Chris Rock Pokes Fun at Both the Boycott and the Academy
On a night when the Academy Awards were overshadowed by the absence of black nominees, Spotlight upset The Revenant for the big prize, although Mad Max netted the most trophies (6) overall. But from his opening monologue clear through his the close of the evening’s festivities, master of ceremonies Chris Rock kept the pedal to the medal, reminding viewers at every opportunity of the conspicuous absence of African-Americans honorees.
He began by welcoming the audience to the “White People’s Choice Awards” before launching into a 10-minute stand-up routine in which he was careful to level barbs at both sides of the controversy. For example, he chided the members of the Academy for being racists, suggesting, ” If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job.”
On the other hand, he was just as tough on the supporters of the protest, insinuating that they ought to lighten up since things were far worse back in the Fifties and Sixties when their grandmothers might have been lynched. Rock reserved his most caustic comments for Jada Pinkett Smith, saying “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties,” the crude implication being that Jada is untalented and about as likely to be nominated as he is to have sex with the attractive pop diva.
Next, he took a swipe at Jada’s husband, Will Smith, prefacing his remarks by announcing, “I’m not hating.” After conceding that Will had been snubbed for Concussion,” Rock pointed out that it was equally unfair that he’d been paid $20 million for his poor performance in Wild Wild West.
The profusion of race-based humor had its share of awkward moments, like when Chris announced that the “In Memoriam” package would be devoted to “black people shot by cops on their way to the movies.” Just as awkward was when he introduced actress-turned-black conservative Stacey Dash, as the Director of the Academy’s newly-created Minority Outreach Program. Stacey came on stage to say she couldn’t wait to help her people out, before wishing everybody “Happy Black History Month!” The joke fell flat and was met with total silence.
Another headscratcher involved Chris’ introducing the Oscars’ African-American orchestra conductor “just so he can get laid at the Governor’s Ball.”As the curtain came down on the festivities, Rock finally seemed to take sides by defiantly bidding farewell with “Black lives matter!” to the tune of Public Enemy’s anti-establishment anthem “Fight the Power” which played for the duration of the closing credits.
Complete List of Oscar Winners
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lead Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Lead Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Original Screenplay: Spotlight, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Original Song: “Writings on the Wall,” Spectre
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Documentary Feature: Amy
Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Visual Effects: Ex Machina
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography: The Revenant
Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Live Action Short Film: Stutterer
Documentary Short Film: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Surrealistic Buddy Flick Features “Fellini”-esque Meditation on Mortality
Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) has chosen to withdraw from the limelight after a storybook career as a celebrated composer and conductor. He’s presently being pampered with mud baths and massages at a scenic spa nestled in the Swiss Alps where he’s vacationing with his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) and his his best friend, filmmaker Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel).
Despite being well into their 70s, Mick is working on the script for his next movie with the help of a quintet of young collaborators. For these purposes, it is good to know that Mick’s son Julian (Ed Stoppard) is married to Lena, who has just been dumped for a British pop singer (Paloma Faith herself).
While in the midst of dividing his days between reminiscing with his BFF and soothing his emotionally-distant daughter’s fragile psyche, Fred gets a surprising request to come out of retirement by an emissary (Alex Macqueen) of the Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth II is offering knighthood in exchange for playing his most popular piece, “Simple Songs,” at Prince Philip’s impending birthday concert.
However, Fred summons up the strength to decline the command performance coming with an honorary title attached. For, he has already shed any attachment to his public persona in favor of meditating on his mortality and giving Lena the quality time she was denied as a child. After all, she still hasn’t forgiven him for focusing so selfishly on classical music during her formative years.
Thus unfolds Youth, a surreal mix of heartfelt introspection and escapist fantasy reminiscent of Federico Fellini. The movie was written and directed by Fellini’s fellow paisan, Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty) who is not shy about juxtaposing a variety of jarring images certain to leave a lasting impression, even if you’re not quite sure what to make of the visually captivating menagerie.
