Archive for July, 2010


It irks me that the American entertainment machine has to remake every foreign film that has any success or promises to bring in some money.

Does the English-language remake ever improve on the original? Sure, some are more well-known – but that’s marketing. In the creative sense, I really don’t know of a single instance where the remake is actually so much better than the original it just had to be made; in most cases, the opposite is true and the remake just sucks the life out of what made the original a desirable commodity in the first place. (If you know of remakes that are improvements, please feel free to comment!)

I am not talking about inspirations, like Kurosawa’s 1954 Seven Samurai inspiring the 1960 Sturges film The Magnificent Seven. That’s a horse of a different color. I’m talking about outright remakes that make you go, “Wasn’t this movie made already? Why did someone make it again?”

Why not simply find ways to allow more people to see interesting and original films like Brothers (2005), Mostly Martha (2002), Ringu (1998), and La Femme Nikita (1991)? I understand that it’s mostly a revenue issue but there’s more to it, I fear. For audiences, it comes down to an unwillingness to try something out of the ordinary.

We all know the arguments…

“We want our favorite stars in it.”

“We don’t want to have to read subtitles.”

“The original isn’t available!”

SIGH

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) is one of the best literary adaptations I have seen in a long time. Part of why I liked it so much may be that I’ve been watching awfully mediocre films lately. It sure helped get me out of that slump.

This movie is an amazing adaptation of a book that boasts over 700 pages. It’s tough to smash that into a film of 152 minutes. As long as American filmmakers want to get something out of it, maybe that’s a big take-away – learn from this accomplishment how to incorporate the main points and characters and not cut the heck out of it to fit in more explosions or Oscar-worthy nervous breakdowns.  Just saying.

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I’m all for saving time, especially when you have to get something done that is tedious or downright boring. Heck, even when the work is fun or interesting, you can use that extra time to watch a favorite show that you recorded two weeks ago and haven’t had time to watch, or take a leisurely bubble-bath instead the usual three-minute shower.

Recently, an e-zine to which I subscribe sent out a brief article about keyboard shortcuts.  It got me thinking about all kinds of shortcuts.  So, here are a few of my favorites.  Put your feet up on your desk, and try a few.

Fast and Easy Templates

Some projects are repetitive. For example, I have several clients for whom I create the same or similar documents — only with updated information — every week or month. A great way to save time is to design the format of such documents once and then use that as a template.  The quickest way to do this is to open the document you designed and then click File > Save As (or the equivalent operation in whatever software you’re using) and give the document an updated name. Then, all you have to do is go in and change the information.  TA DA!  But be careful — make sure that you change everything in the document that needs to be updated — read through it thoroughly.   Continue reading

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