June 2013 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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June 2013

‘Great Gatsby’ VFX Before and After

great gatsby

Helping to continue our irregular series of visual effects articles is this new video from visual effects supervisor Chris Godfrey. According to Godfrey, he’s been allowed by director Baz Luhrmann to show this video highglighting the before and after visual effects of his most recent film The Great Gatsby.

This video serves to highlight, once again, what a crucial role visual effects play in modern motion picture production. In truth, it’s hard to imagine a movie made these days (especially a period piece) that didn’t have at least some visual effects shots in it.

With all that it does for filmmakers, let’s hope that the visual effects industry will begin to get the respect it deserves. That would be nice.

Meantime, as I’m a fan of this movie, the director and behind-the-scenes movie secrets in general, this video is pretty interesting to me.

I hope you find it that way as well.

[vimeo 68451324 w=560 h=315]

These Japanese Posters for ‘The Wolverine’ Are Very Cool


In the old days (before the Internet) movie posters were considered a big part of how to market a movie and get people interested in seeing it. Back then, studios also spent a lot more time and money (most of the time) designing said posters.

These days, movie posters mostly tend to look the same. Giant heads of the main actors and maybe an explosion or something. At least in this country. Fortunately, the movies are a global business and we often get some really great posters from elsewhere.

These posters for The Wolverine are a prime example. Check them out below.






Moving On (Again)


H and I are in the process of moving to our new house. If I have anything to say about it, this will be the last move we do for a long time. I don’t enjoy packing. This wish will be made possible, in large part, because the new house is much bigger than we really need so we can grow into it should “Project M” ever decide he needs a sibling, or whatever.

Although, chances of that happening are slim at best. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed not to happen. Besides, he’s got to start learning to live with disappointment and this is as good a time as any to start.

Of course, with the move and move-related activities this week, things are a bit hectic for me, as you might expect. As I mostly work at home these days and have a more “flexible” schedule than H does, many of the moving particulars have fallen to to me.

In truth, it’s not so much the actual move that’s taking a lot of time (although it does), it’s all the other things you need to do to a house before you can move into it and all the logistics involved.

Things like painting, installation of new appliances, transferring of TV and Internet providers, utilities and more take a lot of time. Plus, there’s a lot of other things involved when closing out one household and opening another while also maintaining a third during the process. As I’ve said on more than one occasion, I’m not complaining, just explaining.

All of this leads me to the conclusion that I won’t be writing here (or anywhere) much this week, unless, of course, I am. Also, it’s going to be next Monday before I get Internet in the new place. That’s just the way it goes.

But fear not, I’ll be back soon enough to torment you with tales of my exploits and all the other gems and tidbits you’ve come to expect from this site, and me. I won’t let you down.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the pic above is the J-Pop group “Secret” from their album “Moving In Secret.” Yes, I realize it has no more than a tacit relationship with actual moving, but I thought it would be more interesting than a pic of sweaty dudes hauling boxes.

I hope you agree. And if you don’t, I’ll try to live with the disappointment.

Some Random Things For a Friday


It’s Friday and I’m tired. It’s been a long week mostly spent dealing with contractors, painters and more that will hopefully lead to our house being in order in time to move in next Saturday.

I feel pretty good about the whole process, but it’s exhausting. Fortunately, I’m used to negotiating, so that’s not the problem. The problem is I just want it all to go well and being the fan of control that I am, it’s sometimes hard to rely on other people to do their jobs.

But in the end, all I can do is my best and with a little luck, it will all work out fine. Heck, I’ve produced movies with that kind of philosophy before and those involved a heck of a lot more problems and more money than I’m dealing with now, so I’m really not all that worried about it.

Still, it is exhausting all the same. More than I thought it would be. However, all things considered, I feel very fortunate to be able to have these kinds of problems. It could be far worse. Far worse indeed. Nope, life is good.

Moving on, here’s a few random videos and whatnot for a Friday. Happy Weekend. Try to remember to enjoy yourself.

[vimeo 67871488 w=560 h=315]

A film title designer’s tribute to Alfred Hitchcock

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tto-eTLXEH4?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

If you can’t handle milk and cookies, I feel sorry for you.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFdn2TGx5VE?rel=0&w=560&h=420]

A remix by EclecticMethod from The Sopranos in honor of the dear, departed Mr. James Gandolfini. RIP sir.

Finally, here’s a handy info graphic that tells you all you need to know about the military alphabet. You’re welcome.


‘009ノ1: The End of the Beginning’ Looks Pretty Crazy


I’m a fan of movies from around the world, and this trailer for 009ノ1: The End of the Beginning is one reason why. Sure, it doesn’t have the high dollar production value of a Michael Bay “epic”, but it does have one important thing going for it: heart.

I know, I know, but I can tell these actors, and the rest of the team, are really having a great time here. And that, to me, is pretty important.

I think it makes for better, more entertaining, movies. Plus, I firmly believe loving what you do, and having a great time doing it, applies to pretty much all parts of life, not just work.

We’re all here a relatively short time so let’s try and not get so caught up in the BS and have a little fun along the way, okay? Good.

Turing back to the trailer, no, I can’t tell you what they’re saying or really, what the movie is about. I can tell you it’s based on a classic Manga from the late ’60s, early ’70s and that the movie is hitting Japan in September. Oh, and it has cyborg girls and other interesting bits too.

