People

Heath Ledger: An Indepth Look

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Many people got to know Heath’s movies.

I wasn’t one of those people.

No, unfortunately his death was our introduction.  I had heard his name, knew he was an actor and could have rattled off a couple movies he had done, but that was it.  I knew little about about the actor and even less about the man.

When I was hit with the title, “Heath Ledger found dead at 28″ on my homepage on January 22, 2008, I literally felt I had been slapped across the face.  Not because of who was, but how old he was. 28. I was then 28 and going through a hard time.  That connection jolted me into reality and just how fast life can be taken away.  Ended.

It was harrowing to hear someone had died so young, especially for the reasons surrounding his death, but I eventually moved on.  It was in the coming months I would continue to see headlines about Heath Ledger pop up on my homepage.  The constant reminders began to cultivate a curiosity inside me.  Who was Heath Ledger?  Why was the media giving him so much attention, other than the fact he died so young?  In other words, what made him so special?

That’s when I decided to

get to know Heath Ledger.

As an actor and as a person.

There are always shades of grey.

The highlights.

On screen Heath could be anyone, but in reality he only played himself.  He flashed his honesty in the face of us all.  He held nothing back and had nothing to lose.  His smile was fearless, his eyes were endless and his soul rejoiced in the marvels of the human spirit.

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Naomi Watts on Heath while filming Ned Kelly.  “I hadn’t really been that familiar with his work,” Watts recalls. “Then, when I got to the set and did that first scene with him, I was like, ‘Wow! This guy is alive.’ It was just something deep in his eyes. You could look into them, and they would tell a thousand stories in one glance. There was a wonderful mixture of power and fragility at work in everything he did, which just pulls you in. His strength didn’t scare you. It intrigued you. And his fragility touched you.”

And there was something about him that kept us from feeling he was a movie star at all and made him feel like one of us.  And that’s how he wanted it.  Early in his film career Heath desperately tried to escape the pretty boy image Hollywood had pinned on him.  He was willing to do anything to keep growing professionally and personally. Being a movie star and poster boy for Hollywood propaganda was the last thing Heath wanted to be.

Heath was an incredibly perceptive, sensitive, vulnerable and reserved person juggling a semi-frantic nervousness.  Often finding it difficult to sit still during interviews, on the set Heath managed to harness this energy, channeling it into his roles and creating characters that would soon redefine the entertainment industry.  His acting ability became a finely tuned instrument capable of producing pitch perfect performances.

On acting, Heath once said,

“part of the magic of acting is,

you harness the infinite

power of belief.”

It was this infinite power of belief, coupled with his presence on the screen and masterful art of pacing – timing - which helped him create unforgettable characters. This man didn’t make movies, he made film history.   And the industry believed he could do no wrong, but Heath always kept himself in check, never getting cocky or over confident about his talents.

Heath on actors.  ”I think that’s the problem with a lot of actors in the industry. We all just think we’re brilliant, you know? And ninety-eight percent of us are crap. And we’ve got to realize that, before we can improve.”

One thing I find so humbling about Heath, is that even he had to start somewhere. This is an excerpt from Rolling Stones interview with him in March 2006.

“Ledger enlisted his mother on a reassurance mission: He was really just terrible in the show (Sweat, an Australian TV Show) — wasn’t he? He couldn’t act at all — could he? ”And she just said, ‘Well, that’s OK.’ The honesty kind of slipped out of her, in the most beautiful way. She didn’t even bother with ‘No, honey, you were great, I’m so proud of you.” No one else around you, except your mum, is going to tell you that, you suck. She straight-up told me. ‘There are other things to do in life.”’

78th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

When Brokeback Mountain

came out the rising waters

from overnight stardom

came surging from all sides.

Michelle Williams, the young woman who played his ill-fated wife in Brokeback Mountain and whom he fell in love with on and off the set, became the rock that kept Heath grounded.  She was a powerful force in his life.  Heath once said in a German interview that Michelle was his greatest strength.

“She’s my soul mate and we couldn’t love each other any more than we do already. We’re like two peas in a pod.” — (on Michelle Williams, girlfriend and mother of his daughter)

Michelle reflected on Heath’s many talents.  “He was good at sports. He was good at directing.”

“He was good at painting. He was good at taking pictures.  He was good at building things. It could be infuriating to a lot of his friends, I mean, he had a talent for everything that he put his mind to, pretty much, so he didn’t know limits.”

