Neurologist

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“Razzmatazz Fountain of Youth

GHR-15, is a product available through the Internet in capsule and powder form as a human growth hormone (HGH) supplement. The company promoting this product suggests it can cure or help prevent a variety of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. A few weeks ago, a team of physicians at Saint Louis University discovered that a compound acting in the opposite way as the growth hormone reverse some signs of aging and the growth hormone given to middle aged and older people may be hazardous. This new finding is very important because some older adults were taking growth hormone thinking that this fountain of youth would revitalize them.
Growth hormone (Somatotropin) is a protein synthesized and secreted by somatotrophs cells in the pituitary gland. This hormone has two distinct types of effects. It stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1 that stimulates the proliferation of chondrocytes (cartillage cells) and myoblasts (muscles cells), resulting in both bone growth and muscle growth. Growth hormone has also an important effect on proteins, lipids and carbohydrates metabolism.

Production of growth hormone is modulated by stress, exercise, nutrition, sleep and growth hormone itself. However, two hypothalamic hormones and one hormone from the stomach control its production. Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is a hypothalamic peptide that stimulates both synthesis and secretion of growth hormone. Somatostatin (SS) is a peptide produced by several tissues in the body, specially the hypothalamus. It inhibits growth hormone release in response to GHRH and to other stimulatory factors such as low concentration of glucose in blood. Ghrelin is a peptide hormone secreted from the stomach which binds to receptors on somatotrophs and potently stimulates secretion of growth hormone. Growth hormone secretion is also part of a negative feedback loop involving IGF-1. High blood levels of IGF-1 lead to decreased secretion of growth hormone. It not only directly suppress the somatotroph, but also stimulates release of somatostatin from the hypothalamus. Basically, the concentration of growth hormone in blood is very low, but the most intense period of growth hormone release is shortly after the onset of deep sleep in children and young adults.
Excessive growth hormone secretion cause Giantism that begins in young children or adolescents. Giantism is a very rare condition that results from a tumour of somatotropes. One of the most famous giants was a man who weighed 8.5 pounds at birth, but by 5 years of age was 5 feet 4 (160cm) inches tall. As an adult he reached 8 feet 11(272 cm) inches in height and died at age 22. Excessive secretion of growth hormone in adults cause Acromegaly which results usually from a benign pituitary tumour. Clinical signs of acromegaly include overgrowth of extremities, soft-tissue swelling, abnormalities in jaw structure and cardiac disease. The growth hormone deficiency in children causes growth failure and short stature. It can also cause delayed sexual maturity.
Basically, the concentration of growth hormone in blood is very low, but the most intense period of growth hormone release is shortly after the onset of deep sleep in children and young adults
As a drug, the hGH is taken as an injection. It has been used since the 1950s to help stunted children grow normally. It is also given to AIDS patients to reverse muscle wastage and to adults with growth hormone deficiency. It stimulates muscle growth and helps reduce body fat. It also allows athletes to recover faster from strenuous training. Swimmers athletes mostly used to use this drug and it was undetectable until WADA recently devised a test for it. As a result, no athlete was ever caught using hGH prior to the new test being developed. Human growth hormone therapy has not been proven to be effective via oral treatments, therefore people taking GHR-15 are not likely to experience any therapeutic benefits. Health Canada cautions against the self-diagnosis or self-treatment of serious diseases and advises Canadians that GHR-15 is not approved as a treatment for any of these diseases. GHR-15 can also cause hyperthyroidism, which can lead to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, excessive sweating, hand tremors, nervousness and anxiety, difficulty sleeping, weight loss despite increased appetite, increased activity level despite fatigue and weakness, and frequent bowel movements, occasionally with diarrhea.
In a recent study, scientists of the divisions of geriatric medicine and endocrinology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, studied the compound MZ-5-156, a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) antagonist. They found that MZ-5-156 had positive effects on oxidative stress in the brain, improves cognition, telomerase activity (the actions of an enzyme which protects DNA material) and life span, and decrease tumour activity. This compound inhibited several human cancers such as prostate, breast, brain and lung cancers. It also had positive effects on learning, and was linked to improvements in short-term memory. Dr.William A. Banks, M.D., the lead study author said that antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone have beneficial effects on aging.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2010 National Geographic Photography Contest Galleries

 

View the winning shots in the People, Places, and Nature categories. Plus, browse weekly galleries.

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Grand Prize Winner and Nature Winner

Photo and caption by Lim Boon Teck , Aaron

A canceled trek turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for photographer Aaron Lim Boon Teck, who captured an active Indonesian volcano in his image “Eruption of Gunung Rinjani.”

“Trekkers [who] were able to make it up to the crater rim on time [were] able to camp overnight to witness the eruption [the] whole night long,” Boon Teck, of Singapore, wrote with his submission to the 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest. “I wanted to share with everyone this experience of seeing many elements going on at a particular point in time.”

Freelance photographer and contest judge Joel Sartore said, “This image best represented the craft of photography. Not only is the light subtle and beautiful, and not only is it a lovely scene, but there’s a volcanic eruption going on in the background.”

National Geographic magazine senior photo editor and judge Sadie Quarrier noted that combining multiple images into one stitched image “gives us a wide, powerful, and unique view.”

Freelance photographer and judge Stephen Alvarez agreed, adding that Boon Teck was “thoughtful” to choose a wide view and include the eruption’s spectators.

“Besides, it is just a lovely photograph,” he added.

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blues Artists That Died In 2010

We’re always saddened by the passing of blues talents that leave behind a lifetime of great music and mourning fans. We honor these bluesmen and women, obscure and well-known alike, with this list of blues artists that died in 2010.

Calvin “Fuzz” Jones

Muddy Waters Tribute Band's You're Gonna Miss MePhoto courtesy Telarc Records

From our friend and mighty blues harpist Bob Corritore (via blues guitarist Bob Margolin) comes the news of the death of legendary blues bassist Calvin “Fuzz” Jones due to complications from lung cancer. Although Jones had successfully fought cancer during the late 1990s, it had reoccurred, and after he developed pneumonia, he was rushed to the hospital in Southhaven, Mississippi where he passed away from a heart attack on Monday, August 9, 2010. He was 84 years old. A Mississippi native and long-time fixture on the Chicago blues scene, Jones was best-known as bassist for the Muddy Waters Band during the blues legend’s phenomenal runs during the decade of the 1970s.