Caine and Keitel enjoy their best outings in ages, albeit in service of an inscrutable adventure that deliberately does its darndest to defy definition.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexuality and graphic nudity
Gender Preference Biopic Features Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar-Nominated Performance as Sex Change Pioneer
In 2015, Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor Oscar for his poignant portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. While Eddie earned the picture’s only Oscar, he really owed a debt of gratitude to Hawking as well as his nominated co-star Felicity Jones.
After all, she did a terrific job as his wife, Jane, in service of a character-tale turn which focused more on the unfortunate arc of the couple’s ill-fated relationship than on the wheelchair-bound genius’ contributions to the field of theoretical physics. Furthermore, Hawking himself imbued the production with an air of authenticity by allowing his impersonator to use the actual synthesized voice he’s relied upon since being crippled by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
In The Danish Girl, Redmayne plays another icon who is virtually upstaged onscreen by an intriguing spouse. Here, he plays Einar Wegener aka Lili Elbe (1882-1931), a Danish artist best remembered as a pioneer in the transgender movement.
While Redmayne netted another Academy Award nomination for making a seamless metamorphosis into Einar, his co-star Alicia Vikander is the favorite to win Best Supporting Actress for her beguiling turn as his supportive spouse.Directed by Oscar-winner Tom Hooper (for The King’s Speech), the film was adapted from David Ebershoff’s novel of the same name. The book is based on a fictionalized account of Lili’s life, although her sexual reassignment surgery is factual.
Redmayne’s androgynous appearance helps the movie immeasurably, as he is very convincing as a female. And the picture couldn’t be more timely, given the culture’s embrace of Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitin.
The picture’s point of departure is Copenhagen in the Roaring Twenties, which is where we find Einar and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) both plying their trade as aspiring artists. Her preference is portraiture, while he’s only been inspired to paint the same desolate landscape marked by a clump of spindly, barren trees.
The plot thickens after Gerda suggests he serve as a stand-in for the beautiful model (Amber Heard) she was supposed to paint that day. Einar dons female attire and finds himself enjoying the experience more than expected.
Next thing you know, he’s secretly slipping out into public in drag and even attends a swinging soiree where he attracts an ardent admirer (Ben Whishaw) ostensibly unaware of Lili’s true gender. The pair’s ensuing courtship eventually mushrooms into passion, and the scandalous infidelity understandably puts a strain on Einar and Gerda’s marriage.
A compelling cinematic adventure revolving around the historic decision to undergo the world’s first sex change operation.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for sexuality and full-frontal nudity
Running time: 120 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Making of The Danish Girl.
You’ve spent days and weeks preparing for the deer season, and your trail camera has taken photos of the biggest buck you’ve ever seen. You’ve practiced shooting beside the garage and hung your treestand in the perfect travel corridor between the buck’s bedding and feeding area.
As if living in a dream, the buck shows up and all your hard work is about to pay off. You draw your bow, just like you practiced, level your sight pin on the deer’s vitals, and slowly squeeze the trigger on your release. Your arrow flies high and off the mark, sending the buck into racing escape mode.
How could you have possibly missed after taking the time to practice and prepare to harvest the buck cleanly and effectively? The biggest reason archers have misguided arrows from treestands is their shooting form. Shooting angles can be a tricky business and practicing to get it right is the best way to learn lessons before the buck of a lifetime shows up.
Most of us practice shooting at ground level. We set up a target, block, or 3D critter and launch arrows until we start damaging arrows or nocks as your accuracy improves. Your consistency is what makes you accurate and your balance and alignment to your bow is critical. However, shooting from a tree, with a steep angle, changes your upper body symmetry entirely. If you drop your arms to compensate for the angle you will not be looking at your peep or sight the same as you did on level ground. When you release your arrow it will be off the mark.