“Maybe he had never been told that he couldn’t do something, so everything was possible for him.”

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Heath was also a gracious and loving father filled with adoration for his daughter, Matilda Rose; the joy of his life.  Daughters can do no wrong in the eyes of their father.  There’s a reason you never hear, “mommy’s little girl.”

“Matilda is adorable, and beautifully observant and wise. Michelle an I love her so much. Becoming a father exceeds all my expectations. It’s the most remarkable experience I’ve ever had – it’s marvelous.”

There are always shades of grey.

The shadows.

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Michelle softly recalled.  “For as long as I’d known him, he had bouts with insomnia. He just had too much energy.”

“His mind was turning, turning, turning – always turning. He had an uncontrollable energy. He buzzed. He would jump out of bed.”

In Todd Haynes film, I’m Not There, a heterogeneous portrait of music giant Bob Dylan, he directed Heath and Michelle and remembers how the actor would need to lean on her during their summer shoot in 2006. “The night before we were going to shoot a scene, he started to have a real panic about it.”

Haynes continues, “He had to call Michelle in New York, who talked him through relaxation methods to try to get him asleep. He said he was just curled up in a corner holding one of Matilda’s stuffed animals, and he slept about an hour and came on set.”

Heath slowly turned more and more into himself. With sleepless nights as the norm and an on again off again affair with alcohol and drugs, Heath and Michelle’s relationship began to feel the stress and in September 2007 they decided to break up, yet remain dedicated parents.

The entries are provocative, revolting,

open like a festering wound and

bleeding with literary genious.

Last year, writer Lisa Taddeo constructed a fictional account of Heath Ledger’s last few days for Esquire magazine.  It is a most intriguing read, setting the stage for his final days with startling imagery.  In this fictitious report, Heath, knowing he’s going to die in a few days, writes in his journal with petrifying detail about the events of each day leading up to his death.  In this make-believe diary, with its caustic tone, rank with ridicule, a voice of Heath can still be felt seeping through.  Read this arresting and controversial article here.

Heath wasn’t just famous for movies.  He was also famous for mocking the establishment that employed him. He was generous to offer sarcasm or a smart-ass remark without invitation, simply showing his innate freedom and frankness in all things.  As an actor he was courageous, as a man he was genuine.

When remembering Heath Ledger,

I don’t think of the things

he stood up to.

I think of what he stands for.

For taking risks, because you only live once and you have nothing to lose.  For being strong in who you are and never being pulled into being someone you’re not.  For loving life and experiencing it to the fullest humanly possible.  By daring to defy and in doing so defining yourself.

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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, composed by Elliot Goldenthal, is one of those film scores that truly is a diamond in the rough.  It deserves to be recognized and lauded for the masterwork that it is.  Any imperfections the film has are effortlessly surpassed by the score’s underlying power and radiance.  It is also the only movie DVD I’ve seen featuring an exclusive full-length movie commentary by the film’s composer. Only the film’s music and composer’s commentary can be heard during this special feature.  If you know of any other movies that include composer commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, etc., I would absolutely love to hear about them!

Elliot Goldenthal’s detailed analysis and perspectives on his approach, composition, instrumentation and themes are incredibly insightful and enlightening and make watching the entire film again a thrilling experience! It has also had a huge impact on my overall fondness for the film.

I’m also drawn to ensemble casts. It’s difficult enough to create several characters with enough depth and individuality for audiences to care about, it’s even harder when the characters are 3D animated. Music plays many roles in film and in animated movies they truly Regardless, Aki and Gray’s revealed relationship and rekindling bond throughout the film is endearing. During the final scenes of the movie I can’t help but cry my eyes out…and I know for a fact that it is the music that makes me melt everytime.

The videos at the bottom include “Adagio And Transfiguration,” the exquisite culmination of themes from the movie, “The Dream Within,” performed by Lara Fabian and the movie trailer.  “The Dream Within” is a marvelous song, also composed by Elliot Goldenthal, with touching lyrics by Richard Rudolph.

“Adagio And Transfiguration” has a delicate, raw brilliance. In its humble beginnings, the flute slowly churns into strings and woodwinds. They gradually strengthen and unravel, giving birth to a behemoth of brass horns.  Their raw power spirals toward Heaven and hovers there in a single sliver of blue light.  Its omnipotence graces every emotion and every spirit, before gently releasing its power, allowing each spirit to softly fall and find their way back to the earth.

