Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Passion of the Teaser

The great thing about Apple's QuickTime video software is that (correct me if I'm wrong) it is the only mainstream video platform that allows you to easily 'scrub' through a video clip one frame at a time.

These days, when most movie trailers are better than the films they promote I like to head over to Apple's Movie Trailers page and step through some of them slowly. I like try to piece together the action - who is chasing who? - who has she betrayed - is Sharon Stone in that car at the start of the film or at the end? etc. until I feel I have some handle on what the movie is about. I find it fun but perhaps that's because I can call myself an editor.

A great trailer for doing this recently was for Syriana. It really had me foxed. Remember the case containing the missile? Well the trailer makes you think it is a bomb. Jeffery Wright, a Washington investigator assassinating someone with a sniper rifle? No, no, no - he was actually hunting a zebra, although that shot was very naughtily missing from the cinema release. It was a great trailer to try to figure out, (unlike something like The Da Vinci Code).

But imagine my dismay (ok rather delight) when stepping frame by frame through the teaser trailer for Mel Gibson's new pic - 'Apocalypto' (sounds like a nice cocktail...) - when I come across a single frame shot of Mr. Gibson having a laugh with some of his Mayan actors in body paint.

The question that springs to mind of course is 'Why is this shot in the trailer?'.

Most people seem to think Mel Gibson has bats in his belfry these days. Probably this is due in part to his passionate fever for the suffering of the Christ, but also because almost every time his picture is shown in the media - the photo editor always chooses the most manic one. See this example from the BBC no less - could he look anymore crazy?

So why does Mel appear looking a tad nuts in his own trailer? Simple. It's because he doesn't give a hoot. He's showing that he's reached such heights of artistic and commercial success that he can afford to make jokes like that. He's worth so much now it doesn't matter what he does. Even if Apocalypto bombs people will still pay to see whatever he follows it with. It will always be "Mel Gibson's Spot the Dog"...

Perhaps, at this moment in time he single-handedly has even more creative control than George Clooney does? But with all that money and freedom will he make a masterpiece? Will he show us what its worth?

Hmmm - the trailer didn't look too good...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pooper-scooper Poland

In the last few days the first undiffused rays of spring sunlight have finally cajoled temperatures in Warsaw to rise above 0C. Almost all of the great fields of exhaust-blackened snow have finally melted away to reveal nothing less exultant...

...than a city engulfed with carefully preserved dog dirt. An entire winter's worth to be exact. On my evening flight around the neighbourhood I was just about to take my first breath of fresh spring air when turned into a paved avenue that runs through a children's play park. Last week it was sealed in a layer of compressed ice but now it has melted to reveal its dirty secret, a testament to artistic capabilities of the canine digestive system, for about eighty metres 'solid' it represents a pantheon of perfectly preserved doggie deposits.

As the path has no official name I propose to honour it with the title 'Dog Poo Avenue' (perhaps someone can help me with the Polish). A sign could even be erected - at kid height please. But who would sponsor it? "Pooper-scooper Polska" perhaps?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

No smiles please, we're in Warsaw

Ever wanted to see how joyful Polish citizens can look after they've been treated for a nightmarish depression? In the last week or so posters have appeared all over Warsaw that purport to show you exactly that.

From the label:
Deprim has the remarkable ability to preserve your natural feelings of world-weary suffering and pervading sense of dissatisfaction with life - while radically improving your perception of the world you live in. Deprim has the power to make even a homeless drug addict believe that they are living in a soap opera.
As the model in the picture (and no doubt wife of the distributor) exclaims:
"Now I can get on with my bitter life in style!"

What could it do for me I wonder?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Smoothly does it

I hoped to really focus again on my editing this week, but the 'boys' have returned to continue their Botticellian efforts to recreate the living room ceiling (that collapsed spectacularly last summer). I now imagine there won't be much of my idealised 'clean calm creative atmosphere' in the flat until perhaps after the weekend.As I write this I can hear the disconcerting wheezy panting sounds of a worker as he works to sand down the ceiling. Being Polish (and from the countryside) he refrains from wearing any kind of a mask or goggles, so every 20 minutes he has to go out to the balcony to have a good cry, a coughing fit, a quick swear and perhaps a cigarette.

If he collapses what will I find that's strong enough to resustate him?