A couple ways to beat angle problems is to bend at the waist in order to keep the balance between your body and your bow, just like you practiced on horizontal ground. Your sight can play a significant role in staying on target and the TRUGLO® Range Rover PRO sight can
TRUGLO Range Rover
offer huge advantages from a treestand. There is no pin in the sight—simply a crisp, green illuminated dot that provides a good field of view while maintaining a precise aiming point. The dot is laminated in the lens and features 11 different brightness settings, offering a bright and reliable sight picture in any light. Controlling your brightness is especially important in a treesand, where the lighting conditions in your stand and on the ground could be very different. Most notable are the ranging features of this sight—the entire aperture moves up and down to adapt to various distances or shooting angles. This allows a treestand hunter to use the entire sight picture at any range (not obscured by other pins) whether the deer in a distant meadow or sneaking directly below the tree. Simply range your target, dial the distance, and shoot to the exact spot where the illuminated dot is aligned.
Good form on the ground or in a tree comes from consistency and in today’s archery world there is a host of products to help us stay consistent. If you look through a TRUGLO® catalog, you’ll find all the small items that add up to a big difference in consistency and accuracy.
I started shooting with a kisser button and still recommend one for anyone wanting to ensure they always use and draw to the same anchor
TRUGLO Speed Shot
point. TRUGLO offers its own Kisser Buttons in a variety of colors to match today’s customized bows. A string loop ensures you have the exact same release point every time you shoot an arrow. The loop is durable and forgiving when it comes to being pulled at different angles. I use a TRUGLO SPEED SHOT™ XS BOA® release for consistent string release every time. The mechanical releases are the number one reason archers see improvements in accuracy, and if you ever shot with your fingers you’ll know what I’m talking about. The BOA has a tension dial to fasten the release to your wrist. I like the adjustability when wearing different clothes under different hunting situations. The trigger has a lightweight pull and the jaws hold the string firmly but, more importantly, release it smoothly.
TRUGLO Peep Sight
Peep sights are a necessity when using any type of sight. It aligns your eye through your string and centers it on your sight. The size of the aperture in the peep is usually an individual preference. Small openings mean tighter accuracy, but in low light or with dark backgrounds they can limit your sight picture. Check-out TRUGLO’s VERSA™-PEEP which includes interchangeable inserts allowing the shooter to customize peep size preference.
The best advice I can provide is to practice shooting angles from a treestand and figure out what works for you. If you’re smart, you’ll always have a safety harness on and one of the techniques you can try is to lean forward, with weight on the harness strap to change your shot angle. You need to trust your harness and ensure you have it set up and adjusted properly. Leaning forward will put you perpendicular to the target again.
Back tension releases can be used to ensure you aren’t shortcutting your draw cycle. Things always feel different in the tree and drawing the same is critical. Back tension will force you to keep proper form.
Practice shooting from the sitting position. Leaning forward and bending at the waist when sitting may feel awkward so make sure you practice to ensure you’ll hit the mark when releasing an arrow.
Good form in a treestand is just as critical as the time you spend practicing, scouting and preparing for all the other aspects of our hunt. Practice good form and know what to do when that buck of a lifetime shows up under your stand.
Stallone Revives Rocky Franchise with Oscar-Quality Performance
When most people think of Rocky, what automatically comes to mind is the iconic image of a gutsy underdog easy to root for who held his own in the boxing ring against a variety of imposing adversaries. Each installment of the series has basically revolved around the hype leading to a riveting championship bout between a veritable David and Goliath.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Creed is a worthy spin-off which not only pays homage to that tried-and-true formula but also represents a bit of departure for the beloved franchise. What’s new is the fact that this film devotes as much attention to character development as to ratcheting up the tension surrounding the fateful showdown. What’s familiar is Sly Stallone delivering afresh as the legendary Rocky Balboa in another Oscar-nominated performance.
The picture reunites Coogler with Michael B. Jordan, the star of his directorial debut, the critically-acclaimed Frutivale Station. Here, Jordan plays, Adonis Johnson, a juvenile delinquent who’s had his share of scrapes with the law, thanks to a quick temper and a tendency to settle differences with a pair of unusually powerful fists.