Earl Gaines

Earl Gaines' Nothin' But The BluesPhoto courtesy Price Grabber
R&B music giant Earl Gaines, the vocalist behind the 1955 Louis Brooks & His Hi-Toppers hit “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day),” has died in Nashville, Tennessee on December 31, 2009. Gaines was 74 years old. Born in Decatur, Alabama and raised on a farm, Gaines learned to sing in his local church. He moved to Nashville at the age of 16 years old to pursue a career in blues music, and taught himself the drums to help ensure steady employment. Gaines first worked as a demo singer for songwriter and local R&B scenemaker Ted Jarrett, who also got him work in the city’s thriving club scene.

John Leslie

John Leslie Blues Band's In The KitchenPhoto courtesy Price Grabber

John Leslie Nuzzo, known to the adult film industry as “John Leslie,” passed away on Sunday, December 5, 2010 from a heart attack at the age of 65. Leslie was one of the leading stars of the adult film biz of the 1970s, appearing as an actor in more than 300 movies, co-starring alongside such leading ladies as Kay Parker, Seka, and Annette Haven. He made a successful transition to the other side of the camera during the mid-1980s, directing almost 100 adult films and chalking up a room full of awards during his lengthy career in the industry.

Lil’ Dave Thompson

Lil' Dave ThompsonPhoto courtesy Electro-Fi Records
It is with great sadness that we must report the death of bluesman Lil’ Dave Thompson. The noted blues guitarist was killed in an auto accident outside of Augusta, Georgia at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning, February 14, 2010. Thompson and his band were returning home to Greenville, Mississippi from Charleston, South Carolina where they had performed Saturday night, the last gig on a lengthy and successful tour. None of Thompson’s band members were seriously hurt in the accident.

Little Smokey Smothers

Little Smokey SmothersPhoto by Mark Pokempner, courtesy Alligator Records

Chicago bluesman Albert “Little Smokey” Smothers passed away from natural causes on Saturday, November 20, 2010 after a lengthy illness. The talented guitarist was a well-known and much beloved fixture on the Chicago blues scene since the mid-1950s. Through the years, Smothers played alongside some of the city’s best-known artists, accompanying Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Magic Sam, among many others, on stage and on record.

“Mean Gene” Kelton

"Mean Gene" KeltonPhoto courtesy meangenekelton.com

The Houston, Texas blues community lost one of its favorite sons on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 when Sidney Eugene “Mean Gene” Kelton was killed in a head-on collision with a school bus. Kelton was 57 years old. A veteran blues guitarist and singer, the Mississippi-born Kelton formed his band the Die Hards in Houston in 1992. Kelton’s blues-rock hybrid sound, which incorporated elements of country, rockabilly, and Southern rock – as well as the band’s black-leather-and-sun-glasses garb – appealed to the close-knit Harley community, and the Die Hards proudly became known as a “biker band.”

Mississippi Slim (Walter Horn, Jr.)

Mississippi Slim's You Can't Lose The BluesPhoto courtesy G-Town Records

Walter Horn, Jr. – better known as bluesman “Mississippi Slim” – passed away on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at the age of 66 years. Horn was born and grew up in Greenville, Mississippi. As an adult, he worked on a plantation as a tractor driver during the day and sang the blues in local clubs at night. By 1968, he had decided to take a shot at blues music as a career, and moved to Chicago where he became known as “Mississippi Slim.” In a city full of flamboyant, charismatic performers, Slim stood out with his brightly-colored hair, loud suits, and trademark mismatched, colorful socks.

Mr. Tater the Music Maker (Foster Wiley)

Mr. Tater, the Music MakerPhoto courtesy Roger Stolle, Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art

The favorite son of Clarksdale, Mississippi – bluesman Mr. Tater, the Music Maker (a/k/a Foster Wiley) – passed away on Friday, September 10, 2010. Wiley had been hospitalized for over a week at the Methodist University Hospital in Memphis due to kidney and other health problems. Perhaps the last true Delta blues street performer, Mr. Tater, as he was known to his fans, was a familiar site in downtown Clarksdale, playing his guitar in front of local businesses, especially Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, where he found a friend and supporter in owner Roger Stolle.

Phillip Walker

Blues guitarist Phillip WalkerPhoto courtesy Alligator Records

The wires are burning up this morning about the death of blues guitarist and singer Phillip Walker. The talented bluesman died on Thursday, July 22, 2010 of heart failure at the age of 73 years. Walker’s distinctive guitar sound, honed in the barrooms and juke-joints of Texas and polished in the clubs of Los Angeles, was match only by his expressive, soulful vocals.

Robin Rogers

Blues singer Robin RogersPhoto copyright Joseph A. Rosen, courtesy Blind Pig Records

Sadly, we have to report that blues singer Robin Rogers passed away on Friday, December 17, 2010 at her Gastonia, North Carolina home at the too-young age of 55 years. Rogers had been fighting liver cancer for the past few months, even as her critically-acclaimed 2010 album Back Into The Fire was making her a star in the blues world.

 

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Best Actors of 2010, Top 10 Actors of 2010

Normally, gathering a list of the best performances by actors is one of the most difficult Top 10 lists to put together in that there are so many to choose from. However, unlike years past, 2010 didn’t have an overabundance of stand-out performances by actors. For the first time in over a decade there were more awards-worthy performances by actresses than actors. Actors in supporting roles also fared better in 2010 than those tackling lead characters in theatrically released films. That said, there were 10 actors who stood out from the pack enough to make this list of the Top 10 Actors of 2010.

James Franco – ‘127 Hours’

James Franco in 127 Hours© Fox Searchlight
It wasn’t until the second time I watched 127 Hours that I fully appreciated the brilliant performance of James Franco. Directed by Danny Boyle and based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, Franco’s basically a one-man show in this dramatic film that caused some audience members to seek medical attention due to a particularly graphic and disturbing scene. Franco has been experiencing a career resurgence the past couple of years, and 127 Hours shows just how talented the 32 year old actor is when paired up with the right director and given the opportunity to dive into meaty material.

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Colin Firth – ‘The King’s Speech’

Colin Firth in The King's Speech© The Weinstein Company
Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actor category in 2010 for his outstanding performance in 2009’s A Single Man. He follows that critically acclaimed film up with yet another award-worthy performance as a stuttering King of England who forms a unique friendship with an Australian speech therapist. Watching Firth and Geoffrey Rush (as the therapist) square off is one of the highlights of the year in films, and both men deliver incredibly moving and real performances.

