June 25, 2012:
Well, dear readers, I must write these here notes in a hurry because I must be up at six in the morning to announce the new Kritzerland title. So, let me just say that yesterday was just the sort of day I wanted – lazy, relaxing, and not too much going on. I did get nine-and-a-half hours of sleep, which was great. I then answered e-mails, prepared the eBlast for the new release and then decided to finish watching a motion picture on Blu and Ray before going off to a salon.
Yesterday, I watched a motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled As Good As It Gets, starring Mr. Jack Nicholson and Miss Helen Hunt. I saw this motion picture when it first came out, maybe twice, and haven’t seen it since, save for a screening of a 35mm print a year or so ago. I didn’t love it back then, although I did love the performances, the music, and most of the writing and directing. And watching it again I find I feel the same – the same exact things that “got” to me then got to me now – Miss Hunt is beautiful, touching, and funny and Nicholson is really wonderful in his role. Greg Kinnear seems better now than I thought he was back then. But, at two hours and eighteen minutes it’s just too long. Eventually we get the same beat too many times – just when you think something’s finally going to happen or even when it does, Nicholson says the wrong thing, off Hunt storms, until the next version of the beat. Take ten or twenty minutes off the running time and I think it would work better. That said, that’s just my opinion, and the majority of the film is very funny and has an innate sweetness to it, in the same way that James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment and Broadcast News do.
Now, the usual doom and gloom brigade came out in force on one of those Blu-ray sites – screen cap comparisons were posted – the new Blu-ray and the old DVD. I must say that since I did my diatribe about DNR and edge enhancement regarding Journey to the Center of the Earth and that got posted a few places, those claims have been much less frequent. Now the doom and gloom brigade looked at those comparison caps and began a new war cry: Contrast boosting and clipping. They must all go to the same Internet sites to read this crap. It never occurs to them that the DVD transfer might have been the one that was not up to par – no, it’s got to be the Blu-ray. Contrast boosting! Clipping! Blown-out skies! Well, no. And when a few of the more level heads try to say that you cannot judge without having seen the disc, they all say there is NO difference between seeing a screen cap and the image in motion. Well, really? No difference? One fellow actually said that – that motion was just a series of those screen caps put together. Well, really? For example, the shot they point to to cry about a blown-out sky – well, the screen cap is one frame. On screen? The camera is – wait for it – moving, and the shot of the sky isn’t onscreen for more than a second or two, so that even if it were “blown-out” (which it isn’t) you wouldn’t even see it. But you can’t argue with these people because they’re all experts, sitting in their homes like so much fish, never having seen this film in a theater – they know, they can’t be wrong, the screen caps tell the story. Well, really? No. And then we get the people who say they have the disc and that the caps are accurate. Well, really? No. This is another stellar Sony transfer that replicates the way the film looked. They all want HEAVY grain – well, this is off the camera negative and there is fine grain not HEAVY grain, just as it should be. The detail is just right – some of it was shot with filters, some wasn’t. The transfer has perfect color, is sharp and detailed, and I saw not one instance of “blown-out” skies, or boosted contrast or clipping anywhere at any time. What I saw was a transfer that looked like the film I saw last year in 35mm, but some generations closer, and one that looks just like the films the director of photography, John Bailey, has shot. But, then again, what do I know? I’ve been around film since the early 1970s, have made films, have been in transfer rooms, have done transfers, have been a collector of film since 1975, owning hundreds of 16mm and 35mm prints. But they know more, these people who not only haven’t handled film, haven’t been in a transfer room, haven’t done transfers, and most importantly, haven’t even seen the film in question projected in a motion picture theater – there’s no arguing because they’ve seen their screen caps and they KNOW. As I’ve said before, fortunately it’s just a handful of people, and I think others are finally onto them. It would simply never occur to me to look at a screen cap and make pronouncements based on that. I have to see the disc, then I’m happy to make with the pronouncements, yay or nay. There’s one guy who constantly tries to make me seem like a shill for Twilight Time because Mr. Nick Redman is a friend of mine. The one thing Mr. Nick Redman knows is that I will call it as I see it. And I don’t think he’d have it any other way. So, purchase without fear – this is a terrific-looking disc in every way and if you like the movie you’ll be happy with the purchase.
After that, I got ready to go to the salon. I arrived at four-thirty. This was being held at a private home in the City of Studio, and was part of Rick’s Picks, Rick being Rick Starr, formerly of Hollywood Sheet Music. He does these little salons from time to time and yesterday’s was devoted to the songs of Adryan Russ and Joel Evans. Shelly Markham was at the grand and it was a very pleasant ninety minutes, with some good singers. The house was very nice and I saw lots o’ people I know, like Michael Kerker of ASCAP, Andrea Marcovicci, Lissa Levin and her ever-lovin’ Dan, Doug Haverty, and two gentlemen I worked with many years ago when I was an actor – Rick Podell, with whom I did a CBS pilot, and Mike Preminger, with whom I did the Dinah Shore and Her New Best Friends series. That was fun. I met some nice people, too. The only thing I would have done a little differently had I been Adryan, was that in introducing the songs the emphasis was on “We wrote this as an exercise” or “We wrote this because a music supervisor was looking for something” or “We wrote this to be like a Mel Torme song” – that’s all very academic to me – I want to hear about passion and fun and art, that’s what makes songs interesting to hear, at least for me. But it’s a minor nitpick and it was all very enjoyable.
When I got home I hadn’t eaten anything, so I rustled up a nice big portion of Wacky Noodles and ate ‘em all up and they were yummilicious, let me tell you that. Then I watched another Beck movie. Very enjoyable, but I have to say none of them have been great – they just sort of amble along and then end. But the actors are very good, as is the atmosphere and I like them.
Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I must try to get as much beauty sleep as possible.
Today, I shall be up at six in the morning to announce our latest Kritzerland title. I’ll probably go back to bed for a couple of hours, then I’ll hopefully print out a LOT of orders. At eleven I’m doing a Costco run with the helper, then I’ll eat something light but amusing and hopefully pick up some packages. Then Shelly Markham arrives at three and we’ll do a little arrangement work. The singers begin arriving at four and we’ll be through by six-thirty. Then my engineer is coming over to get the Pro Tools session of the original eight-track session masters for Follies. But I’m not having a good feeling about it – I really think it was recorded on sixteen-track tape, then edited and mixed down to eight, from which the two-track album master was made. That’s how it was for Promises. There are, for example, no track sheets with the eight-track tapes, and that’s why I’m pretty certain I’m right. I do think I’ve pushed as hard as I can for them to look – right now I’m being told that this is all they have, but I may talk to my guy there and implore them to just try digging deeper one last time. We shall see.
The rest of the week is filled with meetings and meals and rehearsals with the East Coast Singer, and our second Kritzerland rehearsal, and the East Coast Singer’s two shows, our stumble-through, sound check and show and lots of other stuff.
Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, announce the new Kritzerland title, hopefully print a LOT of orders, do a Costco run, eat, hopefully pick up some packages, and rehearse. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite motion pictures starring Mr. Robert De Niro and Mr. Dustin Hoffman? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, where my dreams shall have no contrast boosting or clipping.