Tag Archives: movie

Diary: War and Peace rolls mightily… (in various forms)

Movie time: War and Peace

To be clear: this is the 1959 Hollywood/King Vidor version with Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda and others… There are several adaptations of the classic Tolstoy novel and this frankly, is not the best by any measure. Even at 208 minutes the story is incredibly compressed and huge critical chunks simply cut out. It really lacks in its reliance on camera trickery which, perhaps was innovative at the time, but has the feeling of “clean it up in post“… Especially with the sound editing/mixing, it’s a mess. All that said, I totally enjoy it Mostly because of Audrey.

There’s is a much longer Soviet-era Russian adaptation (7 hrs) by auteur Sergei Bondarchuk (co-wrote, directs and acts) from 1967 / it’s endlessly wonderfully long, came out in a series in Russian language (naturally) with various French and German as needed. It’s truly epic so you got to settle in / plan for the long-haul / rousing battle & party scenes interspersed with slow contemplative vignettes. The actors arent as pretty/shiny as other versions but hey, realism (I have this one of three long VHS tapes).

Then, there’s a BBC series from 2016 which is in general very well done – aside from a few casting choices which I for some reason find incredibly annoying (but I’m kind of like that). Pacing is good and cinematography is often great. if you’re going to settle in for one, this is probably the best all-arounder/entry point. Lily James is a worthy Natasha.

Another good all-arounder albeit a bit melodrama-esque came in a 2007 series. An international production so well done on various languages & casting actors from different cultures / a bit hard to find as was made for European release. 

There is also a 1972 British made TV series and a 1915 b&w film, neither of which I’ve seen.

Have you seen any of the series? Any opinions on a favorite? Have you read the book?

I mean, if not now, when?



Ted says: The Soviet version is one of the most amazing films ever made I think. It’s now on a criterion Blu-ray release.

I reply: indeed, the backstory of the creation is just as epic as well. He had free rein to state museums, use of the Army personnel and helicopters etc / Must get my hands on the criterion as I’ve only watched on the VHS tapes which, leave a little bit to be desired.

Ted: Factoring the current rate of exchange, it supposedly the most expensive film ever made. Like 800 million or something.

Me: Epic in every sense of the word! Although hard to calculate the true cost of the budget with all of the government resources/access use. Have you seen any of the other versions? Comments?

Diary: Princess Bride & pizza + PM letters and moving rocks

 Princess Bride & pizza at Tsuchida Cottage + Update: Today, Ryoko wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, we moved some rocks with a tripod and hoist, hanged some art and a kitchen shelf. And, most shockingly, I was able to navigate the complexities of renting a movie through Apple. Yes, everything is possible!

I saw a great movie…

I saw a great movie last night with exceptional acting, pacing, dialogue and nuanced geo-political intrigue.

Called “Hyde Park on Hudson” starring Bill Murray who disappears into the role of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (also possibly my favorite US president).

Yep, I like my movies slow – with pleasant scenes of conversation and countryside drives. Also, stuttering awkward kings, hot dogs, mistresses, and custom modified cars.



Also, I’m fascinated by the life and times of the short raining King Edward (real name David) who abdicated give mean way to his younger dorkier brother George. David was a true rockstar king, beloved by the masses, oozing charisma and charm, whose later life tied up an intrigue and golf games with the world elite, accompanied by his controversial American wife. Where is the biopic about this mysterious elusive Royal?

Chris Graham Of course you are forgetting his friendship with Hitler and his Nazi sympathies. Although he had some good points, and was initially popular, his ‘unsuitable’ relationship gave a viable reason to ease him out of the picture. This world might have been a very different place otherwise. His German friend had plans to re-instate him to the throne if the Nazis’ planned invasion of Britain had been successful. Yes he was a fascinating character, but not for the romantic reasons most people might think.

Dave Olson Yes, the German connection makes the story even more fascinating, especially in light that the entire British royal family is German descent (Aside from a few other European royal inbreeding inputs etc.). I am not pro or con his “politics” but I am fascinated by the narrative arc of his story. Also, I am a complete non-royalist, the thought that people inherit privilege due to their “birthright” is abhorrent to me. Also, the Germanic connection was hardly a secret but more people then we realize weren’t sure of the outcome of the war and were hedging their bets in one way or another.

Chris Graham Quite true Dave. I agree about the ‘birthright’ bit, though they don’t have any real influence on government these days. They’re simply titular, and a bit of pomp and ceremony to entertain tourists and locals alike. At least they (generally) behave a lot better than many ‘celebrities’ these days.

Dave Olson (2018) Noting that the popular series “the crown” unpacked the Nazi connection quite a while I think. I guess they were listening to our banter 🙂

Tintin: The Movie I’ve Always Waited For… And Always Dreaded | Grant Lawrence

Tintin: The Movie I’ve Always Waited For… And Always Dreaded | Grant Lawrence

University, Institute and Media Tour 2010 – Roundup

Over the past few months, along with starting a new job, travelling far and wide, and media hacking the Olympics, I’ve spread my messages to various groups, radio stations, organizations and so on.

