Thursday, May 24, 2007

Big green = big green

So, the green ogre movie was a whopping success, setting a record for the best 3-day opening ever for an animated feature, and coming in 3rd on the all-time list (behind Pirates 2 and Spider-Man 3). Who says audiences are fed up with sequels?? Well, everyone at work is upbeat about it, and we even got an extension of our holiday weekend, which I appreciate. Saw it again, with some civilians, and it was fun to see people getting into it, but... eh. I doubt it'll carry on much, with Pirates opening next week, and 3 more family flix opening in the next few weeks.

Nicole has moved back in with us for the summer (it's great to have her in the house, feels like family), so I had to cram everything in the back room, now I'll have to reorganize. Long weekend for that... and getting more songs and clips put together to bring back with me to Michigan when we go, next weekend! Coming up fast. I'll post more details about that, on the trip, even. We managed to wrap the shooting on the room in time for Bonnie's mother to come visit, it was nice having her around, and on Mother's Day no less! On the short film front, the stuff in the room is not quite half the total, but there are some complicated FX stuff to work out, and rebuilding some sets... Tom & Garth did a genius bit of set dressing - flat panels w/ contact paper, we painted on that to grunge it up, then mounted it in front of the real walls. Looked great, too.

Got my car broken into... sucks. They targeted my Hybrid for the paperwork allowing it to ride in the carpool lane. Not much else was taken - sunglasses, gum, they left most of the change and audio cables in there. And no damage to the car, as far as I can tell - they didn't really 'break' in. I'd like to believe it was just a notion of someone that walked by, and not some prowler. The cops were friendly, if ineffective, as I'm sure most of these cases go. Still, sucks that it happened, and it's not something you want to have happen in your neighborhood.

Well, next post should be about our trip!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Green Beast

We got a crew screening of a certain green cartoon 'part 3' tonight at a megaplex in SF. I think I'm contractually obligated to not disparage the movie, plus I then jeopardize my stake in any BoxOffice bonus money, but let me divulge two revelations I had that night, take them as you will. 1) My tolerance for alcohol is far greater than I believed, and 2) I should've had more to drink going into the theater. Three cocktails beforehand (on an empty stomach) and a paper bag full of tiny bottles snuck into the theater wasn't enough to buffer sitting through this movie. Granted, I was too close to it, still carried too many fresh scars, and hadn't had enough to drink. And at the base level, watching it still felt like I was sitting through dailies (I expected the art director to pipe up with notes). Technically-wise, I swear to zeus the print/projection was waaay too dark and contrasty. (It made me cringe through the first 20 minutes of movie, but then I concluded - "Hey, if the real audience presentation is this dark and weird-looking, maybe that will make it more distinctive.") Humor-wise/script-wise, I was sitting in a room full of people who had been watching the same jokes for a year or more, so they only laughed at the bits which they were surprised had made the final cut, saw which of the best, edgiest gags had been made a casualty (most of them). And incidentally, it was not really the final cut - the producers joked about making the editors go back to work the next day (the movie offically opens May 18). Which, again, is a wider joke, in that this screening and premier party was hosted on a Thursday, and we are all expected to go back to work on Friday. (Haha, the joke's on you.)
All of which contributes to the argument that I am neither legally eligible nor newsically competent to make an unofficial, advance review of ______ Part 3. And I'm carrying a lot of baggage. Let me just say, "Good luck."

Fiery Hell

So, there was a major freeway accident in my neighborhood last week. Some nimrod truck driver rolled his fuel tanker truck in the MacArthur Maze - recognized as one of the busiest traffic interchanges in the U.S. Fortnuately, this happened on a deserted roadway at 4:30 AM on a Sunday, but said tanker truck caught fire and burned - yes, burned, and melted - a 250 yard section of the EB 580 freeway overpass, which then collapsed onto the SB 880, which is the major freeway I need to take everyday as part of my hellish, Earth-raping commute. (Hey, I admit my villainess. But a job is a job). The whole debacle was the feature of news for days. Gov't response was immediate - CalTrain cleared the scene within a few days; Gov. Schwarzenegger held a press conference on the site, with Oakland and SF mayors standing beside;
At any rate - what is the aftermath, who is to blame, who makes restitution, and what does it mean for me?
This week's commute was screwy to begin with - Monday I was out sick, couldn't carpool on Tuesday so I drove myself. I left home at 6:30 AM, and the roads were OK. Still feeling sick, I left early and got home OK. Wednesday I took an alternate route, which was OK, but again I left at 6:30 AM. Thursday was a special case - I needed to go into SF in the evening, so I took public transport in the morning. Through a series of clusterf_cks, it took me more than 2.5 hours to get to work (compared to driving, which takes about 45 mins). More research to follow, but I'm not keen on that slog again. Friday is a half-day, (see following post about the screening), so I can't judge again. The good news is that officials estimate 880 can re-open in about 2 weeks.
Newsmedia has been reporting dirt on the truck driver, (survivor James Mosqueda). No amount of humiliation, disgrace, punishment, is enough for this guy and his employers. Police determined he was going too fast, so 1 jackass caused $150 million in damage. He's had several convicitions in the past, the business has had several complaints and that particular truck failed Gov't inspections, yet they're still able to turn a buck at the expense of the public.
(On a side note, this pokes holes in the WTC conspiracy nuts who argued, "Steel can't be melted by a fuel fire!" Unless, of course, the same shady agents who took down the WTC also wrecked the Oakland freeway. Hmmm... there might be something to that.)
Replacing the 580 will take months, due to needing to replace the custom steel supports. This means that traffic coming off the Bay Bridge will be routed through the Powell street exit, and our own neighborhood. I saw it the other day - around 6PM, the backup was more than a mile, getting off that freeway. As much as I love Emeryville, and support their city plan for combining growing residential with local business & larger corporate retail (except Wal-Mart, fuck them), their idea for getting freeway traffic coming into the Bay Street Shopping Center is ridiculously stupid. One single exit, one single right turn, to get thousands of commuters and shoppers through town? And at an absurdly long light? Rethink that one, E-ville city planners. (to defend myself - Bonnie and I have been involved with the city general planning commitee and steering committee meetings for months.)