Jesse Eisenberg – ‘The Social Network’

Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network© Columbia Pictures
Jesse Eisenberg had the difficult job of portraying one of the youngest billionaires in the world in The Social Network, a thought-provoking look behind the scenes at the events leading up to and immediately following the creation of Facebook. As I said in my 5 star review of the film, “Jesse Eisenberg is a revelation as the fast-talking, socially inept, computer genius who goes from obscurity and longing to get into elite clubs to being a self-made billionaire.” Eisenberg, who up until The Social Network was best known for playing one of the few survivors in a world overrun by the undead in Zombieland, emerges as one of the finest actors of his generation with his incredible work in The Social Network.

Ryan Reynolds – ‘Buried’

Ryan Reynolds in Buried© Lionsgate
He’s best known for comedies and for being the star of 2011’s Green Lantern superhero film, but Ryan Reynolds also has some serious dramatic chops as he displays in Buried, an intense thriller about a man buried alive in Iraq while an unseen kidnapper demands money for his release. To quote from my review, Reynolds delivers “a mature, committed performance, displaying talent sometimes hidden in the numerous romantic comedies and the spattering of action roles he’s taken on in recent years. Buried rests squarely on his shoulders and he attacks the character with fierce determination and grit. We have to be able to feel every moment of panic and face this unimaginable terror with this poor truck driver, who was only guilty of being in the wrong place at the worst possible time, or else Buried would be dead on arrival. And the fact we are right there with him is because of how masterfully Reynolds brings to life his character.”

Colin Farrell – ‘Ondine’

Colin Farrell in Ondine© Magnolia Pictures
Colin Farrell picks up dual honors from me for his work in 2010 films. Farrell earned a spot on my Top 10 Supporting Actors of 2010 with his performance in the gritty, real life drama The Way Back and he’s a part of this Top 10 Actors list due to his tremendously engaging, emotionally moving portrayal of a divorced dad dedicated to his critically ill young daughter in Ondine. What Farrell pulls off here is one of his most mature performances to date.

Johnny Depp – ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland© Walt Disney Pictures
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton reunited for the seventh time with Alice in Wonderland, a trippy adventure tale that took audiences of all ages down the rabbit hole and into the land of floating Cheshire cats, big-headed queens, and the maddest of all hatters. Burton and Depp can be counted on to deliver extraordinary films (that are extraordinarily risky), and Alice in Wonderland is one of their best collaborative efforts. Depp, hidden underneath some truly bizarre makeup, transforms into The Mad Hatter and brings this peculiar, manic being to life in a way only Depp possibly could.

Leonardo DiCaprio – ‘Shutter Island’

Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island© Paramount Pictures
This was a difficult choice for me to settle on as Leonardo DiCaprio was worthy of earning a place on this list for both of his 2010 films – Shutter Island and Inception. Ultimately Shutter Island won out due in large part to the fact Inception seems like so much more of an ensemble piece. And I do stand by my review of Shutter Island in which I state his performance in this Martin Scorsese film (DiCaprio’s fourth with the Oscar-winning filmmaker) is the best of his career. A psychological drama reminiscent of Hitchcock’s work, Shutter Island is the perfect combination of director, material, and cast, with DiCaprio pitch perfect as the conflicted and tormented main character.

Jeff Bridges – ‘True Grit’

Jeff Bridges in True Grit© Paramount Pictures
Jeff Bridges earned his first Oscar for the 2009 film Crazy Heart, proving the 61 year old actor is in fact getting better with age. That’s confirmed with his alternately hilarious and threatening portrayal of a drunken US Marshal recruited by a 14 year old, wise-beyond-her-years girl to track down her father’s murderer. It’s a role made famous by John Wayne (who won his only Oscar for playing Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 version of True Grit) and it’s no small feat that Bridges is able to take over such a well-known character and completely make it his own.

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Ryan Gosling – ‘Blue Valentine’

Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine© The Weinstein Company
Ryan Gosling’s yet another actor who had the potential to make this Top 10 list for performances in more than one 2010 film. Gosling was totally convincing as a mentally unstable millionaire who killed his wife and got away with it in All Good Things, and he took on one his most difficult and complex characters to date in Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (a film I wanted to love but just couldn’t, despite stellar performances by Gosling and Michelle Williams). Gosling starts the film as a confidant young man who, as he ages and his relationship with Williams’ character sours, gets increasingly cynical, bitter, and out of control. What Gosling does with the character proves just how capable he is of dissolving into any character, and his performance in Blue Valentine feels devastatingly real.

Aaron Johnson – ‘Nowhere Boy’

Aaron Johnson in Nowhere Boy© The Weinstein Company
Aaron Johnson showed he can kick bad guys’ butts in 2010’s Kick-Ass, but it was his portrayal of a teenage John Lennon in Nowhere Boy that allowed him to show a real emotional connection to a character. Johnson plays Lennon as a trouble-making high school student with a confusing, dysfunctional family life and a burgeoning love for music. While Nowhere Boy is based on true events in the life of one of the most talented rock and rollers in history, the film concentrates on Lennon’s personal life with his music playing second fiddle to the complex relationship involving Lennon, his absent mother, and the aunt who raised him. Johnson’s absolutely terrific in Nowhere Boy, and although he doesn’t much physically resemble the late Beatle, he does an outstanding job of bringing Lennon’s story alive on screen.

 

December 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A List of Ten Great Recordings to Start Your Jazz Collection.

Jazz is perhaps best experienced live, but some recordings are veritable works of art. Below is a list of ten albums that represent important periods in the development of jazz, and whose music is as fresh today as when it was recorded. The list, ordered chronologically by the dates each album was recorded, functions as a mere introduction to classic jazz recordings.

1. Louis Armstrong – Complete RCA Victor Recordings (RCA)

Courtesy of RCA
This compilation is a must have for anyone interested in the origin of jazz. Louis Armstrong’s melodic trumpet improvisations and his scat singing are considered the seeds from which all jazz since has sprouted. This collection consists of crackling renditions of some lesser-known tunes from Armstrong’s repertoire. Each track radiates the joyous spirit and individualism that Armstrong bestowed upon jazz.

2. Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes (Polygram)

Courtesy of Verve
When Charlie Parker, one of the creators of bebop, recorded with a string ensemble, he was criticized for pandering to a popular audience. His music was characterized in part by taking conventions of swing music and pushing them to their extremes; extreme registers, extremely fast tempos, and extreme virtuosity. Unlike swing music, bebop was considered art music, and represented a hip musical subculture. Parker’s recording with strings, although perhaps more palatable for a popular audience, doesn’t display any sacrifice of craft or musicality. On each of these tracks, Parker’s sound is pure and crisp, and his improvisations display the impeccable technique and harmonic knowledge that bebop was famous for.