For the record, here are a few annotations and a bucket for assembling artifacts and documenting details.

UBC Events
I was interviewed by UBC Events as well and the talk was recorded, ergo:

@yellowrainbootz 11:42am via Twitter for BlackBerry®
“Just finished interviewing @daveohoots of @HootSuite. @UBCSLC #ubcslc :)”

CiTR – Radio Free Thinker

Skeptics discussing Olympics and media, surveillance and security, economic impact and civil liberties – i quite enjoy their show – thanks to @robmagus and pals ~ Note: CiTR is an important cultural resource at University of British Columbia and oddly this my first time being in studio

CKNW news/talk radio

Outside of The Edge pub, spoke about social media and Olympics (and late night partying) on this news/talk station – Translink heard it/Twittered it

Capilano University

Inter-disciplinary class discussing Olympics through a variety of lens – met a Latvian student who helped spread my enthusiasm back home – Chris Brieks started a Facebook Group to rally Lativian Fans in Vancouver 2010



Spoke to Tris Hussey‘s Trendsetters program tomorrow night – packed old-timey suitcase with a mix of Greeks to Geeks, Fuck Stats Make Art and Olympic and Social Media spiels ~ keeping it fresh and spontaneous (note: gained 2 interns from this gig).

Tris gave me some inspiration props in his article for Vancouver Observer: Confessions of an Olympic Curmudgeon in which he shares the vibe:

I was so not looking forward to the Olympics. The crowds, transit delays, favourite places jammed with people…ugh I just didn’t want to have to deal with it. I even had everything planned so I wouldn’t have to leave the house much during the two-weeks of the Winter Games. Then a couple things changed. First Dave Olson guest lectured to my class at BCIT. My students and I were all inspired to get out and chronicle the Games. That got it going, but that didn’t seal the deal. Sure I started to get excited Thursday and Friday, but watching the Opening Ceremonies on Saturday. That did it.

Plus adds more to the mix on his View from The Isle blog: Newly Inspired to Cover the Olympics by Dave Olson – pardon the disjointed snippets (here for the record):

Sabre wine opening at Police Museum by Tris Hussey on Flickr

I’ve been lukewarm on the whole Olympics thing for a while. I’m not a huge fan of large crowds or sports, so the idea of the whole world descending on my fair city wasn’t very appealing. {snip}

Then Dave Olson came to talk to my BCIT class last night.
Dammit Dave, you keep frigging inspiring me to do better, write better, chronicle better. I was at the original True North Media House meetings, but felt I had to stay at arms length from it.

Oh and not only did Dave inspire me, I think better than half of the students in the class are newly inspired to do something during the Games. Leaving class, my students and I were talking about photowalks and just being a part of the whole amazing time.

Yeah, just another standard, run-of-the-mill talk by Dave. Inspire 30 people to do more, write more, contribute more. Nothing much.

Thank you Dave.

Dude you are so welcome man – love seeing your photographic observations from the Games too

Vancouver Film School

The precursor to Social Promotion for Movies guide presented to the entertainment management class with some great students (except for those two who were chatting in the back the whole time) – thanks to @Scales


Bonus: Podcast of my previous lecture at VFS: Lecture on Using Social Media for Artistic Endeavours at Vancouver Film School

Canadian Film and TV Producer Assoc – BC Chapter

As mentioned, I presented Social Promotion for Movies guidebook on behalf of MovieSet (previous employer) to a room of professionals working in a industry of great change – some evolve, some scramble to hide from the changing tide.

blog post: Social Promotion for Movies guidebook – White paper

white paper: Social Promotion Movies Guide

prezo slides: Social Promotion For Movies Prezo

CFAX talk radio

Spoke about media change and the Olympics – unsure if any artifacts exist from this news/talk station


CBC Radio International “The Link”

at CBC studioAnother radio segment for my fave cultural institution, the much maligned CBC – this time on Radio Canada International on the show “The Link” for a panel discussion about the Vancouver Olympics and their legacy. With host Marc Montgomery and a couple other panelists.

The Link episode archive

Episode Audio (CBC player)


Episode: PANEL – OLYMPIC LEGACY: On our weekly panel discussion today, a look at the Vancouver Games and what they’re doing for Canada’s international image.

Our show, “The Link” is the English-language flag-ship program on Radio Canada International (the CBC’s International shortwave service). We’re also heard live on-line at rcinet.ca between 8 am to 10 am Pacific (11 am-1 pm Eastern) and our program re-runs overnights on the main CBC Radio-One network (midnight to 2 am Pacific, 2 am to 4 am Eastern). Our mandate at RCI is to reflect Canada’s various immigrant communities and the issues that affect them, as well as to explain Canada to people around the world.

