Archive | March, 2012

The Odyssey Writers’ Workshop

19 Mar

This post is something of a personal note to all my writer friends. Many of you know that I wrote a short story called “Zarutha” as my application entry story for the Odyssey Writers’ Workshop. I was accepted into the program for this summer and have had the time off approved…I’m going!

This is a six-week Masters-level study of the writing of horror, fantasy, and weird tales designed and taught by Jeanne Cavelos. I am thrilled to be going and spending my summer vacation in such an endeavor.

So on June 8th it will be Bon Voyage Vern as I set off for the distant land of New Hampshire.


Film Review: “John Carter”

19 Mar

The cheapest way to film an action sequence is through very tight close ups. Your actors do not need to be fighting or have any skills at all. A flash a cry and a thud and you have simulated (albeit poorly) a moment of combat. What I don’t understand is why this old and cheap technique is employed over and over in “John Carter”, the Disney rendition of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Princess of Mars”. They have such amazing production values, their pick of known and unknown talent, and they put the camera in too close to enjoy the action. The exception to this is some excellent swordplay.
Major kudos for the Martian language sections, the incredible scenery (although they made little use of what we have gathered from the rovers), and the monsters/creatures of Mars. Fine direction and editing work well and the script contains some surprising humor and quick laughs without resorting to the usual Disney pie-in-the-face antics of so many of their recent films.
The use of light is fantastic, both in the brilliant desert scenes and the darkened sets of temples, tunnels, and caves. The mixed technology and the “old is new” feel is remarkable.
One last comment: after seeing many recent films offered in 3D, I have decided that the glasses and filtering destroy a film’s color, the most powerful visual reason for going “to the movies”. Save yourself seven or eight dollars (tickets for the 3D showings run $15) and go see this one in the stunning color of 2D. Also, sit back away from the screen for this one, you’ll want to catch all of the split-second, high-speed action of Disney’s “John Carter”.