Just past the point of departure, the hot-headed orphan is informed by Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) widow (Phylicia Rashad) that he is the illegitimate son of Rocky’s original archenemy. That at least explains the inclination to fight that’s ostensibly been baked into his DNA.
Fast-forward a few years, when Adonis has learned to channel his anger and explosive might via boxing. Over the objections of his adoptive mom (Mrs. Creed), he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps.
So, he moves from L.A. to Philly where he finds Rocky running a restaurant called Adrian’s. Adonis prevails upon the ex-champ to serve as his trainer. Rocky agrees on the condition the kid changes his surname to Creed, and the next thing you know the kid rises in the ranks to #1 contender and luckily lands a title fight with Pretty Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellow).
Meanwhile, Adonis falls in love with his next-door neighbor, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), an aspiring hip-hop artist on the verge of making it in her own right. Away from the gym, he spends some quality time with Rocky, too, offering a little heartfelt, if unsolicited advice that just might save his aging mentor’s life.
“Rocky” and the next Roman numeral might not be in the title, but this engaging and faithful seventh episode includes all the fixins to amount to a highly-recommended spin-off of the storied franchise.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity and sensuality
Running time: 133 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; Becoming Adonis; and Know the Past, Own the Future. Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other.
The Catholic Church has a very checkered past regarding its handling of the rampant molestation of children by the clergy. And Pope Francis recently tarnished that image further by issuing a plenary pardon to any pedophile priests willing to confess their sins.
This means the Church is likely to remain a safe haven for its protected perverts. Meanwhile, their traumatized victims continue to be frustrated in their quest for compensation or just to expose the identities of their abusers. That’s because the Church hierarchy has routinely opted to enforce a white collar of silence whereby serial rapists in its ranks are merely reassigned to a different parish rather than defrocked and reported to the authorities.
Directed by Oscar-nominee Tom McCarthy (for this movie and Up), Spotlight has been nominated for a half-dozen Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams). The film focuses on one of those rare occasions where the truth regarding pedophile priests did manage to come to light.
In that instance, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), the editor of the Boston Globe, was willing to look into the widespread rumors of a Catholic cover-up of molestation stretching back decades. . After all, as a Jewwho was new to town, he wasn’t as awed as the locals by the powerful Boston Archdiocese being run with an iron fist by Cardinal Bernard Francis Law (Len Cariou).
So, the intrepid editor gave his approval to a quartet of reporters interested in launching a deeper investigation. Code-named “Spotlight,” the crack team comprised of Mike Rezendes (Ruffalo), Robby Robinson (Michael Keaton), Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) researched the story for several years.
On January 6, 2002, they finally began publishing their findings in a series of damning articles that exposed Cardinal Law as an enabler offering protection for cronies he knew to be guilty as sin. For, the inquiry had unearthed mountains of evidence that the archdiocese was not only aware of about a hundred kids who’d been assaulted by numerous different men of the cloth.
But Church attorneys had repeatedly run interference for the perpetrators by settling claims out of court while simultaneously swearing the plaintiffs to secrecy via non-disclosure agreements. Consequently, the repeat offenders were free to move around from parish-to-parish, destroying additional youngsters’ lives in the process.
Overall, Spotlight amounts to a scathing indictment of the Catholic Church as little more than a meat market racket masquerading as a religious institution. Though not exactly a date night or a feel-good flick, the film nevertheless comes highly recommended for a few reasons.
First, it relates an important reminder about the salutary value of investigative reporting in a Digital Age when Google search engine optimization would assign a higher page ranking to a picture of a cute cat than to a story of such social relevance. Second, the compelling screenplay unfolds in gripping fashion and without resort to rehashing salacious details in a manner bordering on re-victimization. And third, the A-list cast turns in a plethora of dynamic performances, most notably Ruffalo, McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.
An iconoclastic drama that makes a convincing argument in support of the incendiary axiom, “The closer to Church, the further from God.”