3. Lee Konitz – Subconscious-Lee (Original Jazz Classics)

Courtesy of Ojc

Lee Konitz made his mark on the jazz world in the late 1940s and 1950s by developing a style of improvisation that contrasted from that of the father of bebop, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker. Konitz’ dry tone, swirling melodies, and rhythmic experimentation are still models for today’s musicians. Subconscious-Lee features pianist Lennie Tristano and tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, two of Konitz’ comrades in the development of this style.

 

4. Art Blakey Quintet – A Night at Birdland (Blue Note)

Courtesy of Blue Note

Art Blakey‘s music is known for its funky stride and soulful melodies. This live recording, featuring trumpet legend Clifford Brown, is one energy-filled example of Blakey’s first ventures into the driving style that would come to be known as hard-bop.

5. John Coltrane – Blue Train (Blue Note)

Courtesy of Blue Note
John Coltrane was said to have practiced up to twenty hours a day, so much that late in his career, it was rumored that by the time he was finished he had already abandoned some techniques he had figured out earlier in the day. His short career (he died at age forty-one) is underscored by constant evolution, shifting from traditional jazz to completely improvised suites. The music from Blue Train marks the pinnacle of his hard-bop stage, before he moved on to more experimental improvisation styles. It also contains tunes that have worked their way into the standard repertoire, including “Moment’s Notice,” “Lazy Bird,” and “Blue Train.”

6. Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (Columbia)

Courtesy of Columbia
Each of bassist Charles Mingus’ pieces on this album has a specific character, ranging from frenetic to morose to ebullient, so that the compositions almost have a visual nature. Each member of the band plays his part in such a way that it sounds as though he is improvising, giving the music vitality and spirit that is practically unmatched. 

7. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (Columbia)

Courtesy of Columbia
In the liner notes to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, pianist Bill Evans (who plays piano on the album) compares the music to a spontaneous and disciplined form of Japanese visual art. The simplicity and minimalist touch of this landmark recording are perhaps what allow the musicians to paint pristine pictures and achieve such a meditative and contemplative mood. Each member of the group comes from a different musical background, and yet the result is a unified work of beauty that every jazz musician or listener must own.

8. Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic)

Courtesy of Atlantic
Ornette Coleman caused a stir in the late 1950s when he began to play what has come to be known as “free jazz.” Hoping to free himself of the restrictions of chord progressions and song structures, he simply played melodies and gestures. Recorded in 1959, The Shape of Jazz to Come is a rather conservative experiment with such concepts, and the average listener may not notice much is different, but Ornette and a multitude of musicians since have used the idea of “free” playing as a springboard into a vast musical realm.

9. Freddie Hubbard – Open Sesame (Blue Note)

Courtesy of Blue Note
Freddie Hubbard’s searing lines and juggernaut sound have made him the model after which most trumpet players shape their approaches to the instrument. Soulful and groove-oriented, this early Hubbard recording is the door through which his fiery playing burst into jazz.

10. Bill Evans – Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Original Jazz Classics)

Courtesy of Ojc
Bill Evans and his trio explore a variety of moods on this live recording. Evans’ background in classical music is apparent with his lush chords and subtle gestures. Each member of the trio (including Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums) is allowed the same amount of flexibility, so instead of one player being featured while the others accompany, the group breathes and swells as a unit. This freedom, as well as the fluidity of the phrasing, is something that contemporary jazz musicians strive to emulate

 

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jeff Bridges Talks About ‘TRON: Legacy’

Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn in Tron LegacyJeff Bridges poster from ‘TRON: Legacy.’

© Walt Disney Pictures

When Jeff Bridges was shooting TRON back in 1981 he, of course, had no idea he’d be reprising his role as Kevin Flynn in a 2010 sequel. TRON: Legacy finds Bridges as Flynn stuck in the world of Tron, but there’s hope for his rescue. His 27 year old son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), has discovered a signal originating from the old Flynn’s Arcade and when he goes to investigate, he’s pulled into the strange world where his dad’s been trapped for 20 years.

At the Los Angeles press day for the Walt Disney Pictures sci-fi action film, Bridges talked about what it was like to have his younger self featured in TRON: Legacy, the advances in filmmaking technology since the original TRON broke new ground, and his career.

On inserting a few ‘Dude’ moments inTRON: Legacy

Jeff Bridges: “Well, you know, in looking back at TRON – the original – since I’m playing that character and kind of referencing that guy, he would kind of say things like that. He was, I don’t know if you would say Dude-esque because he preceded The Dude, but both [Steven] Lisberger and Joe Kosinski, our director, encouraged that kind of speak. That was Flynn, too. Flynn wasn’t a tight, typical silicon [valley] guy. He was pretty loose and hippy-ish himself.”

Does playing the hero and the villain in the same scene mess with his Zen?

Jeff Bridges: “Pretty familiar, man. I always feel like I’m that in a way, so it didn’t mess with it too much. It was great to be able to include a wonderful friend of mine, Bernie Glassman who is a Zen master, in this whole process. He was brought on board in some of the early writings to add some of that Zen quality to it.”

“[Bernie and I] talked a lot about Flynn. He’s kind of trapped in the absolute reality. He’s discovered that the more he goes against Clu, the more powerful he becomes so he’s kind of retreated and gotten into the place of acceptance for the way it is to such a degree that it’s almost paralyzed him. It takes his son to shake him out of that. So in the early meetings, we had Bernie just kind of sitting at the table giving thoughts as the story progressed, from a Buddhist perspective. Very helpful.”

On the technology used in creating both TRON films:

Jeff Bridges: “Oh, well, I was really drawn to both of them for the same reason, or one of the reasons was to take part in a movie that was using that cutting edge technology. Now what I was most curious about for this one is making a movie without cameras and this idea that everything is held in post, from the costume to your makeup to the set, even the camera angles, where the camera is. That was quite amazing.”

On talking about the sequel 28 years after making the first TRON:

Jeff Bridges: “Yeah, I like that. I was able to do that with Texasville too, which was carrying onThe Last Picture Show saga. I was just in Texas with Peter Bogdanovich and we’re hoping to do the next installment. Larry McMurtry’s written three more of those books and that would be wonderful.”

