« June 2005 | Main | December 2005 »

November 27, 2005

‘Monk’ filming in San Francisco

Monk on the run
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
So I was in San Francisco on business last week. My hotel was just north of Union Square, and on Thursday, I noticed a film crew in Union Square. There was no sign of who was filming; I saw a number of attractive young actors and actresses, and assumed it might be a commercial shoot. Turns out, it was an episode of USA Network's "Monk", with Tony Shalhoub. I think by the time I got there, the stars had already cleared out.

I'm a fan of "Monk", which features Shalhoub, of "Wings", Galaxy Quest, and a few dozen other film and TV roles, as a detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

On Friday, when I finished with work, I had about 9 hours to kill, so I headed up Columbus toward San Francisco's tourist center along the Embarcadero, camera bag at the ready. Partway through North Beach, I came upon another film crew aiming up the steepest part of Kearney Street (the Macchiarini Steps). Suddenly, a motorcycle came flying down the steps behind Shalhoub and his costar, Traylor Howard.

There I was with my trusty d70 and a 28-200, and a clear view of the action. Here's the Flickr photoset I shot.

November 27, 2005 in Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I've just come from the preview of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the 4th movie in the Harry Potter series.

Book 4 is my favorite of the series, but from the first time I read it, I wondered how anyone could bring it to the screen. It's the most sprawling of the books, with a Quidditch World Cup, a Triwizard Tournament, a missing persons subplot tied into Voldemort's efforts to return to full power, background on Voldemort's followers (the Death Eaters -- a punk band name if I ever heard one) and the usual schoolwork and adolescent angst. It just seems impossible to squeeze 734 pages into 2.5 hours on screen.

I was dead wrong. Where I felt cheated by some of the "what's out" choices made by Alphonse Cuaron, director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Mike Newell (working with a Steve Kloves script) has nailed it with the latest edition.

As the series gets darker, Newell and Kloves deftly play up the humor in J.K. Rowling's work to give us a roller-coaster ride, focusing on the two tournaments and Voldemort's efforts to regain corporeal form, which together make up the heart of Rowling's book.

The cast also lightens the mood, as the regulars have grown comfortable enough to play off the groundwork established in movies 1 through 3 and offer up clever bits of stage business. Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, in particular, get a chance to ham it up a bit.

If they're a bit of ham, Brendan Gleeson, as Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, is the whole pig, munching the scenery on a glorious turn through the most entertaining Defense Against the Dark Arts role yet (sorry, Kenneth Branagh).

Also new on board are Ralph Fiennes, who will be back, and Miranda Richardson, who won't.

The special effects are flawless. From the snake's-eye introduction and the combat portions of the tournament, all the way through the final confrontation, all were spectacular. Never once did I find myself saying "That's not how that should look."

My 10-year-old Harry Potter nut loved it, instantly proclaiming it her favorite movie of all time.

I won't go that far, but I would definitely rate it the best Harry Potter movie yet.

November 15, 2005 in Film, Reviews | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 01, 2005

10.4.3 released; thrill-seekers only for now

I'm one for two with Apple's new 10.4.3 release; it installed without incident on my 12" PowerBook (867 mHz), but rebooted to a kernel panic on the Dual-2.5 gHz Power Mac G5.

I removed all my external devices, ethernet included, and rebooted, still to be greeted by the kernel panic screen. Booting in verbose mode (command-v at startup) showed me a failed dependency when loading the Kensington MouseWorks software, so I came back in safe boot (shift key at startup), ran the MouseWorks uninstaller (by the way, I initially had version 2.6, but upgraded to 2.8 during a brief period of stability, and got the kernel panics back), and rebooted, and, voila, all is back to normal.

It's possible that the real culprit was some interplay between MouseWorks and MouseZoom, which I use to overclock my cursor zooming, but now that MouseWorks is uninstalled, I find that all I'm giving up is custom application settings -- the standard keyboard/mouse drivers do a more than passable job driving my PilotMouse Optical Wireless (bought by mistake: I HATE wireless mice).

November 1, 2005 in Apple - Software | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack