well not watch until the end of the "sequence", because it's all incomprehensible until then. Ultimatum was worse than many other offenders in this regard-- not only were there too many cuts, but a lot of them were to dark, close shots. Ooooh!!! You can really feel the impact of that punch from that close in shot of the guy's elbow. In a black leather jacket. In a poorly lit room. Wow!

Think back to the first Matrix-- the camera lingers, cool shit happens and you get to watch it, and you don't give a fuck about the fact that the central philosphical "epiphany" was one that usually occurs in 9th grade, because it's just an excuse for why all this cool shit can happen. Think about the sequels-- well, don't. They're ass on wheels. But think about their action sequences-- the camera cuts too often, and the action has no chance to redeem the "story."

It's part of what made Jet Li movies great-- at least, the older ones. I haven't seen much of his later, more American stuff. But in his better stuff, the fight scenes flow. There's painstaking choreography, and you get to see it.

The first Bourne was pretty good about this, too. I don't have a copy handy, but go back to the scene where he overpowers the guards at the embassy, near the beggining. Bourne does this quick, fluid thing to one of the guards, and it begs for a rewind and a slow-motion re-watch. The action scenes in Ultimatum beg to be fast-forwarded.

To see it done right, nearly perfectly, look at Children of Men. The story, though potentially fascinating (I really want to read the book, actually, were the story is hopefully more fully developed), really falls by the wayside. But jesus-- it's so well shot, with those loooooong takes (some, apparently, stitched together via computer)-- the ambush scene, the battlefield scene leading into the building scene-- that you might barely notice the inadequacies of the story telling.

Then think about Ultimatum, part of what is probably the best action franchise of late. For an action movie, it's a very compelling character-- extraordinairly well played by Matt Damon-- and a strong premise.

Just imagine what a great movie it could've been if the kind of loving care evident in the camera-work and editing in Children of Men had been applied to Ultimatum.

Or hell-- even just the apathy to leave the action scenes unedited in the first place would've been a massive improvement.

current mood: annoyed

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Saturday, September 29th, 2007
1:03 pm - My next big idea...
I was thinking about Dancing With The Stars earlier today. I've never seen it, but it strikes me as silly. On the other hand, though, ballroom dancing, at the competive level is not an easy thing. The folks on Dancing have a fairly sort time in which to train to a comparitively high level of proficiency. Setting aside that they're celbrities, that's a worthwhile and interesting thing to be doing. And, perhaps, to be watching. And not just because of the women's costumes...

So, I got to thinking about the use of celebrities as a gimmick to draw viewers in, but not for something ridiculous, as usually happens, but for something that has merit independent of the celebrities.

I'm not sure it's such a bad thing. Hell, maybe it's a good thing.

So, my next big idea (and some of you know great my big ideas can be):

Book Club With The Stars

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