Proper Clapboard Use

The clapboard is also known as a clapstick, sound stick or movie slate board. I’ve been on two television shoots recently for national, professional productions where the crew did not use the clapboard properly. Here how you can get the most of your clapboard.

Just Like Us

It turns out that everyone likes to laugh – even in the Arab world. Egyptian-American comic Ahmed Ahmed has been working as a successful stand-up comedian for many years. When I interviewed him 10-years ago, he talked about having a dream to bring comedy to the Middle East as a way to open hearts and minds.

Movie Review: Gnomeo and Juliet (2011)

Though a scant few scenes might have you laughing, Gnomeo and Juliet doesn’t seem at all concerned with entertaining the adult audiences dragged along to the theater with the target group of small children. The juvenile humor and immaturity run rampant, as do several annoyingly hyperactive supporting characters, resulting in a tug-of-war between eye rolling and grimacing. Plenty of attention has been given to the texturing and detailing of the clay creations, though the mishmash of ceramic materials, squash and stretch animation, and clanking stone sound effects strains general acceptance as much as the rehashed usage of sudden immobility in…

Movie Review: James Cameron’s Sanctum (2011)

Maybe we haven’t been in this exact situation before, but certainly one similar. Sanctum rarely presents any thrills outside the predictable Poseidon-like disaster/adventure film staple and follows a foreseeable route through its maze-like abyss complete with mandatory panicked survivors, expected equipment malfunctions, and inevitable weather complications. It’s still an interesting journey thanks to a decent helping of suspenseful moments, but it’s unfortunate the characters don’t retain the same level of intrigue.

Movie Review: The Mechanic (2011)

Underneath its grittier, hyper-violent, modernistic shaky-cam exterior, The Mechanic is still a Jason Statham movie – for better or for worse. Remove the faux Tony Scott-film editing techniques and the blood-laden frenetic action sequences and you’ve got hand-to-hand combat, a scene or two of intricate driving, and the requisite clip of Statham removing his shirt. The brief gratuitous female nudity and the more brutal kills are new, but once you reach the end it feels oddly familiar.

Movie Review: No Strings Attached (2011)

Immediately after the success of Black Swan, her Golden Globe Best Actress win, an inevitable Academy Award nomination, and worldwide critical praise, Natalie Portman decided to star with Ashton Kutcher in a raunchy sex comedy/drama. The fact that renowned filmmaker Ivan Reitman (Meatballs, Ghostbusters) was attached to direct doesn’t give legitimacy to the project, since it was funded by Portman’s own production company. It seems the popular star is trying everything possible to shed her “good girl” image; despite her breakout role in The Professional and her riskier performances in V for Vendetta and Closer, she still can’t run from…

Movie Review: Limitless (2011)

Most viewers will go into Limitless with low expectations, thanks to a mediocre trailer and a cast of second-tier regulars. This works to a great advantage, since the film actually possesses a unique plot, fascinating concepts and genuine thrills. There’s also a lot of humor mixed into the graveness, lightening the mood for the more shocking material and creating a sense of fun – it’s also difficult to take anything Bradley Cooper does too seriously.

Movie Review: Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

The creators of Battle: Los Angeles have definitely played their video games and watched their alien invasion films. While derivative, this latest hostile encounter of the third kind still manages to provide solid entertainment with its no-nonsense nature, massive alien creations, and intense wartime operations, including classic rescue, recon, and offensive missions. In fact, these frantic maneuvers result in a rather relentless pacing, one that would be ideal in a video game but perhaps not so much in a movie.

Movie Review: The Green Hornet (2011)

The Green Hornet attempts to represent the very epitome of cool, with fast cars, masked crime-fighters, seductive girls, dastardly villains, enormous explosions, martial arts combat and senseless destruction. The creators must have thought they had every element necessary to build the perfect action flick – but they completely forgot to design a sensible plot and interesting characters. Although the story is based loosely on the 1930’s Green Hornet radio series and the TV shows and comics that followed, this 2011 adaptation feels entirely like a Seth Rogen teen comedy.

Movie Review: The Dilemma (2011)

Vince Vaughn and Kevin James seem like a perfect duo for a straightforward comedy heavy on slapstick and crazed antics. It’s surprising then that The Dilemma masks much of its laugh-out-loud funniness with dark humor, subtle jests and highly serious drama. Vaughn’s fast-paced ramblings and James’ general goofiness are still present, but the staid business of infidelity and work-related pressures are rarely laughed at.

Movie Review: Season of the Witch (2011)

Season of the Witch doesn’t aim very high, which at least allows it to accomplish what it sets out to do. A few cheap scares, some bloodless swordfights, a slightly miscast Nicolas Cage and a perfectly cast Ron Perlman keep the simple plotline moving along, while the bevy of witches, demons, and deformed priests don’t hinder the minimal thrills. Perhaps the film never really knows what direction it’s ultimately going, but that uncertainty offers a level of unpredictability that keeps the audience guessing – to an extent.

I’m Thinking: Are Comic Book Movies Ruined by Actor Face-Time?

It seems a general trend in comic book movies that no matter who the character is, the actor portraying he or she needs a consistent amount of face- time. I began to dwell about this issue recently after watching the Spider-Man trilogy. It seemed Tobey Maguire would lose/remove his mask in almost every fight scene? Was Maguire’s constant face time worth ruining the secret identity aspect to Spider-Man’s character entirely?