“With this one, I think a lot of people who were kids, played video games when this first one came out. It kind of hit a sweet spot for those kids. Those guys who must be maybe [in their 30s or 40s], so it’s kind of like going to the movie kind of conjures up your own childhood again a little bit, where you left off and you remember how that one affected you. So maybe that’s kind of the reason for this thing you’re talking about.”

Is he involved in gaming at all?

Jeff Bridges: “No. I mean, it’s so much different now. I think I left off, my last game was Myst. I did that with my girls, but that was a long time ago. I haven’t kept up. I haven’t experienced it.”

On having his body digitized for use in the film:

Jeff Bridges: “It’s so fascinating. Yeah, there’s a bright side and a dark side. The bright side is that now I can play myself at any age. Normally, I love to go to the movies and when I see a character portrayed by different actors at different ages, it kind of pops a little bit for me. It brings me out of the movie experience. Now we have the technology to cure that. I could be whatever age I am; it’s amazing. The other thing is up for grabs. How that’s going to work just as far as the contracts, do you own your own image? But you’ve got to let it all go.”

“I’ve been so fortunate and blessed. I can’t hold on. I’m just going to let that go, that concern. I could really get behind it a lot and be really upset about it, but it’s the same kind of task with this new technology I was telling you about. That kind of rubbed my acting fur against the grain because I like costumes and sets and it helps me create the illusion for myself that I’m actually in this reality in the world of the movie. To not have that, you really have to use that part of your imagination that you used when you were a kid, bringing it all up. So it was a challenge for me to get with the program as quickly as I could and not spend too much energy about it or bitching about it not being how I like it. Kind of letting that go.”

On seeing his younger self onscreen:

Jeff Bridges: “Well, they modeled Clu I think after the Against All Odds period, and it’s not that strange for me to see myself in different stages of my life because I have movies and that sort of thing that I can look at. So it wasn’t that crazy. It was amazing that they could do it at all. What they’re doing was quite amazing.”

On the costume design:

Jeff Bridges: “I’m very much into the costuming of any character that I portray. And it’s one of the great things about making movies is it’s a collaborative art form so you get all these artists who are looking specifically about, for this instance, your character’s costume and what that might tell about your character. That’s one of the first things I do when I’m developing a character is meet with a costumer because they’ve got to build all the clothes.”

On the 2010 Oscar season and 2011’s Oscar chances:

Jeff Bridges: “Oh, yeah. Yeah, what a year. So wonderful. It’s affected me in a lot of ways, not so much getting a flood of scripts or something. That would be nice, or it sort of would be nice. I don’t like to read too many scripts, really. But the big thing, a couple of things, two things that come to mind that really affected me. One was the music, because Crazy Heart was all about music. It really set fire to my own music and after I leave you guys today, I’m going into the studio with T-Bone Burnett. We’re working on an album this week, and that’s really exciting.”

“Then I guess it’s made me more famous. Fame, there’s a double-edged sword like probably everything else. The upside of that is you can put yourself in alignment with some concerns that you are concerned about and that you want to turn around. I just came back from Washington, D.C. where I was presenting the No Kid Hungry campaign that I’m the national spokesperson for. So that success that I had last year allows me to be more visible for helping end childhood hunger in our country, which is incredible.”

“Just to throw you out some statistics for your papers and stuff, 17 million of our kids – that’s one in four in our country – live in food insecure homes. They don’t know if they’ll get enough nutrition to lead healthy, active lives. These statistics are from the Department of Agriculture. The good news is that we have programs in place like Food Stamps is now called SNAP, the WIC Program and the school meal programs, breakfast, after school and summer meals. But the shame is we’ve got the billion dollars of federally funded programs are out there available to all the states and it’s not being fully used. In other words, there’s like 19 million kids who are eligible for the school breakfast program, only half of those kids are taking part. This summer only 15%. So this No Kid Hungry program, campaign, which is nokidhungry.org by the way, is working with mayors and governors specifically zeroing in on where the blockage is. Why aren’t these communities using the money that’s available and strategically dealing with each of those problems. That’s a very exciting thing that’s happening that the awards and everything has helped promote that, so I’m happy about that.”

On taking on the role of Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers’ True Grit:

Jeff Bridges: “Yeah, when the brothers first came to me, I was making TRON when they came to me on True Grit. I was curious. I said, ‘Why do you want to make that movie?’ I couldn’t figure that out. I couldn’t figure that out. It seemed like such an odd choice. We had talked about making a Western and stuff. I met them at a party and there was something about that, but why they would want to make that movie… Then they said, ‘Well, we’re not really remaking that movie. We’re referring to the book by Charles Portis.’ I wasn’t familiar with the book and they said, ‘Oh, it’s a great book.'”

“So I read that and then I said, ‘Oh, I see what you’re talking about,’ because the book is very Coen-esque and great. I can’t wait… But also when they said that, it took a lot of concern about filling the Duke’s boots. At least don’t worry about that, so I never thought about John Wayne or anything like that until somebody asked me the question, ‘How do you feel about this?’ Oh, well, let me see. I’m not worried about it. I wasn’t thinking about it when I did it. I just did the best I could with the part. That’s what I always try to do.”

 

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fish Oil and Depression

Many people take fish oil supplements in an effort to boost their mood and ease symptoms of depression. Typically made from fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fish oil supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Known to help regulate brain function, DHA and EPA are often found at low levels in people with depression.

The Science Behind Fish Oil and Depression

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) classify fish oil as “possibly effective” as treatment of depression. Indeed, a 2009 report published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that adding fish oil supplements to standard care appears to benefit people with major depression. However, the report’s authors caution that more research is needed before fish oil supplements can be recommended as a sole treatment for major depression.

In another 2009 report, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, investigators reviewed 28 studies and found that use of fish oil supplements was linked to significant improvement in major depression and bipolar disorder (but not in mild-to-moderate depression). The review also revealed that omega-3 supplements were more effective as a depression therapy (as opposed to a depression prevention strategy), and that EPA may be more effective than DHA in treating depression.

Other research suggests that fish oil may help treat depression related to specific health issues. For instance, in a 2009 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists discovered that taking EPA supplements for eight weeks helped lessen depressive symptoms among women undergoing menopause.

It should be noted that several studies have also found that fish oil failed to fight depression. In a 2005 report from the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids, for instance, patients who added fish oil supplements to their standard depression treatment experienced no greater mood-related benefits (compared to patients given a placebo supplement containing olive oil).

Is Fish Oil a Safe Treatment for Depression?

