Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘avatar

Turbo’s Oscar Party

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Most years, it seems I never get out to see enough of the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars.  And I’m a big movie fan.

This year, they have nine nominees for Best Pic, and I think I’ve seen about seven out of the nine (“Up” and “Precious” the only two I’ve not seen yet).

Of course, I just saw “A Serious Man” last evening on demand, and that one shot way up my personal list.

It’s kind of silly to try and pick just one flick for Best Picture, especially out of nine.  But if I had to, I’d still have to caveat what the criteria were.

From the perspective of pure filmmaking, “Avatar” wins hands down.  I was blown away and completely transported by that movie.  It was magical.

For sheer relentless adrenaline and edge-of-my-seat compulsion, “The Hurt Locker” wins hands down.  I’ve seen most of the movies about the Iraq war, but that one was incredibly disturbing to me and yet I couldn’t look away.

Back during the war, I used to have dreams about IEDs (all that media coverage!), and watching these guys run towards the potential explosions…that takes some serious…well, that’s a word for the audience to fill in…which was what I liked so much about Kathryn Bigelow’s direction.

I can’t rule out “Inglorious Basterds.”  Tarantino delivered probably his best pic since “Pulp Fiction.”

And “A Serious Man” is a serious movie through a riotous 1960s Jewish lens that had me laughing out loud and a surprise ending that left me wanting more.

And even “A Blind Side,” which was based on Michael Lewis’ book of the same name, touched my heart like no other movie this year, and Sandra Bullock stretched in a direction that seemed to surprise everybody.  The girl can act, get over it.

Best Picture goes to “Avatar.”  Best Director to Bigelow.

For performances, Jeff Bridge’s walks with an Oscar for “Crazy Heart.”  A great performance in a great role, written for Bridges, and a sentimental Austin favorite — much of the music for the movie was co-authored by the recently deceased Stephen Bruton, an Austin musical mainstay who wrote songs for folks ranging from Kris Kristofferson to Willie Nelson, and whose Sunday night guitar/singing gig with The Resentments at the Saxon Pub, right down the street from my house, were hilarious and foot-stomping.

“Crazy Heart” was dedicated to his memory.

I’ve not seen enough of the flicks to call the other performance categories, but my gut says Bullock takes Best Actress, Penelope Cruz, Best Supporting Actress, Christopher Waltz, Best Supporting Actor, and Barry Ackroyd, Best Cinematography.

Mark Boal wins for Best Original Screenplay (“The Hurt Locker”), Nick Hornby for Best Adapted Screenplay (“An Education”).

All the hooplah starts later this PM.  Don’t forget, this is Bawbwah Wah-Wah’s last series of pre-Oscar interviews, this time with Sandra Bullock and Monique as well as clips from Oscar interviews past.

And for you red carpet fans, though it was raining in LA yesterday, forecasters expect it to clear out so the paparazzi have a clear line of sight to the stars.

Me, I’m heading off to the movies on this rainy Sunday Austin afternoon.

Written by turbotodd

March 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Turbo Finds His Avatar

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Ho Ho Ho.

Happy holidays.

First off, if you’d prefer to listen to the Turbo “Stuff I Like and Hate” from the 2009 post that I wrote the other day (rather than read it), I wrapped it up in a podcast edition and thank my fellow collaborator Scott Laningham for pulling it together.

Meanwhile, I finally got myself out to the multiplex to see “Avatar.”

I was gonna check it out while out in Utah, but decided to ski that last day instead and also to let the first few days’ crowds go down.

All I can say now having seen it is “wow.”  Big frickin’ wow.

What a gorgeous and mind blowing movie!

I mean, talk about being transported to another world.  Literally.

I don’t think I’d actually ever seen a 3D movie until now (go figure), so that would be my first suggestion, see it in 3D.  It’s too gorgeous and complex NOT to see it the way the filmmaker intended you to see it.

Second, I would suggest you go ahead and pay the extra to see it at an IMAX.  I may even come back and see it again at an IMAX, it’s such a visual feast.

I don’t think James Cameron needs to worry about making back his $230M for that reason alone (repeat visits).

I’m not going to give much else away about the movie, but will say that I liked the storyline as well as the visual feast.

From this viewer’s perspective, “Avatar” lived up to the hype and then some.

I stumbled upon this article from Data Center Knowledge which explained the horsepower that was required by Weta Digital to do the renderings of Pandora.

According to the article, it consisted of a 10,000 square foot server farm with much of the movie processed on 4,000 HP BL2x220c blades.

Thirty four racks made of 32 machines each with 40,000 processors and 104 terabytes of memory.  All water cooled on Rittal racks (there was too much heat for standard raised floor and forced-air cooling).

So, Avatar is hot hot hot (and hot to make), and now I can’t wait to see the X-Box and Playstation games of that gorgeous digital world.

That’s the third time I’ve used the word “gorgeous” in this post, I know, but that’s exactly what Pandora was.

Thanks for the Christmas gift, Mr. Cameron.  You continue to raise the bar for your fellow filmmakers and to transport your audiences to parts unknown.

Written by turbotodd

December 23, 2009 at 11:10 pm

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