I can work on your project.

Find me! Call DAP at 214.350.7678 or email rene@dallasaudiopost.com. Also check out echocollectivefx.com for custom sfx, and tonebenders.net for my podcast.

Saturday, July 19

Dark Knight dominance

This film is going to blow the doors off of the record books.

Its already setting preview and other records, and at least locally its selling out or nearly selling out every showing (including IMAX - no tix left the entire weekend) until Monday.

All of this is with good reason. I remember watching Batman Begins, and immediately thinking to myself "this is one of the best films I've ever seen." Well The Dark Knight is better, and by a lot.

As we made our way into the packed theater I was very concerned that the film, and Heath Ledger's Joker in particular, would not be capable of living up to the considerable hype that preceded them. Boy was I wrong.

This is a flat-out spectacular work of art across so many disciplines:

-first of its a near-flawless script. On a fundamental level, nobody says or does anything that doesn't make any sense in the context of the story, which is a big enough challenge in itself most of the time. The pacing is excellent (I did not expect the film to be as long as it was, and only after it was over did I realize that the run time approached 3 hours), and the content is top-notch. Most films don't challenge vigilante heros to justify their lawlessness outside of the context of "the govt is ineffective so I'll do this myself," but boy this one does and it does it in a way that is neither distracting to the rest of the film nor cheezy or pandering to the viewer. In fact, Batman's struggles with the legitimacy of his actions evolve into the primary sub-plot of the film - as opposed to the typical female love-interest sub plot. That falls to third. And of course we grow to care about all of the characters (including the villains) and to believe that everything that we're seeing could actually happen. Nothing was shoehorned in here. Everything had its place and served a purpose. Also, I love love love the fact that they never bothered to discuss the origins or true motivations of the Joker. Its the repeated and firm resistance to such non-useful story elements that allowed the writers and producers to pack this film with interesting and relevant stuff from top to bottom.

-Visually the film was spectacular. There are some shots of things blowing up and burning down that I have no idea how they accomplished them, because they don't look like CGI. The stuff that obviously is CGI is only identifiable as such because you know that it's the only way they could pull something like that off, not because it draws attention to itself visually. (with the exception of one minor traumatic spoiler effect that caught my eye as it was happening). I still love the fact that they shot Gotham in Chicago instead of NY, and watching the evolution of the
Batsuit was cool. Also there is a spectacular car chase scene.

-Casting and acting. Casting Heath Ledger as the Joker was probably intially seen as a bold stroke despite his post Brokeback Mountain star status, but we all know the story of both his acting in this film and what the role must have done to him as a person. Aaron Eckhart is an excellent Harvey Dent - so pretty that its all the more disturbing when he's not anymore. Of course, it helps the acting when you have a script of this caliber with which to work (I can imagine if Ledger and Nicholson were to switch Jokers that Nicholson would be getting the all of the glory out of the transaction), but this is one of those films in which the actors lived up to the characters they played, just about universally. With that said, Heath Ledger's Joker is bound to go down as one of the best villains in cinematic history - both because of the deranged and anarchistic acts that he was allowed to perform, and because of the wildness and intensity that he brought to the character. His passing at this point in both his career and this franchise is a devastating blow to the art of cinema, and it will be felt for a long while after the third Batman is released.

-Mix, sound design, and score. Here's where I geek out, and I love it. First off, here's an excellent article with the sound designers from Mix Magazine. They spent a month recording sound effects before production even started, and got to do cool things like mic up a Tesla car to use as an element for the bat-pod. All of the sound design was very gritty and real, which added remarkably to the overall believability of the film. The interaction between the sound design and music was obviously collaborated, and was done very well. The mix was constantly weaving between strong score, no score, heavy sound effects, no sound effects, and clear, intellible dialogue. I didnt notice any ADR, which is a good thing. There were also some very cool moments where the mix got very very stripped down during some climactic moments, and only the central sound design element was heard - like in the 18-wheeler flip. Its aggressive decision-making, and I loved it.

So go see this movie. I'm seeing it again as soon as I can get an IMAX ticket.

Friday, July 18

come on in, the iWater's fine!

so we've finally been assimilated and I'm telling you its great.

after standing in line for a few hours on wednesday and getting cut off, and then having the lovely and talented Mrs stood in line from 7:15 am till around 10:30 to get our two new sparkling shiny happy ...

iPhone 3Gs!!

I'm flat out in heaven. This is just the biggest personal technology upgrade that I think i've every encountered (including the acquisitions of my first several computers).

much ink has already been spilled about this, and I can only really echo what the common knowledge is of the device so far.

-typing is tricky and slow
-the maps freaking rock
-the internet rocks
-the iphone apps are spectacular
-itunes is taking over my computer (and i'm a little miffed about that)
-watching tv on the iphone is kewl
-call quality and coverage has been good

other things that i've noticed are

-i have to keep it in my pocket while driving or I'll get in a damn wreck
-i have to figure out how to make it sync my photos without duplicating them on my HD
-i'll never be lost again, and for the most part I'll never need a local guide to help me find things like BOA atms or food in any stateside municipality again
-the pandora app makes kittens laugh and play with string

Tuesday, July 8

aftermath:blowing stuff up on the 4th

Went to Lubbock with the wifey over the holiday weekend to catch up with some friends and fire off some fireworks. (really, I just like getting in the car and traveling with her)

It was a pretty short, yet eventful trip. We showed up on the 4th and immediately got to drinking and lighting fireworks. As I listened to the barely legal mortars going off I realized that now more than ever do I regret not owning a solid portable recorder, but I'll get one soon enough.

All in all it was a good time, and it was good to see everyone again. I'm lucky to have the caliber of friends that I do.

The next day was more eventful though. While the lovely and talented Mrs Coronado was off at the lake with some of her friends, I ended up prepping to go to the gunshop to buy ammo with mine. Now, I've never shot a gun (my parents never even let us have bb guns when we were kids) but I've also never really found that to be something that's lacking in my life either.

In my opinion guns aren't good for much in everyday life, but hey I'm a guy and firing weapons at little paper targets at a range was bound to be a good time.

When I first bore witness to the arsenal that my long-time friends had collected I was pretty amazed. Shotguns, rifles, handguns, and of course semi-automatic weapons. Now I had always known that my friends were kind of West-Texasy southern Republican types, but I really hadn't mentally come to grips with exactly how how deep that particular vein ran. When I informed them that I'd never shot a gun in my life, everyones eyes got wide, fingertips came together, and big smiles started showing up. They were loving the idea of popping my weapon cherry.

So we loaded up on ammo (which is pretty expensive) and headed out to the firing range.

This is the first gun I've ever shot.
Its a Bushmaster M4, and it is a beast. Its a semiautomatic, though I was only shooting one round at a time. I expected it to have a lot of kick, but due to the compression chamber over the barrel there it was remarkably forgiving.

Here's me getting ready to shoot for the first time -

And here's my shocked expression after letting the first round go.

Dude, that think went BANG!

We also shot a few other rifles and some handguns that day. I was actually pretty ok with the handguns - hitting a bullseye at 25 yards and otherwise marking up the target pretty well. A lot of firing weapons seems to be about being able to breathe, so between that and Red Steel on the Wii I kind of had a head start.

The guys were kind enough to teach me how to set up, load and fire everything and I'm pretty grateful for that.

At the top of my mind now is a return trip with a good recording rig so that we can do it again and this time document it correctly.

Of course we got into a political discussion on the way back, but that was to be expected. I still love them despite their political views, and I'm sure the feeling is mutual.