Close your eyes and enjoy… “Adagio And Transfiguration”

“The Dream Within,” end song performed by the lovely Lara Fabian.

Now, watch the movie trailer…

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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, composed by Elliot Goldenthal, is one of those film scores that truly is a diamond in the rough.  It deserves to be recognized and lauded for the masterwork that it is.  Any imperfections the film has are effortlessly surpassed by the score’s underlying power and radiance.  It is also the only movie DVD I’ve seen featuring an exclusive full-length movie commentary by the film’s composer. Only the film’s music and composer’s commentary can be heard during this special feature.  If you know of any other movies that include composer commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, etc., I would absolutely love to hear about them!

Elliot Goldenthal’s detailed analysis and perspectives on his approach, composition, instrumentation and themes are incredibly insightful and enlightening and make watching the entire film again a thrilling experience! It has also had a huge impact on my overall fondness for the film.

I’m also drawn to ensemble casts. It’s difficult enough to create several characters with enough depth and individuality for audiences to care about, it’s even harder when the characters are 3D animated. Music plays many roles in film and in animated movies they truly Regardless, Aki and Gray’s revealed relationship and rekindling bond throughout the film is endearing. During the final scenes of the movie I can’t help but cry my eyes out…and I know for a fact that it is the music that makes me melt everytime.

The videos at the bottom include “Adagio And Transfiguration,” the exquisite culmination of themes from the movie, “The Dream Within,” performed by Lara Fabian and the movie trailer.  “The Dream Within” is a marvelous song, also composed by Elliot Goldenthal, with touching lyrics by Richard Rudolph.

“Adagio And Transfiguration” has a delicate, raw brilliance. In its humble beginnings, the flute slowly churns into strings and woodwinds. They gradually strengthen and unravel, giving birth to a behemoth of brass horns.  Their raw power spirals toward Heaven and hovers there in a single sliver of blue light.  Its omnipotence graces every emotion and every spirit, before gently releasing its power, allowing each spirit to softly fall and find their way back to the earth.

Close your eyes and enjoy… “Adagio And Transfiguration”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAyhNI0IIKc&feature=slpl

“The Dream Within,” end song performed by the lovely Lara Fabian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdIZ5PrpEZw

Now, watch the movie trailer…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zQ-LhwYqdQ

Music

The Amazing Film Score of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

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Inspiration in Progress

Quotes to Empower the Mind & Inspire the Soul.

scottish_primeval_forest_by_max702

Ponderings in the undergrowth.

Coming to light.


A smile is a hug for your face.

Creativity is like love.  You can’t force it.

Happiness should not hinge on the wings of accomplishment.

Love is not when you give your heart away.  It’s when your gain another.

Great minds don’t need to think alike.  They think a lot.

Keep a sharp mind and a blunt tongue.

Love, like art, should be viewed from a distance.

To harness creativity, let loose the reins of imagination.

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Must Haves

Random Generators You Can Actually Use

Connecting with randomness.

I accidentally stumbled upon the Ad Generator awhile back and have been mesmerized with random generators ever since.  As part of a thesis project created by Alexis Lloyd, the Ad Generator creates fake advertisements by mixing and matching real life slogans with arbitrary images.  The project is an exploration in how new meaning is derived from blending various images and words.  Some of the results are astounding and downright inspirational in their adventitiousness.  

adgenerator

The Ad Generator encourages you to

forge new connections between

random imagery and words.

And I think it goes much deeper.  It is the underlining concept of connection that prompted me to start searching for more random generators.  People need to connect: with other people, the music we listen to, what we read, where we live, our personal belongings, etc.  We need to connect with things and for those things to have meaning. We are social beings at heart and therefore need to connect physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Where communication is the cornerstone of relationships, connection is the core of our humanity.

But you know, sometimes we just need a break, too.  Random generators reset your brain.  It’s like taking it back to square one when you’ve gone too far and everything’s a jumbled mess.  You don’t have any control over the outcome and let’s face it, you don’t want any.  No, you simply want to see something new, something fresh, perhaps something completely whacked that takes you out of yourself and how you think and throws you into something completely different.

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funny-quotes

Here are 13 Random Generators to inspire, surprise

and just plain let you frolic in fortuitous fun!

