Saturday, June 13, 2015

Christopher Lee 1922-2015

Legendary actor Christopher Lee died Sunday in London at the age of 93. Today he is probably most famous for bringing to life Saruman but his career spans decades as his Guinness World Record of 259 movies roles attest to.

Christopher Lee was born in London on May 27, 1922. Served during World War II first as part of the Royal Air Force and then as an intelligence in their elite Special Operations Executive on missions that remain classified. He mostly worked in the African and European theatre of war helping to retake Sicily. By the time his tour of duty was over he had received commendations for bravery from four governments including his own. After the war, at the ripe old age of 25 he became an actor and started a career that would last 7 decades. The actor was James Bond creator Ian Fleming first choice for the role of Bond and personally received the permission of JRR Tolkien to play Gandalf which he fought for but was considered to old when the role became available in Peter Jackson's opus. His version of Dracula is considered definitive and often emulated today as is his version of the eye patched Rochefort.

His volume of acting is so great that there really should be a "3 Degrees of Christopher Lee" as he can connect to any actor in only 2.59 steps. He never received award accolades but then he never seem to care about prestige of a role, just that it was another chance to act. When you get a chance you should check out his filmography, I suspect you will find him in more than a few favorite films. The acting world lost a giant but the legacy of film he left behind will last for generations.

Peter Jackson summed him up best:

Christopher spoke seven languages; he was in every sense, a man of the world; well versed in art, politics, literature, history and science. He was scholar, a singer, an extraordinary raconteur and of course, a marvelous actor. One of my favourite things to do whenever I came to London would be to visit with Christopher and Gitte where he would regale me for hours with stories about his extraordinary life. I loved to listen to them and he loved to tell them - they were made all the more compelling because they were true - stories from his time with the SAS, through the Second World War, to the Hammer Horror years and later, his work with Tim Burton - of which he was enormously proud.

I was lucky enough to work with Chris on five films all told and it never ceased to be a thrill to see him on set. I remember him saying on my 40th Birthday (he was 80 at the time), “You’re half the man I am”. Being half the man Christopher Lee is, is more than I could ever hope for. He was a true gentleman, in an era that no longer values gentleman.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

RIP LOTR Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie

Monday Peter Jackson's long time Oscar winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie died of a heart attack at age 59. His work with Peter Jackson goes all the way back to the Fellowship of the Ring (which one him his Oscar) and continued from there to the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, The Lovely Bones, The Hobbit Trilogy, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. His final film, The Water Diviner, was just released in theaters. AICN's Quint has a lovely eulogy for the famed cinematographer whose work helped create how we see Middle-Earth. Condolences to his friends and family.

Update: Peter Jackson has commented on the death of his "brother":
“Being an only child, I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother. It wasn’t until today, in trying to deal with the terrible news of Andrew’s passing, that I came to realise how much he had become that person for me – someone I could intrinsically love and trust – which I know now means someone who is up for all the good and the bad. Andrew was an irreplaceable part of my family and I am in total disbelief that I’ll never again hear his infectious laugh, nor benefit from his quiet wisdom, or enjoy his generous praise. Andrew created unforgettable, beautiful images on screen, and he did this time and again, because he only ever served what he believed in – he was his own artist, separate from me, but always working generously to make what we were trying to create together better. On set we developed an ability to work together using a minimum of words – a rare meeting of minds. I will always remember turning up, countless times, at five in the morning – all those quiet moments I had with him when I could step on to set and know he was there – unfazed, ready, listening, interested, more importantly – ready to catch me if I faltered. He always had my back. The more anxious I became, the more calm he would be. A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in. After 17 years and 8 movies together, the loss of Andrew is very hard to bear.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Everything Wrong with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

For your enjoyment, here is the amusing countdown of "Everything Wrong with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." As usual this is in fun and purposely over (if accurately) over analyzes the movie.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Honest Trailer and HISHE for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

For your amusement here are the Honest Trailer and How It Should Have Ended videos for the just released on home video The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Home Video Out Now

Just a friendly reminder that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is now available (at least in the US) on Blu-ray and DVD. Hit the links here to order from Amazon or at least get the details on the extra features. To order rom Amazon, click here: 3D Combo Pack | Combo Pack | DVD

So far it seems that thanks to cover gimmicks and the like the average cost depending on store for the Combo Pack is around $25, the 3D combo pack is around $28. and DVD for $15. The extended edition is still expected sometime around Christmas time but no details yet.