Chicken Little TV spots

Check out this new TV spot for Disney’s Chicken Little. I’m not sure it’s as effective as it could be since, while it gives the story in very broad strokes, it spends a lot of time on one joke for which we are not given the context. It’s a thirty second spot and it seems like a third of that time is spent on that one joke. While it might be hilarious within the movie it just sort of sits there in the commercial.

Anywhere, here are the links for a variety sizes and formats:

Quicktime (small)
Quicktime (large)
Windows Media (small)
Windows Media (large)

Light posting ahead

I may not be getting to all the things I want to over the next couple of weeks. Specifically, there may be some movies I want to cover here on the blog as “Mini MMM” pieces but won’t have the time for. My company is sending me on some trips to speak to PRSA chapters on blogs, RSS and podcasting and so five out of the next ten business days will be spent going to or coming from O’Hare International Airport. It’s exciting stuff but prep work and actual traveling means less time to spout my half-thought out opinions on recent movie campaigns.

Superman Returns teaser trailer

I don’t quite know whether to call this an actual teaser trailer for Superman Returns or not. It’s a promotional reel that was shown at a recent Comic-Con gathering that certainly looks like a teaser. Ahh heck, I’ll just keep it simple and call it that.

Anyway, this teaser is very cool. I’m excited about director Bryan Singer’s concept of using the first two movies as the jumping off point for this new installment and the footage in this one establishes just that conceit. You see the Fortress of Solitude, the Daily Planet building, even a rooftop garden that no working journalist would be able to afford. You really have to watch it for yourself.

It occurs to me that DC is now doing with it’s comic characters just what Marvel did four or five years ago. Take a director that is talented, give him a story to create and work with and let him make an actual movie, not just a commercial for action figure tie-ins. Marvel did it with X-Men (Bryan Singer) and Spider-Man (Sam Raimi) in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Now DC has done it with Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan) and will do it with Superman Returns (Singer, poached from the X-Men franchise) and then Wonder Woman (Buffy creator Joss Whedon). Nothing better epitomizes Marvel’s shift to just wanting to generate cash from trying to create quality product like their hiring of Brett Ratner to direct the new X-Men flick.

11/18 UPDATE: The official teaser trailer has been released. Read my thoughts on it here.

Movie Journal Quick Takes 9/26/05

It’s been a while since I updated my Movie Journal so here you go with some quick recaps of what I’ve watched in the last month and a half or so.

8/17 – Sin City: A wonderfully violent movie that has such striking visuals it’s not even funny. The performances by Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke are outstanding, not to mention Elijah Wood. If he wants to break out of the typecasting that he and the rest of the Lord of the Rings cast might be subject to it would be wise for he and them to take more roles like this. And the costumes on Jessica Alba, Britney Murphy and Rosario Dawson really are things of wonder. I’m serious, they’re works of art. I want to meet the costume designer and just give him or her a big hug. That aside it’s a great movie and I can’t wait for the directors cut DVD that’s on the way soon. (MMM column here.)

8/24 – Coupling, Season 2: More sex-filled goodness from across the pond as Steve and Susan get more serious and the others bounce around their unfocused lives. Good stuff.

8/31 – Off the Map: Good flick. Great performances by Jim True and Joan Allen. Every bit as good as I was expecting and then some. Too often these types of movies that deal with out-of-the-mainstream people veer into quirky but this one keeps the tone serious and never presents anything or anybody as caricatures. I really enjoyed it. (MMM column here.)

9/2 – Angel, Season 1: My brother-in-law graciously lent me his copies of the first three seasons of this Buffy spin-off and I’m slowly working my way through them. This first season has its uneven moments but is at its best when it sets up the mythology of the series. That’s especially true in the episodes where Angel and the gang begin dealing with Wolfram & Hart, attorneys from hell.

9/6 – Coupling, Season 3: This season not only are Susan and Steve moving forward with their relationship but Patrick and Sally are increasingly having to deal with their feelings for each other. Seeing the unrepentant playboy Patrick slowly come to terms with the feelings even he didn’t know he had is great fun.