The panel was pre-taped and aired at 9:30 on Friday Feb 26th, 2010.

Notes for Promoting Movies Online



  • Building the story
  • Inviting to engage

Tip: Really social media like hosting a party without the cleanup. To play a good host, you should provide a comfortable environment, interesting topics to discuss and make sure


Identified audience

A note about Google-juice


Festivals, distributors
Buzz – bring your own audience


Like any successful endeavor, your promotional campaign will be more enjoyable to execute with more success with some planning.

Start with analyzing objectives – each project varies somewhat, but, in general your production promotional campaign is designed to:

  1. Create awareness with potential audience to build excitement about the film
  2. Generate interest from festivals and distributors by engaging audience
  3. Create archive of documentary material to tell the film’s back-story

Producing Promo Content

Tip: Look for shooting days with lots of action and visual interest, i.e.: choose stunt scenes, action sequences, or lots of extras rather than dialog-heavy scenes

Tip: Purchase a couple of FlipHD camera (less than $200) for casual video blogging by cast/crew – let them have fun with it


Once the videos, photo, articles and news are live, it’s time to let people know and invite them to engage.

For starters:

  1. Twitter updates – Set up an account to provide micro-updates to captures your brand name and “back channel” info
  2. Build links – Add links to your MovieSet Sitelet from IMDB, Wikipedia, studio page, Facebook page etc.
  3. Submit socially – Contribute interesting articles or videos to Digg, Stumble Upon, Delicious for the public to review, rate, share

Here are a few more tactics:

  1. Invite friends to become “Fans” of the movie – and comment – on Sitelet
  2. Comment on blog posts discussing the movie
  3. Create video blogs answering fan questions
  4. Provide ways for audience to promote to friends
  5. Set up a Facebook page – Note: MovieSet integrates seamlessly with FB

Optimizing Content

Stills – Standard promotional stills are good but also candid behind-the-scenes shots of cast and crew at work and conceptual art are fantastic

Tip: Be sure to take the time to label with images with a specific title and a detailed description – this is nice to people and great for search engines

Video – Both casual, unedited video blogs and/or more polished featurettes are both highly desired for movie fans & archival use – find unusual stories and unlikely characters

Tip: Set up a space on set where cast/crew can sit down for a comfortable 5 minute conversation when they have time between shots – find unusual stories and unlikely characters.

Blog – Think of the blog as a production journal or scrapbook – blog articles use text narrative to
provide story context to stills and videos


  • Break it up – Use block quotes for long quotations  and subheadings to organize long stories
  • Specific headlines – Write descriptive titles including people’s name – a spicy adjective helps too
  • Tags, you’re it – Include names of actors, including misspelling, plus film jargon like actor, director, adventure, love scene – whatever is applicable.

Links – Point fans to other resources about your movie like IMDB, Wikipedia, studio, production company, distributors, cast personal blogs … it’s up to you

Tip: Acknowledge bloggers who promote your movie with a link back from links or in a blog post – build enthusiasm to evangelize


Notes for Cinema Enthusiasts blog – Miscellania about using social media to promote movies and culture

IndieAGoGo – Raise money and find collaborators

Without a Box – Submit to festivals

MovieSet.com – Free promotional Sitelet (like indie, optimized EPK storage)


  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • IMDB
  • Wikipedia
  • Google Alerts
  • Tubemogul


  • Google Juice
  • Web 2.0
  • Social media
  • Social networking
  • Blogs, Vlogs, Podcasts
  • Web apps
  • RSS
  • Blogs
  • Video-blogs
  • Podcasts

A Tin Tin movie by Spielberg?

My mom sent me this article because i am massive Tin Tin fan

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) – It was a quarter-century in the making but then again, nothing is easy for cartoon heroes such as Tintin.

Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, a division of Viacom Inc. (VIAB), has committed to produce at least one movie about the adventures of the intrepid Belgian reporter, said Nick Rodwell, head of Moulinsart NV, Tintin’s commercial studio, on Thursday.

“After 25 years, they finally said, ‘OK, let’s go,'” Rodwell said of the protracted talks with Spielberg. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rodwell said the Hollywood company will go into preproduction for a movie, which should appear in theaters in about two years.

“It’s been a project on our future development plate here for quite a number of years, always with the idea it was something we would like to make,” DreamWorks spokesman Marvin Levy said Thursday.

A visitor looks at original letters and an enlarged cartoon of Tintin and his dog Snowy by Belgian cartoonist Herge at Paris’ Pompidou Cultural Center,on Dec. 19, 2006 in Paris. The center is hosting an exhibition to mark the centenary of the birth of Tintin’s creator, Belgian cartoonist Herge, whose real name was Georges Remi. Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks company has committed to produce at least one movie on Tintin, the head of the Tintin studio in Brussels, Belgium, announced Thursday, March 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)