|By: dakine01 Sunday May 19, 2013 6:30 pm|
|By: dakine01 Saturday May 18, 2013 6:30 pm|
|By: dakine01 Sunday May 12, 2013 6:30 pm|
|By: dakine01 Saturday May 11, 2013 6:30 pm|
|By: dakine01 Saturday May 11, 2013 5:15 am|
Ray Harryhausen, one of Hollywood’s greatest, died on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 92. In today’s era of computer generated imagery (CGI), it may be a bit difficult to realize the impact he had on science fiction and fantasy movies where all of the animation is done by hand:
In most of Harryhausen’s films, model animated characters interact with, and are a part of, the live action world, with the idea that they will cease to call attention to themselves as “animation.” Most of the effects shots in his earliest films were created via Harryhausen’s careful frame-by-frame control of the lighting of both the set and the projector dramatically reduced much of degradation common in the use of back-projection or the creation of dupe negatives via the use of an optical printer. Harryhausen’s use of diffused glass to soften the sharpness of light on the animated elements allowed the matching of the soft background plates far more successfully than Willis O’Brien had achieved in his early films, allowing Harryhausen to match live and miniature elements seamlessly in most of his shots. By developing and executing most of this miniature work himself, Harryhausen saved money, while maintaining full technical control.
This is the write-up I did on Harryhausen movies a couple of years ago when I did my Essential Movies for Saturday Art over the first few months of 2011. I covered Harryhausen films under Sword and Sorcery:
I have to start any discussion of Sword and Sorcery movies with Ray Harryhausen and his special effects. Jason and the Argonauts is the first movie I listed for this category and The Clash of the Titans (first version) is second. Other Harryhausen produced movies on my list here are The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (with the future Mrs Bing Crosby), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.
Jason and the Argonauts is considered Harryhausen’s masterpiece work with the “seven skeletons” fighting “Jason” and two of his crew members. The original Clash of the Titans was his final special effects film. He also was responsible for three different Sinbad movies; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad with Kerwin Mathews in the lead role; The Golden Voyage of Sinbad with John Phillip Law as Sinbad; and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger with Patrick Wayne as Sinbad.
For what it might be worth, I never watched any of these Harryhausen movies with an eye toward deep philosophy or anything. They were escapist brain candy and nothing more. But Harryhausen was able to mix animation and live-action to create worlds of wonder. The Los Angeles Times notes:
The fantasy world of Ray Harryhausen inspired Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron and many other filmmakers, some of whom have paid cinematic homage to the special-effects maestro.
USA Today ledes with:
Way before movies like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings inspired the imagination of film lovers everywhere, audiences were enraptured by the sword-wielding skeletons of Jason and the Argonauts, the great ape of Mighty Joe Young and the dinosaurs opposite Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.
The New York Times ends their obit of Harryhausen with a quote from him:
“There’s a strange quality in stop-motion photography, like in ‘King Kong,’ that adds to the fantasy,” he said in 2006. “If you make things too real, sometimes you bring it down to the mundane.”
And because I can:
|By: dakine01 Sunday May 5, 2013 6:30 pm|
|By: dakine01 Sunday May 5, 2013 8:10 am|
Growing up, if we didn’t have fried chicken for Sunday dinner, we most likely had a pot roast. While Dad was the one who made the fried chicken (unless we were visiting one of his sisters for dinner), both Mom and Dad could do a pretty good pot roast. Our stove had a built in “dutch oven” so that was what was used most of the time for the pot roast.
Today, I am most likely to make my pot roast in the crock pot. In fact, that is what my Sunday dinner this afternoon will be – a crock pot pot roast. It is really quite simple. This morning after my breakfast, I grabbed some red potatoes. The smaller ones I did not touch but the larger ones, I cut up into chunks so that everything is about the same size. I think I started with 8 total red potatoes. Sometimes, I will use standard russet potatoes and for those, I go for 2 or 3 depending on the size. For all the potatoes, I wash them off but generally leave the skin on. The other vegetables are carrots, celery, and oan-yoan. (Love me some good oan-yoan – and for those who don’t understand Justin Wilson style ‘English’ that is onion.)
Today, I am making a small (1 1/2 pound) sirloin tip roast. I rubbed the roast with some minced garlic then salt and fresh ground pepper over the top then into the crock post on top of the veggies. I chose this as it was on sale. Other times, I will just use a chuck roast.
I did not do this today but sometimes I will coat the roast in flour and sear it in a hot skillet on all sides before putting it in the pot. I also was feeling too lazy to tie the roast up today. I usually do this with the chuck roasts.
I did add about a spoonful of flour and a half cup of water so I should wind up with the gravy as I go along. The last time I made a pot roast a few weeks ago, I just added the half cup of water then made the gravy after everything was finished cooking.
The main thing about using a crock pot is it is virtually impossible to really screw things up, no matter what you are making. I rarely make things the same way, even using the crock pot. I just throw together a mix of food and spices that seem like they might work together. As always, the key is to know your own tastes and cook accordingly.
And because I can:
|By: dakine01 Saturday May 4, 2013 6:30 pm|