9/7 – Coupling, Season 4: The absence of Jeff is keenly felt this time around. His replacement, Oliver, just can’t match him as the much-needed comic foil of the group. Oliver’s just too earnest and his relationship with Jane feels forced, like the writers felt they really had to push her together with him. I’m just glad they haven’t done a fifth season, since the addition of the baby born to Susan at the end of this one would have completely ruined the dynamic.

9/8 – Ocean’s Twelve: Is it as good as the first one? No, but then again I don’t really think it was meant to be. They had to know there was no way to top the attitude of 11 so instead of trying they just set out to try again at having some fun while shooting a movie. No, Steven Soderberg didn’t sell out his artistic soul. He’s just taking a break from being all serious. Everyone occasionally likes low-brow entertainment and when it’s done as well and as slickly as this that’s fine by me. (MMM column here.)

9/13 – My First Mister: Good flick with Leelee Sobieski and Albert Brooks. Nothing remarkable but pretty good. Brooks gives an above average performance right up until the last third of the movie, but that’s the fault of the script not Brooks.

9/14 – Ikuru: It’s been too long since I dived into Kurosawa’s world. A remarkable story of a mid-level government functionary who one day, when he’s presented with his own mortality, discovers he’s capable of doing extraordinary things. Incredibly well written, shot and acted, it’s a masterpiece. There’s nothing more I can say.

9/15 – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: What a disappointment. There are some good bits, but they all involve the narrator and not the actors. Other than that there are too many Vogons, not enough laughs and altogether too much of the wrong sort of characterizations of both Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox. Martin Freeman does what he can with Arthur Dent but it’s a thankless role in anyone’s hands. Ford and Zaphod, though…well, I was just disappointed. Actually one of my favorite bits was Bill Nighly as Slartibartfast. Unfortunately by the time they got to his part of the story the movie only had about 25 minutes left and they really fucked up everything from that point on. This book, and all subsequent ones, really should be 3-4 hour Lord of the Rings type epics, not less than 2 hour toss-offs. (MMM column here.)

9/21 – Crash: Good movie, but very disturbing. I think it might have made some its points a bit too strongly but overall I thought it was well above average. Almost uniform in terms of strong performances, even if most of them strictly involved emoting for long periods of time. Still, I liked the back-and-forth nature of watching the stories unwind.

9/21 – Angel, Season 2: Now here’s where the show really kicked into gear. Wolfram & Hart penetrate every aspect of this season, even the season-ending trip to Pylea and that’s a good thing. The production values are better and it just seems as if everyone involved has found the key to their characters and the new settings they find themselves in. Can’t wait to get into season number three.

9/22 – Lost in America: As big a fan as I am of Albert Brooks there are a good number of his movies I haven’t seen. Cross this one off that list. Brooks plays, well, the same character he does in most other films, with Airplane’s Julie Hagerty as his wife. The two drop out of society and basically ruin their lives and their careers in pursuit of a few adventures in this very funny comedy.

Preparing the presentation

I’m aware that some, if not most, of readers of this blog are students of Prof. French. No doubt you are, have or will be going through some sort of class on public speaking and presentation preparation. I remember mine quite well as quite possibly one of the most uncomfortable classes I ever took in pursuit of my communications/PR education. The topics were more or less assigned to us and the structure of the presentation was dictated as well. In other words we were told what we would be speaking on (or at least given a narrow range of choices) and what format it would need to be in.

Prepping a presentation outside of that sort of structured environment is quite different, or at least it has been for me. I’ve been given the opportunity to speak on something (blogs, RSS and such) that is a passion of mine and been given the latitude to prepare it as I see fit. Despite the concern I’ve heard recently that presentations need to move beyond PowerPoint at this time there’s no real alternative that’s readily available. So here is how I’ve been working on the presentation I’ll be giving on my upcoming Chris Thilk Flying Blog Presentation Tour.