When left untreated, depression can lead to a number of serious problems (includingalcohol abuse and heart disease). Therefore, it’s important to work closely with a mental-health professional rather than using fish oil (or any other natural remedy or alternative therapy) to self-treat depression. In no case should fish oil be considered a substitute for medical treatment of depression (or any other mood disorder).

Although fish oil is likely safe for most people, it can cause certain adverse effects (such as increased cholesterol levels) when taken in large amounts. Fish oil may also interact with some medications (including birth control pills and medications for high blood pressure) and herbs and supplements that can slow blood clotting (including garlicginger, and ginkgo biloba).

Using Fish Oil to Fight Depression

Increasing your consumption of oily fish (including sardines, herring, and tuna, in addition to salmon and mackerel) can boost your omega-3 intake and possibly protect against depression. If you’re not eating at least four servings of oily fish per week, talk to your doctor about using fish oil supplements to help prevent or manage depression.

Sources:

Ali S, Garg SK, Cohen BE, Bhave P, Harris WS, Whooley MA. “Association between omega-3 fatty acids and depressive symptoms among patients with established coronary artery disease: data from the Heart and Soul Study.” Psychother Psychosom. 2009;78(2):125-7.

Freeman MP. “Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder.” J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70 Suppl 5:7-11.

Lucas M, Asselin G, Mérette C, Poulin MJ, Dodin S. “Ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid for the treatment of psychological distress and depressive symptoms in middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Feb;89(2):641-51.

Martins JG. “EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Oct;28(5):525-42.

National Institutes of Health. “Fish oil: MedlinePlus Supplements“. September 2010.

Silvers KM, Woolley CC, Hamilton FC, Watts PM, Watson RA. “Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of fish oil in the treatment of depression.” Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2005 Mar;72(3):211-8.

 

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Soothing Menopause Symptoms with Soy

Women going through menopause sometimes boost their intake of soy, a plant food rich in substances called isoflavones. Isoflavones are known to mimic the action of estrogen, a female hormone known to decrease during menopause. By offering estrogen-like effects, soy is said to help with certain health problems linked to loss of estrogen (such as hot flashes, declines in bone mass, and increases in cholesterol levels). Here’s a look at some key study findings on soy and menopause.

1) Soy and Hot Flashes

Research on soy and hot flashes has yielded mixed results, according to a 2006 report fromThe Journal of the American Medical Association. Reviewing 43 clinical trials on nonhormonal therapies for hot flashes, researchers found conflicting evidence for the use of soy isoflavones.

In a more recent report (published in a 2008 issue of Menopause), scientists found that women given soy isoflavone supplements at a daily dose of 40 mg had a 52 percent drop in hot flashes (compared with a 39 percent reduction in women given a placebo). The authors of the study (which lasted 12 weeks and involved 147 menopausal women) concluded that soy isoflavone supplementation may be an “effective and acceptable alternative to hormone treatment for menopausal hot flashes.” (In other research, long-term use of hormone therapy has been found to increase risk of heart disease andstroke.)

2) Soy and Bone Health

Soy may offer some protection against menopause-related bone loss, according to a 2010 research review published in the journal Bone. Analyzing 28 studies with a total of 2,477 participants, the review’s authors found that treatment with soy isoflavone supplements was linked to a moderate decrease in levels of deoxypyridinoline (a substance excreted during bone breakdown). However, the review also found that soy isoflavone supplementation may not promote the formation of new bone.

3) Soy and Cholesterol

During menopause, levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol may increase while levels of HDL (“good”) may decrease. In a 2006 report from the journal Climacteric, researchers concluded that soy isoflavones might have a “small but positive health effect” on blood fat concentrations (as well as on cognitive function).

Should You Use Soy During Menopause?

Although soy may be of some value to women undergoing menopause, it’s important to take caution before increasing your soy consumption or using soy supplements. For instance, some research suggests that taking in large amounts of soy may speed up cancer growth in people with estrogen-sensitive breast tumors. If you’re considering upping your intake of soy during menopause, talk to your doctor to find out what amount of soy is safe for you.

Sources:

American Cancer Society. “Soybean“. May 2010.

Geller SE, Studee L. “Soy and red clover for mid-life and aging.” Climacteric. 2006 Aug;9(4):245-63.

Khaodhiar L, Ricciotti HA, Li L, Pan W, Schickel M, Zhou J, Blackburn GL. “Daidzein-rich isoflavone aglycones are potentially effective in reducing hot flashes in menopausal women.” Menopause. 2008 Jan-Feb;15(1):125-32.

National Institutes of Health. “Soy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia“. November 2010.

Nelson HD, Vesco KK, Haney E, Fu R, Nedrow A, Miller J, Nicolaidis C, Walker M, Humphrey L. “Nonhormonal therapies for menopausal hot flashes: systematic review and meta-analysis.” JAMA. 2006 May 3;295(17):2057-71.

Taku K, Melby MK, Kurzer MS, Mizuno S, Watanabe S, Ishimi Y. “Effects of soy isoflavone supplements on bone turnover markers in menopausal women: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Bone. 2010 Aug;47(2):413-23.

 

December 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holiday and Christmas Dance Music

Are you ready to share the holidays with your loved ones but not sure which holiday music is right for you? Rather than relying on the old standards, why don’t you mix it up a bit with electronic/dance versions of holiday music. We here at dancemusic.about.com have compiled the following wrap-up of the different electronic holiday CDs that are in stores and online now!

1. Pet Shop Boys – ‘Christmas’ EP

Pet Shop Boys - Christmas EPstralwerks
A strong five track EP of rereleased Pet Shop Boys material with a holiday theme. Most of the songs have been previously unreleased or available as limited releases on charity or fan-only EPs. The Christmas EP is an aural pleasure that can be treasured by all.

2. Liquid 360 – “A Change Has Come (For Christmas)”

Liquid 360 - A Change Has Come (For Christmas)Tunecut Music
Lovers of synthpop rejoice, you’ve now got a synth pop Christmas song. Best known for their remixes and covers of Erasure (“Chains of Love”) and Depeche Mode (“Strangelove”), the duo of Mitch Williams and Bruce Donally wrote a new electronic song with a great holiday sentiment. The production would fit perfectly on the recent Alphabeat CD – an 80s new wave synth vibe with enough modern sounds to make it feel current. While the children’s voices might be a bit too precious sounding for some, Bruce’s lead vocals carry the track. Definitely worth a download for electronic music lovers looking for holiday music that fits their genre.