  1. Seventh Sanctum – You name it.  They’ve got it.
  2. Story Starters: Powerful Sentences – Start your story off with a bang!
  3. Random Story Generator
  4. Random H.P. Lovecraft Story Generator - What can I say…the weirder the better.
  5. Let’s put your character in a sticky situation.
  6. Creativity Tools – Random Word, Phrase, Sentence, Paragraph
  7. Random Phrase – Don’t worry, this is not a partial repeat of #5.
  8. Random Plot Generator – This is definitely one of my favorites. Often just plain hilarious!
  9. The Amazing Fact Generator
  10. The Random Surrealism Generator
  11. Idea Generator
  12. Ad Generator – This totally changes the way you look at things — truly Amazing!
  13. Random Word Generator – Cross your eyes.  Twist your tongue.
  14. The Advertising Slogan Generator

NOTE:  When you get to any of these pages, hit F5 on your keyboard to refresh the page for endless possibilities.

Not sure which one to choose.  Close your eyes and click one.

Sometimes it’s nice to not know where you’re going.

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Performances

Oscars 2009: Hugh Jackman to Heath Ledger – The Year’s Best

In the beginning it was all about Hugh.

This year’s Oscars were hosted by the ever fervent and effortlessly smooth Hugh Jackman, the Australian in Jack-of-All Trades attire: actor, singer, dancer and all around great personality.  I couldn’t wait for Hugh to light up the stage with his lustrous smile.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg, all of whom have hosted the Oscars numerous times.  But Hugh Jackman really made this years’ Oscars shine.  He not only took up the mantle, he hoisted it above the clichéd convention of previous Oscar shows.  And everyone celebrated him for it.

Hugh is a class act of the vaudeville variety with

an uncanny ability to polish any arena with his

unflappable appeal.

If you didn’t get to watch the 2009 Academy Awards, I hope you were able to record it.  Last nights’ ceremony was the classiest and most elegant production for the prestigious awards I have ever seen.  I started recording it, but couldn’t resist turning on the tube while I did the dishes.  You know, just to see where I’d come in.  Would it be during best Sound Mixing or Kate Winslet bestowing an ardently unforgettable acceptance speech for Best Actress.

No, It would be Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles stealing the stage in a musical number that would be the snare that secured my seat.  With a brilliant blending of famous musicals poured into one, I was instantly pulled in without hesitation and riding a grin the size of Mount Rushmore.  Hugh and Beyoncé burned up the stage with their magnificent voices, suave moves and ginger personalities. Their energy and eagerness enraptured the hearts of every star in the room.  The show immediately classed up an award ceremony that had been difficult to watch for years.

Of course, once the song and dance number were over they announced the Best-Supporting Actor nominees.  Perfect timing.  That was one third the reason I wanted to see the 2009 Oscars anyway.  This year, instead of showing 5 seconds of demeaning clips from each of the nominees’ performances, the writers actually composed some rather well written material.

Five actors, each of whom had previously won the Best-Supporting Actor award, individually spoke to each nominee.  The actors poignantly praised the nominees, elaborating on their characters, telling the audience how each made their performance soar and stand out from the crowd.  It was not only touching, but produced a very intimate setting between the actors as well as drawing in the audience.

He’s no ordinary clown.

He plays a mean Joker.

The most sensitive moment during the Oscars was Heath Ledger winning for Best-Supporting Actor.  It became a culmination of everyone’s mourning and disbelief for the young actor’s absence and loss of life. 

Heath Ledger has become only the second actor to receive a posthumous academy award, after Peter Finch, another Australian thespian.  Peter won Best Actor for his 1976 portrayal of the frenzied television anchorman, Howard Beale in the film Network.  However, posthumous nominations are not scarce and Heath Ledger was the 70th person to receive one.  Heath’s mother, father and sister attended the show, accepting his award on behalf of his daughter, Matilda.

The Return Of The King (2003) 3

The last time I saw the Oscars was when Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was nominated for best picture in 2003, becoming the first fantasy genre film to ever win the award and taking home an award for every category it was nominated for.  Folks, this is as close as I get to being an insanely obsessed sports fan.  I was cheering with them, crying with them and overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction that Return of the King had beat the system and prevailed.  It seemed at that moment, the Academy had grown a soft spot and I wanted to revel in it.

I refused to watch the prevenient thirty minutes of red carpet drama, hearing that some of the stars start preparing for their Oscar entrance 6 months before.  I wasn’t about to get pulled into that.  And though I didn’t watch the red carpet, the gowns and suits I saw during the Oscar show were stunning and as classy as the show itself.  No one seemed to be Prima Donna and everything looked planned to perfection.