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexual references and mature themes
Running time: 129 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Uncovering the Truth: A Spotlight Team Roundtable; Spotlight: A Look Inside; and The State of Journalism.
Eddie the Eagle (PG-13 for smoking, partial nudity and suggestive material) Inspirational biopic about British ski jumper Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton), the farsighted underdog who became a crowd favorite at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Co-starring Hugh Jackman, Christopher Walken and Jo Hartley.
Gods of Egypt (PG-13 for action, violence and some sexuality) Action fantasy, inspired by ancient mythology, about a thief (Brenton Thwaites) who joins forces with a god of war (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) in order to protect a peaceable kingdom from a god of darkness (Gerard Butler) and his henchmen. With Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, Geoffrey Rush, Chadwick Boseman and Bruce Spence.
Triple 9 (R for nudity, graphic violence, drug use and pervasive profanity) Grisly crime thriller revolving around Russian mobsters blackmailing some crooked cops into attempting a practically impossible heist. A-list ensemble cast includes Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet, Oscar nominees Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Casey Affleck, along with Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer and Michael Kenneth Williams.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
Backtrack (R for profanity, violence and disturbing images) Psychological thriller about a shrink (Adrien Brody) who starts questioning his own sanity after discovering that his patients are ghosts. With Robin McLeavy, Bruce Spence and Jenni Baird.
The Bounce Back (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and brief drug use) Romance drama about a relationship expert (Shemar Moore) who falls head-over-heels for a fellow love guru(Nadine Velazquez) while on a publicity tour for his new book. Cast includes Kali Hawk, Michael Beach and Vanessa Bell Calloway.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (PG-13 for violence and brief partial nudity) Michelle Yeoh reprises her role as a martial arts warrior in this tale of redemption revolving around a search for a legendary sword. Co-starring Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Harry Shum, Jr. and Roger Yuan.
Marguerite & Julien (Unrated) Tale of forbidden love about an aristocratic brother (Jeremie Elkaim) and sister (Anais Demoustier) who find themselves ostracized by polite society when their incestuous affair comes to light. Featuring Frederic Pierrot, Aurelia Petit and Catherine Mouchet. (In French with subtitles)
A Strange Course of Events (Unrated) Prodigal Son drama about a melancholy, middle-aged dreamer (Ori Pfeffer) who returns home to Haifa to reconcile with the estranged father (Moni Moshonov) he blamed for all his life failures. With Michaela Eshet, Bethany Gorenberg and Maya Dagan. (In Hebrew with subtitles)
Tricked (Unrated) Tale of passion and betrayal revolving around a real estate tycoon (Peter Blok) whose 50th birthday party thrown by his wife (Ricky Koole) is ruined by his backstabbing business partners (Jochum ten Haaf and Pieter Tddens) and news that one of his mistresses (Sallie Harmsen and Gaite Jansen) is pregnant. Supporting cast includes Robert de Hoog, Carolien Spoor and Ronald van Elderen. (In Dutch and English with subtitles)
Who’s Driving Doug (Unrated) RJ Mitte plays the title character in this unlikely-buddies drama as a nerdy college student who embarks on a very eventful road trip with a slacker (Ray William Johnson) and a cute classmate (Paloma Kwiatkowski) he has a crush on. With Daphne Zuniga, Shanti Lowry and Alix Elizabeth Gitter.
Ruthless Russian Mobsters Blackmail Crooked Cops in Riveting, High Body-Count Thriller
Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet) assumed the reins of an Atlanta-based crime syndicate after her husband Vasili (Igor Komar) was sent up the river. Despite the jailing of the ruthless mobster, the gang’s operations have continued to flourish with the help of corrupt police officers and ex-Marines. One crooked cop, Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), even has a young son (Blake McLennan) with Irina’s sister, Elena (Gal Gadot), which makes him all the more vulnerable to manipulation.