3. D1 Music Presents ‘Club Christmas 3’

D1 Music presents Club Christmas 3D1 Music
If you are a fan of eurodance pop and are looking for some updated holiday classics for your annual festivities, do check out Club Christmas 3.

4. Kristine W – ‘Hey Mr. Christmas’ EP

Fly Again Music
Even if you are wary of spending your money on holiday music that will only be played for a couple of weeks, this EP should still be on the top of your list to explore. Its great music that just happens to be holiday music. The tracks “Everyday’s a Holiday” and “Wonder Of It All” will sound as good in July as they do in December. If you like upbeat pop-dance music with female vocals, you should definitely check out this holiday treat.

5. Lady Gaga – “Christmas Tree”

Courtesy Interscope Records
Fans of “Just Dance” and “Pokerface,” should check out this naughty holiday electropop record by the Lady Gaga. We might all want to spend time under her tree after watching the striptease – definitely a new way to spread holiday cheer. The guest rap by Space Cowboy definitely drives the point home. Who knew that Jamiroquai could sound so rugged?

6. Evelyn DeMille – “All I Want For Christmas is You”

NYC Traxx Records
Yes, dance cover versions of holiday songs are almost inherently cheesy. Putting the CD of Evelyn Demille’s version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” into my computer, I was expecting the worst. The a capella intro caught my attention – I know this voice. She sounds so familiar and I just couldn’t place it. Lovers of classic freestyle music will love this reboot of a modern holiday classic.

7. D1 Music Presents ‘Club Christmas 2’

Released on D1 Music – November 25, 2008
Imagine if Muzak did dance versions of Christmas classics and you’ve got the basic of Club Christmas 2. The D1 crew (Peter McLean and Keith Kemper) produced this follow-up to the 2007 edition, Club Christmas.

8. King Street Sounds – ‘Christmas in the House’

Saving us from the annual torture session of tired classics rehashed for the holiday season, the masterful musicians of the King Street family have constructed the absolutely essential Christmas in the House. Aside from two superior instrumental tracks (Eric Kupper’s conga-filled bossa nova take of “Silent Night” and Jihad Muhammad’s samba jam session “It’s Holiday Time”), the set is full of new vocal songs written to capture the spirit of the holiday season. If you like classy house music with a jazzy feel, this is the holiday CD for you.

9. Cascada – “Last Christmas”

Robbins Entertainment
Cute and peppy are two accurate words to describe both Cascada and the music they create. Written and originally performed by Wham/George Michael, “Last Christmas” is easily the most recent holiday song to become a standard. Previously covered by europopper Whigfield, Cascada’s take succeeds with a midtempo production that suits Natalie’s pleasing vocal performance. Although it’s the b-side of the 2007 dance radio smash cover of Rascal Flats’s “What Hurts the Most,” Cascada’s version of “Last Christmas” is a great addition to any dance music lover’s holiday playlist — especially if you were a fan of their europop hit “Every Time We Touch.”

10. ‘Mistletoe Lounge’

BasicLux
A holiday-themed compilation of laid back House tracks and downtempo tunes, The Mistletoe Lounge generally leans more towards the instrumental side of things with the overall vibe of this album best defined by voxless, prettily House-ed up versions of Christmas standards like Lenny B’s glistening take on “Feliz Navidad,” J.A.C.E.’s jingle bell-led “Angels We Have Heard,” Paul T.’s funked-up “Jingle Bells,” or Groovecatcher’s “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”

11. ‘Holiday Remixed’

As a Jewish guy reviewing holiday music, I am at a disadvantage because I don’t have the memories that most people associate with Christmas. It’s as if the producers of Holiday Remixed took this into account and created a CD of tracks meant to inspire memories rather than enforce seasonal traditions with a variety of electronic styles including hiNRG, jazzy grooves and piano house.

12. D1 Music presents ‘Club Christmas’

Every holiday season brings a new batch of pop stars taking on the catalog of Christmas classics. But have you ever wondered what europop instrumental versions of holiday classics would sound like? Neither did I, and as such, Club Christmas came as a welcome surprise.

13. Christmas Chill CDs

Om Records
Christmas chillout CDs? Are you kidding? Reviews of hOMe for the Holidays (Om Records), Christmas Remixed (Six Degrees) and The Reindeer Room Vol. 2 (Kriztal Entertainment).

 

December 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Darren Aronofsky Discusses ‘Black Swan’

Darren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman Black Swan photoDarren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman on the set of ‘Black Swan.’

© Fox Searchlight

 

Director Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream) is once again earning Oscar buzz for one of this films, this time with the surreal psychological thriller Black Swan. Natalie Portman (also an early fav for Oscar recognition) stars as a talented and troubled ballerina who obsesses over getting and then keeping the lead role in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. And while Black Swan is one of the few films to show the artistry of ballet and the athletic abilities of ballet dancers, it hasn’t done so without ruffling a few feathers.

The film’s earning mostly positive reviews from critics, however there have been a few naysayers who’ve said they believe Black Swan will hurt ballet. At the LA press conference for the Fox Searchlight film, Aronofsky had this to say about that subject: “I saw that report and I thought that it was really unfortunate because we’ve had very, very different reactions from dancers elsewhere. I think so many dancers are incredibly relieved that there’s finally a ballet movie that takes ballet as a serious art and not as a place to have a love affair. If you actually look at ballet, the ballets themselves are incredibly dark and gothic. Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and of course Swan Lake, and this movie could’ve been called Swan Lake. We took the fairy tale of Swan Lake and the ballet of Swan Lake and basically turned all the characters, Rothbart, The Prince, The Queen and translated them into characters in our movie reality. So it’s really just a retelling of Swan Lake.”

“But yes, it definitely shows the challenges and the darkness and the reality of how hard it is to be a ballet dancer. I think it also represents the beauty of the art and the transcendence that’s possible within the art all within retelling Swan Lake. So there are going to be people who are always going to have issues with things, but the margin by far, the dancers that we have met and talked to are like, ‘Finally, we have a real movie about ballet.’ So that’s the response.”

 

Darren Aronofsky Black Swan Press Conference

The reports are that this project started 10 years ago. Can you talk about that?

Darren Aronofsky: “I’ve been a fan of Natalie’s since I saw her in The Professional. Luc Besson is one of my favorite directors, and it turns out that her manager is an old friend of mine from college and so I had a little inside line to meet her. We met in Times Square at the old Howard Johnson’s which is now an American Apparel, which shows you where America is going. We had a really bad cup of coffee. We talked about the early ideas I had about the film. When she says that that I have the entire film in my head it’s a complete lie.”