I watched the Oscars this year to witness Heath winning for Best-Supporting actor, Hugh Jackman hosting as only he could and as always, to see which soundtrack won for best film score.  I was thoroughly disappointed when The Dark Knight, co-composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, was not nominated for best score.

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It is a synthchord lovers dream, but nonetheless an excellent score worthy of recognition and praise. A high-rise thrill ride booming with Batman’s internal battles, his burning relentlessness to bring justice to Gotham soars through the score with a resounding mercurial cadence. I never tire of the quiet rumbling theme that aims for perpetuity and is balanced by the Joker’s calling card, a razor blade stroked guitar.  With two conflicting and uncomprising personalities, the score paints a perfect characterization of the Batman and Joker through contrasting colors.

The Oscars left me with a pleasant palette.

One I will not wash away too soon.

What was your favorite part of the Oscars?

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Performances

The Dark Knight: It’s All Part of the “Marketing” Plan

You bet it does a body good. 

The DC Comics/Warner Bros. box office bohemoth is both a cinematic masterpiece and marketing marvel.  With legions of poster designs, websites, t-shirts, collectible action figures, rallies and yes, even baked goods with cellphone filled centers, The Dark Knight has managed to creep its way into every nook and cranny of the American psyche.

I’ve seen The Dark Knight more times than I should probably admit, have five posters from the film hanging on my walls, and the soundtrack is playing on my computer as I write this post. I know, I’ve caught the TDK bug and it’s not going away any time soon.

Here are the five things I find most stellar about The Dark Knight.

1. Movie Poster Designs

The Dark Knight movie poster designs are some of the best I have ever seen. We can thank the following companies for some of the poster designs created for the film.

Here are some Dark Knight posters I feel are especially strong.

These are instant classics.

My absolute favorite.  It's as if he's looking at you through a tiny opening.  Heavy stuff.

I purchased a version of this one from MovieGoods. I was not able to locate a version of this poster anywhere else that was new and in the size I wanted. Their selection of posters is outstanding and they simply have the best customer service anywhere! Don’t worry, I’m not part of any affiliate program, they’re just really great and I want to share. The poster I received was actually a little dark, so I asked if I could get a replacement. They not only sent me another poster, but let me keep the first poster I received. I couldn’t believe it. That’s above and beyond the call of customer service! So check out MovieGoods for the best poster design selections and service.

"Would you like to know why I use a knife?"

2. Acting Performance/Script

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The Dark Knight

Without a doubt Heath Ledger poured every ounce of himself into The Joker and left audience’s around the world thirsting for more.

I didn’t want to blink for fear I’d miss something spectacular. An absolutely mesmerizing performance that is most inspiring! I loved Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman as always, but it was Heath who truly stole the show. Mourned by millions and marveled by all, Heath Ledger was an amazing human being on and off the screen. His performance has also inspired numerous imitations and spoofs. Check out YouTube for this really great rendition of The Joker.

The script for The Dark Knight is a gem that is as delightful to read as it is to watch come alive on the screen.

With a great script to begin with, Heath Ledger was able to immortalize more lines than anyone could have imagined. Lines like, “Why so serious” and “It’s all part of the plan” have already become a part of our subconscious. Make sure to download a copy of this amazing piece of writing over at joblo.com and sit back and enjoy the read!

3. Film Score

the-dark-knight

James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer join forces again to create the score for The Dark Knight and as The Joker would say, “And you didn’t disappoint.” It’s a thrill ride from the get go with its pulsing synth chords and uplifting, powerful and unforgettable themes. It gets right under your skin and doesn’t let go. I highly recommend this soundtrack. Buyers beware, it is addictive. ;o)

4. Collectible Action Figures

Where do I begin… these figures are simply out of this world! Hot Toys is the maker of these incredible collectibles and one of these guys goes for about $175.00. No wonder The Joker robbed a bank at the beginning of the movie…

Check out these links to feast your eyes on more great images of The Joker and Batman figure collections.

5. Fan Art

Jim Hance is a fantastic artist! Check out his website.  Have you ever seen a Stormtrooper in a dress? You’ll have to see it for yourself!

Eli Rutten is another awesome artist! You can check out more of his artwork on his Flickr page.

I found this poster made by robotlick over at worth1000.com and it absolutely cracks me up!

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