Like a Russian version of the Mexican drug lord El Chapo, Vasili is just itching to get out of jail. So, Irina hatches a plan to spring him from prison with the help of the various authorities she already has in a compromising position.
In 25 words or less, the scheme involves issuing a phony 9-9-9, the police code for “officer down,” since every police car would be immediately dispatched to the scene not only to assist the wounded brother in blue but to apprehend the perpetrator. Theoretically, at least, that drain on available resources would afford Irina’s henchmen an opportunity to strike.
Thus unfolds Triple 9, a rather riveting cat-and-mouse caper directed by Aussie John Hillcoat (The Road). The over-the-top action thriller featuring an intriguing plot was written by first-time scriptwriter Matt Cook.
Its cast includes an array of A-list actors topped by Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer and Michael Kenneth Williams. Having so many talented thespians pays off in spades for a picture which proves compelling from beginning to end.
At heart, Triple 9 is a nihilistic adventure set in a disturbing, urban dystopia filled with nothing but untrustworthy backstabbers. That makes it darn near impossible to find a protagonist to root for besides Sergeant Jeffrey Allen (Harrelson), a clean detective capable of smelling a rat.
The wily veteran in charge of the investigation must negotiates his way down a dangerous gauntlet while sorting out suspects right in the ranks of his own department. What makes his plight even dicier is the pyrotechnics-driven flick’s “When in doubt, blow it up!” philosophy.
An alternately visceral and cerebral, high body-count crime thriller not to be missed!
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for nudity, graphic violence, drug use and pervasive profanity
Since the start of the compound bow era nearly 50 years ago, manufacturers have worked diligently to make their products lighter and faster. It’s a task they have conquered exceedingly well, but always with a subtle “swimming upstream” caveat. With these faster-shooting, lighter-weighing, and smaller-profile bows comes an increased propensity for noise. All that energy has to go somewhere, and since no arrow can absorb 100-percent of a bow’s juice, that excess energy transfers throughout the bow and to anything attached to it. The result is vibration and noise that is both annoying to the shooter, and alarming to game animals.
Some folks wrongly believe that speed makes up for noise. In other words, they think that a fast bow and ultra light micro-diameter shafts can deliver a lethal shot before a game animal has time to react. While it is true that a fast-flying arrow can help mitigate animal flinching and string jumping to some degree, it doesn’t eliminate the problem. Whitetail deer, in particular, are usually wound tight as a banjo string. If you have a 30-yard shot on a buck that is looking right at you, most likely he will be moving before your arrow reaches him. And as veteran bowhunters know, the difference between a lethal, ethical shot and a poor hit can be measured in half-inch increments. Even the slightest flinch of a game animal caused by bow noise can be enough to put your arrow’s point-of-impact somewhere you don’t want it to be.
Quietness is a key selling point for any bow manufacturer, but no matter how quiet a bow is in stock form, no one shoots a stock bow. Once you add the requisite sights, quivers, and possibly a bow-mounted camera, you’ve just introduced a boatload of potential noise makers to your setup.
Fortunately, solutions abound, and while there is no one magic bullet for quieting a bow, the cumulative effects of strategic noise reduction can stack the odds in your favor. Here’s how you do it…
Pluck a string and it vibrates. Placing rubber string silencers, such as the TRUGLO TRU?BLOCK™ String Silencers, between the strands of your bowstring will significantly reduce that vibration and its subsequent noise. Usually two rubber-type string silencers are sufficient for most bows—one between the serving and the upper cam and one between the serving and lower cam. Every bow’s harmonic “sweet spot” is different, so experiment with silencer placement by sliding them up and down the string to see where they are most quiet.
Modern bowhunting equipment achieves unprecedented speed through a combination of mechanically efficient bow design and lightweight arrows. One of the downsides of lightweight arrows, though, is that they do no absorb as much of a bow’s energy as heavier arrows. That inescapable inefficiency means that the energy not transferred to the arrow goes into the bow and its accessories, resulting in vibration that not only causes noise, but also can loosen screws and other attaching hardware.