First – Outlining the general topics I will be discussing. This actually went through several drafts as ideas were dropped in and came out. I had to keep in mind this is supposed to be a 45-60 minute deal so I couldn’t hop down all the bunny-trail tangents I want to.

Second – Brainstorming the bullet points under each topic. I had to keep in mind this is supposed to be a high-level overview and that everyone in the audience may not have the knowledge base I do. There’s a fine line to be drawn when figuring out how much detail to go into. You have to give enough that the topic is understood without going too deep. If you go past that then you get into minutia that is neither all that important to general understanding nor pertinent to how the audience will be looking to utilize the knowledge you give them.

Third – Drafting the presentation. This actually took the most time since putting things in a logical order is difficult. You have to make sure you lay the foundation in slide five for something that will be expounded upon in slide 15. Mix those two up and you have a very disjointed bit of rhetoric.

Fourth – Revisions after soliciting input. I got some great notes from the people I ran this past while working on it. I’m a big believer in group brainstorming as a way to flesh out ideas and this is exactly why. There were points I thought were strong that upon reflection weren’t.

Fifth – Doing a dress rehearsal. I got up in front of a few of the folks here at work and went through the presentation exactly as I would have in front of a live audience. That includes making the opening joke to asking questions, even if you have to imagine the answers. There’s nothing like giving the actual presentation to show you where the weaknesses are, which parts to take more time on and which parts can be sped through. If you’re working on one then get a group of willing friends to sit in a room and be your trial audience.

Sixth – Figuring out the asides. I’m an informal speaker, so only about half my presentation is going to be on the screen. The other half is in my head in the form of anecdotes, experience and other points that don’t fit well in PowerPoint. I printed out the slides I would be using with a field for notes on the side and filled in the extra points I want to make alongside the corresponding slide.

Finally – Prepping audience materials. Whenever I saw a presentation I loved getting a printed copy of the slides and so will be handing those out to attendees, complete with the notes field on the right so they can scrible their own questions/issues. I’m also going to be putting together a sheet of links to various websites where they can do their own research and investigation. Nothing leads to behavioral change like having to do work yourself so urging them to visit these sites and read the information for themselves will likely lead to a better understanding of the subject matter.

I hope this helps. Drop me a comment if you have any questions.

Memoirs of a Geisha trailer

Yahoo! Movies is the only place you’ll find the first trailer for Memoirs of a Geisha, the story of a poor girl sold by her family who goes on to become the most sought-after geisha of her time. It certainly has aspirations of epicness but I’m not sure it gets there. It sets up the conflict and story-driver well but is a little too melodramatic for my tastes. Visually it’s very rich and appealing but I’m afraid there’s going to be little under that asthetic surface.

Goblet of Fire theatrical trailer

ComingSoon has the first full trailer for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in sizes and flavors to suit anyone’s needs.

The darker this series gets the more I’m inclined to check it out but I’m not quite there yet. This trailer works pretty well and includes most if not all the major plots that will be covered I imagine (I’ve never read the books so don’t actually know). The action sequences still seem like they’re what are driving the movies and not the story itself, which is perhaps what makes me resist them. Anyway, watch for yourself and decide.

Advertising on and pitching to MMM

I’ve been thinking a bit lately on the overall structure of MMM and want to make a few things clear.

First, in terms of advertising, I’m completely dependent on the kindness of strangers that visit the blog. I have Google AdSense ads going and just above those are links to AllPosters and Amazon. Buying something from either of those two sites supports this one and I genuinely appreciate you using them if you’re looking for something to adorn your walls or plug into your DVD player respectively. I’m not expecting to make huge bank from this but anything helps.

Secondly, in terms of pitching things stories to me or alerting me of new things I might be interested in, feel free. I’d very much be interested in getting press releases and other promotional swag from new movies so that I can review it as well as just posters, trailers and websites. Use the email address to the left (moviemarketingmadness-at-gmail-dot-com) to send me anything or to contact me and I’ll pass them along in some form or another to my audience, such as it is.

I know I get some visits from a couple of studios and just wanted to make this clear to them as well as my general audience.

–Chris