“We talked a bit about it and I started to develop it, but it was a really tough film because getting into the ballet world proved to be really challenging. Most of the time when you do a movie and you say, ‘Hey, I want to make a movie about your world,’ then all the doors open up and you can do anything and see anything that you want. The ballet world really wasn’t at all interested in us hanging out. So it took a long time to sort of get the information and sort of put it together. Over the years Natalie would say, ‘I’m getting too old to play a dancer. You better hurry up.’ I was like, ‘Natalie, you look great. You’ll be fine.’ And then about a year out before the film – or maybe a little bit earlier – I finally got a screenplay together. That’s how it started.”

This is described as a companion piece to The Wrestler. How did you approach this in contrast to The Wrestler?

Darren Aronofsky: “I don’t really think there’s that much difference. I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal. I think people are people and if their feelings are real and truthful they can connect. I keep saying that it doesn’t matter if you’re an aging 50-something year old wrestler at the end of his career or an ambitious 20-something year old ballet dancer, if they’re truthful to who they are and they’re expressing something real, then audiences will connect. That’s always been the promise of cinema and that’s why we can see a film about a seven year old girl in Iran or an immortal superhero in America. It doesn’t matter as long as they’re truthful.”

Did you and Vincent Cassel create a weird symbiotic relationship based on his role and your approach to directing?

Darren Aronofsky: “I cast someone who looked a lot like me. No. I don’t know. I wish that I could be as manipulative as his character in the film. I think I’m really way, way too direct and I’ve actually scared away a lot of A-List actors. In fact, Natalie Portman is the first A-List actor I’ve worked with in my career. Everyone else sort of went, ‘You want me to do what, for how long, for how little money?’ And then they walk away. So I’ve lost a lot of movie stars along the way, and I think that a more manipulative director would be like, ‘Oh, it’s not going to be that hard. Come in and we’ll have fun.’ But I think that’s when wars start. It’s like, ‘You told me there would be sushi on set every day.’ So I’m a little bit too direct, too straightforward I think.”

Can you talk a little about The Red Shoes and how it influenced you?

Darren Aronofsky: “It’s funny, the one thing about that is that it was a really hard film to make. There was really no money for the film and we had to push a lot of times, and I only found out recently the person who suffered the most from pushing. I actually don’t mind pushing because it means that I get an extra two or three weeks to get my sh-t together, but I found out that Natalie would just be screaming to our mutual friend, the manager, that she had to live on carrots and almonds for another three weeks and what was she going to do? So she was the one who suffered the most from not eating.”

“But the question was about The Red Shoes. I actually wasn’t aware of The Red Shoes. I mean, I had heard of The Red Shoes but I didn’t see it, and then [Martin] Scorsese did the restoration a few years ago and then I was like, ‘You know what? I better go and see it.’ It’s a masterpiece, an unbelievable film, and I saw that there were similarities in the story. But I think that’s because we both went back to ballet and pulled from ballet the different characters and stuff. So we ended up in similar places, but I wasn’t really influenced by it and I really didn’t ever try to be influenced by it because it’s such a masterpiece and the dance sequences, they weren’t doing visual FX like that for 20 years – they were so ahead of their time. So I just sort of kept it in the back and said, ‘Look, we just sort of address it.’ I forget the year, but it’s a long time ago and most people may not know about it, but unfortunately they do.”

Aronofsky: I think the back story was that you had a lover that was a foreign dancer. I don’t know if he was French or Russian or something, but then he left. But it was just a back story and we really didn’t get that deep into it.”

How did your actors get into these characters?

Darren Aronofsky: “[…]I’ve dealt with a few method actors, and I don’t know if should say this but I think it’s a bunch of nonsense. I think it’s film acting and you just have to be on when the camera is rolling. I mean, sure, if it’s a very intense scene then you might want to keep that energy in between the takes while the crew is resetting. And they would all do that, but when it’s ‘Cut’ it’s ‘Cut.’ Even when it’s action there’s still a camera here and all these lights and all these people moving around you. It’s impossible to fully make believe that doesn’t exist. That’s why they’re so good, that they’re able to sort of make believe that that’s not there convincingly. But the second that it’s ‘Cut,’ someone is coming over to touch your mike and someone is putting powder on your face. It is make believe, but I don’t know. Whatever works…not to scare away method actors. Actually I want to scare away method actors because it’s a pain. It’s like, ‘Come on, what are you doing? It’s not real. What are you doing? Oh, you’re really brooding. Okay, good. Go to your trailer. I’ll see you in an hour.'”

Your films have surreal qualities. Do you have an interest in that kind of thing?

Darren Aronofsky: “I think it’s all about what the story is that we want to tell. One thing that I realized during one of these, it’s funny because a lot of times you figure it out when you’re doing the press because you start talking about it and becoming aware of it. The whole cinema verite, handheld approach to The Wrestler was a big risk to bring over into this ballet film because I had never seen a kind of suspenseful film that had this kind of handheld camera and I didn’t know if it work. I was always really worried that if in a really scary scene everyone would wonder why Natalie wouldn’t turn to the cameraman and go, ‘Help,’ or something. So I didn’t know if it was going to work, but I then we sort of went, ‘Fuck it. Let’s just go for it because it’s never been done,’ and I really enjoyed the camera moving. Having a man hold the camera I could really move the camera in ways that you can’t in any other way. The result of that is that the first third of the film has a very different feel than the last half of the film because it’s got this very naturalistic feel, which I think actually is kind of cool because it makes people feel like they’re watching a very different type of movie that can’t ever freak out like the way that it freaks out. Yet it gives you that kind of immediacy of being in that other moment and being in this other world with little hints like she’s peeling her finger and things are going to get really freaked out. In general it just feels like a documentary in the beginning before it freaks out. So it kind of worked out for us.”

Do you enjoy bouncing between genres as a director?

Darren Aronofsky: “I’m not really much of a genre guy. This was my best attempt at a genre film, and I just don’t know really or I just haven’t been able to do that. I think that audiences don’t need that anymore where you just need a very specific genre. Audiences are very sophisticated and as long as it’s fun, it’s okay and entertaining. That’s kind of what I was trying to make and I think it’s also very different, which I think people who are bombarded by so much different types of media are hungry for, just a very, very different experience. So that’s what we were going for, something that keeps you excited and keeps you going and is hopefully memorable so that you talk about it with other people. And, hopefully, they’ll go to the movies.”

 

December 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment