Monday, April 14, 2008

In yo' face!

It's pretty technical, but here's an in-depth interview with filmmaking visionary James Cameron (writer/director of The Abyss, the Terminator films, Titanic, etc.) on using 3-D for his upcoming movie Avatar.  This is exciting stuff - not 'fake' 3-D, but real stereoscopic cameras (meaning two cameras beside each other mimicking what human eyes would see).  I'm not 100% sold on the idea that 3-D will be in most households 10-15 years from now (I think a similar claim was made during the 3-D craze in the 80s), but if James Cameron's onboard, this technology is doubtless ready for prime-time.  This is the guy who envisioned, and started filming for, the morphing 'water snake' in The Abyss when literally the technology did not exist to make it happen.   The way he dealt with that leap of faith (he hired a computer graphics company to work exclusively on this sequence, while other firms did other effects) has affected virtually every film since that has used CGI, and nearly every movie he has ever made has broken ground in one way or another.  Check it out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Junos Come to Calgary

Deyelle and I were at the Juno Awards last night, and had a great time.

There's quite a drastic difference between the Grammys - the broadcast of which I avoid like avian flu - and the Junos,  especially in the type of music showcased.  Over the course of the evening, we saw performances from country, pop, hard rock, opera, jazz, alt-rock, adult contemporary, and whatever you'd classify Michael Buble, and each was received with nearly equal verve by the screaming audience.  It was really much more of a celebration  of all forms of Canadian music than I was expecting.
I was most excited to see Feist, and her performance of the excellent 'Sealion' (which appears in two vastly different incarnations on The Reminder)didn't disappoint.   A funny thing came up during it: at one point, the crowd was encouraged to clap, and a woman who was doing a form of shadow puppets onstage joined in: we noticed that her clapping was half-a-beat ahead of us, which makes sense given the delay by the time the sound reaches us.  But Deyelle pointed out that, if we're all clapping to the music we're hearing, we're totally off beat with what's going on onstage, which must be pretty distracting.
Anyway, other highlights were Avril Lavigne's high energy 'Girlfriend', the Triumph tribute (although I wish they had played), and surprisingly, to me anyway, Buble - that guy can work a crowd like no one's business, and was even hyping the fans up during the commercial break from the dark stage, something no other performer attempted.
Russell Peters was decent, nothing exceptional but he didn't bomb either, and the show was wrapped up in a snappy two hours, significantly shorter than your usual awards marathon.  Apparently it was the second most watched Junos in Canadian history, so I'm glad it was a gooder.

And now, we can focus on the Flames' playoff run...