Light versus heavy arrows is a debate in bowhunting circles, but no matter which camp you fall into, you cannot deny the physics. If you want to help quiet your bow, use the heaviest arrow you are comfortable shooting.
Originally designed to improve a bow’s stability, stabilizers have become an important tool for absorbing vibration and noise. For a hunting
bow, which necessarily must use a short stabilizer, that’s asking a lot. The good news is that advances in sound dampening materials and engineering have led to bow stabilizers that are highly efficient in vibration absorption and, in some cases, are even adjustable.
Among the most advanced hunting stabilizers on the market today are TRUGLO’s new Carbon XS™ stabilizers. Available in 7- and 9-inch lengths, these aesthetically pleasing stabilizers utilize a composite performance material construction combined with a unique continuously curving design for balanced energy transfer and adjustable weight suspension system that allows you to custom-tune the stabilizer for your particular shooting setup. Another adjustable stabilizer from TRUGLO is the TRU?TEC™ Carbon Pro with a carbon-composite exoskeleton and adjustable weight suspension system as well. If you’re a screw-it-on-and-go type, check out the DEADENATOR XS™ in black or your favorite licensed camo pattern. Whichever model you choose, you will enjoy a reduction in both hand shock and noise.
TRUGLO Bow Quiver
Probably the noisiest bow accessory is the arrow quiver, as many quivers use mounts that have notoriously loose tolerances. This “slop” between the mount and the quiver body can create a significant racket when you release the bowstring. You want a quiver that has a tight, no-rattle fit between the quiver body and the mount, a thick foam hood insert to keep the broadheads from rattling, as well as tight arrow grippers to keep them secure.
TRUGLO goes one step further in quiver noise reduction with the TRU?TEC™ LT with its Postive-Lock mounting system for smooth one-hand removal and ultra-secure attachment to the bow. This quiver comes with five color-matching rubber inserts that help absorb vibrations. Simply pick your color and insert the damper in the quiver frame.
TRUGLO Archery Sight
In addition to quivers, bow sights can be big noisemakers. Most are comprised of many small parts that are held together with screws. The more parts there are, the greater the potential for noise—especially at any metal-to-metal contact points.
Buying a precision-made, high-quality bow sight will go a long way to ensuring quiet performance. So will verifying that all adjustment screws and attaching hardware are snug. It’s a good practice to check the tightness of all bow sight hardware after each practice session and before each hunt.
In addition to offering bow sights with the quality materials and construction, many TRUGLO sights such as the CARBON HYBRID™ Micro also feature the TRU?TOUCH™ Soft-Feel Technical Coating. This finish not only looks and feels better than painted or anodized metal, the coating’s inherent sound-dampening qualities help put the “hush” on one of the bowhunting world’s most raucous accessories.
TRUGLO Arrow Rest
The other must-have accessory that has the potential for creating a racket is the arrow rest. As with quivers, arrow rest noise is proportionate to its material and construction quality. TRUGLO engineers its drop away and capture rests such as the CARBON XS™, UP•DRAFT™, DOWN•DRAFT™ and STORM™ to be quiet both during and after arrow launch. They accomplish this through close tolerances and precise parts fitment, as well as the selection of materials used for the “hard” components and the composition of the arrow shelves and pads.
Of course, even high-end arrow rests like these can use a little extra help in the quiet department—not because of bow vibration as much as arrow “clang.” We’ve all dropped an arrow off the shelf and cringed as the unnatural “clank” echoed through the still woods. You can keep this potential disaster to a minimum by adding moleskin or similar adhesive material to the inside of your rest and around your risers’ window and shelf areas.
But Wait, There’s More…
We said earlier that noise dampening is a cumulative effort affecting many areas of your bow. A couple of items increasingly found on factory bows that also contribute to noise reduction are limb dampers (rubber attachments that fit on or between your bow limbs) and string stoppers (a device that cushions the string upon release). Your particular bow may or may not have come with these devices and may or may not be able to accommodate them, so check with your local pro shop for more info.