But all that doesn’t really matter at this point, does it? It just looks cool. Check it out below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1zDPd10YIg?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

I’m Undecided About ‘The LEGO Movie’, Here’s A Trailer Anyway


I loved, loved, loved LEGO as a kid (That’s a lot of love, I know). I’m pretty sure I’ve spent thousands of hours building things with those little multi-colored plastic bricks over the years.

I still have all of my sets too. They are currently in boxes in storage until H and I move into the new house. Then, I will be able to fully unpack all of my sets of bricks and marvel, once again, at the vastness of my empire.

That brings us, somewhat indirectly, to the upcoming LEGO movie. Yes, a LEGO movie. I don’t know about this. What do you think?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPnY2NjSjrg?rel=0]

Jon Snow’s 80’s Style Training Montage

Jon Snow

Game of Thrones is a very popular and extremely well done show on HBO. But, of course, you already know that. But did you know that the ’80’s were a time when the movie training montage came into its own?

There’s lot of examples of ’80’s movies with great training montages like Rocky III, The Karate Kid and Breakin. Heck, even Scarface had a montage. Although, that one wasn’t so much about actual training — unless you count training to be a drug dealer. I do.

But what if you could combine Game of Thrones with an 80’s style training montage? What would that look like? Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder becuase someone on YouTube has already gone ahead and done it. Did you expect anything less?

So, without further delay, here’s Magooch86‘s Game of Thrones ’80’s style training montage featuring everyone’s favorite man of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow.

That’s right, we’re gonna need a montage.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npdARG8ffms?rel=0]

(h/t to Star Foster for the link)

A First Father’s Day

Father's Day

My father passed away several years ago and since that time I haven’t given as much thought to Father’s Day. On the day I do think about my father more than I normally do, but as he isn’t with me, I honor him in ways that don’t involve brunch or unattractive neckwear. I don’t think he would mind.

However, things are a bit different on this particular Father’s Day. What’s different? Well, in a nutshell, this is my first Father’s Day as a father. Yep.

Okay, in truth, my child hasn’t actually been born yet, but I think that’s a technicality. He’s in there cooking away, doing great and is due to arrive in early September. That is, if he stays on schedule.

Since he is my son, I know his sense of timing will be impeccable and I expect he will arrive exactly when he means to and not a second too soon, or too late. Just like his father. He also has my good looks, of course.

So, this Father’s Day is quite a bit more special than it normally would be. That’s not to take anything away from my own father. He was a complex guy who taught me a lot of things, not the least of which was to question everything and always strive to better myself. He was also one of the first people to believe in me, much like my mother, and for that I will always be grateful.

I wish my father and my son could meet, but they never will. All I can do is make sure he knows about his Grandfather and how much his hard work and wisdom meant to me over the years. My son will know. I’ll make sure of it.

But this particular post isn’t about the past. It’s about the future.

It’s about a future where I will, after long last, be a father. A future where I will experience the world through the eyes of someone to whom it’s all brand new.

I know it won’t be easy and I know it’s a huge responsibility. I also know it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

And I can’t wait for it to start.

Trouble Sleeping? It Could Be Your Gadgets


How are you sleeping? Do you have trouble? It could be your gadgets.

In truth, I don’t know if anything from the handy infographic below applies to me or not. I do know I frequently use my iPhone, or one of my other gadgets, in bed right before I try to fall asleep.

I also know that I used to be able to sleep very well and make it all the way through the night with no problem. Now, not so much. In fact, these days, I occasionally suffer from insomnia and can’t sleep much at all.

So I have to wonder, is it my gadgets? Maybe so. To find out, I’m going to try a little experiment.

For the next few weeks I’m going to make a conscious effort not to look at my iPhone, laptop or other backlit gadget in the hour or so before I try to fall asleep. That also means I’m going to have to switch back to the older Kindle, without the backlight, if I want to read any books. Or, I guess I could just read an actual book. That would probably work too.

It may be difficult at first, but I think I’m up to the challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now, where did I put my glasses?


The History of the Superman ‘S’ Logo

Superman, Man of Steel

In honor of Man of Steel, Zach Snyder’s take on Superman (which opens tonight at midnight), I thought it would be fun to take a look at the evolution of Superman’s “S” logo over the years. Fortunately, someone has already thought of the idea and created a handy infographic showing all of the logos since the character was first introduced in Action Comics #1 in 1938.

Yes, there’s a lot of them. And yes, I think they’ve gotten better over the years. Of course, I do have a special place for the one from 1978. That’s the one worn by Christopher Reeve in Richard Donner’s classic Superman, which I saw in the theater with my parents on opening weekend.

That’s the logo, and the movie, that made a young boy truly believe a man could fly. As cliche’ as that may sound today, after a heavy dose of Star Wars the year before and a whole host of other sci-fi, fantasy and comic book influences and input on a daily basis, I was ready to believe . . . And I did.

Let’s hope Snyder’s Man of Steel can work that same magic again on the much older and somewhat cynical (yet still a kid at heart) adult I’ve become. I don’t think it’s too late for me. I think there’s still a chance.

Because, dammit, I want to believe again.