Finally, no matter what type or how many accessories you have on your bow, make sure everything is tightened down. Even the smallest loose part can make a disproportionally big noise when you launch an arrow. Putting a few Allen wrenches to your bow between each target practice and hunting session can go a long ways to making sure your bow sounds more like silence and less like a hickory nut hitting a tin roof.
James Franco is an actor, director, screenwriter, producer, teacher and author. He began his career on Freaks and Geeks and received a Golden Globe Award for his performance in the biographical film James Dean.
His notable film credits include Oz, the Great and Powerful, Spring Breakers, the Spider-Man trilogy, Milk and 127 Hours for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. On the stage, he recently made his Broadway debut in Of Mice & Men to rave reviews.
James has directed, written and produced several features and has been published in both magazines and his own books. He is currently teaching college courses at UCLA, USC and Cal Arts, as well as acting classes at Studio4.
Here, he talks about his latest screen offering, Yosemite.
Kam Williams: Hey James, thanks so much for the opportunity to speak with you.
James Franco: Yeah, I’m excited, too.
KW: I told my readers I’d be interviewing you, so I’ll be mixing their questions in with mine. Let me start by saying how impressed with the diverse and extensive body of work you’ve already compiled at such a young age, especially given how much time you’ve also devoted to your education. How have you managed to juggle the two so successfully?
JF: There came a time in my career when I realized that acting alone wasn’t going to allow me to express everything I wanted to express in all the ways that I wanted to. I had dropped out of UCLA, so I went back and finally got my bachelor’s degree at 28, I think. And I realized that school was good for me. I actually learned really well there. Not only that, I went to graduate school where a lot of my heroes would be my teachers in the writing and filmmaking programs. So, I couldn’t get enough school, and from that point on, a lot of opportunities opened up. For instance, at NYU, I met many of my collaborators, including Gabrielle Demeestere, who directed Yosemite. School also showed me that a great variety of projects were possible, as long as they were organized and scheduled in the proper way.
KW: Sangeetha Subramian asks: James, how did it feel playing a father in Yosemite?
JF: That was a particularly strange and gratifying experience. I wrote the short story it’s adapted from. It’s fiction, but I based a lot of it on trips I used to take to Yosemite with my father and brother. So, when Gabby asked me to play the father, she was essentially asking me to play my father, who passed five years ago.
KW: I’m sorry to hear that.
JF: Thank you. By playing him and going back to Yosemite, it was almost like I was revisiting him, as if I got one more experience with him, which was nice. Strangely enough, even though I didn’t do any of the location scouting, Gabby ended up shooting at maybe four or five of the locations that my dad had taken me and my brother when I was a little kid. That was sort of surreal, and a case of fiction imitating life, or life being put on screen in the form of fiction.
KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What drives you to write a short story and also turn it into a movie? Do you think the audience can get the message and feel the same emotional response you’re after from either medium? Or do you see them as completely different art forms?
JF: One of the areas I work in frequently is adaptations. All of the movies I’ve directed are adaptations. I really enjoy that process. Having done a lot of them, I understand the two media to be related but they work in very different ways, and you get different things out of each. Not to say that one is better than the other. Generally speaking, you could say that with a piece of fiction it is much easier to convey the interior life of a character in a very smooth and fluid fashion. You can do that with an internal monologue or internal thoughts. With film, you have actors delivering performances which enable audiences to tap into the emotions of characters in a totally different way from how they do with characters on a page. With cinema, they’re responding to facial expressions and physical beings. And that’s something that prose cannot do. I enjoy both approaches, so I’m totally invested in both media, which is why I feel there’s value in writing a short story and also in having a it made into a movie.
KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: You dropped out of college to pursue an acting career which took a lot of courage. Do you think courage is a critical quality required to become successful in show business?
JF: Yeah, in any creative endeavor, you do have to sort of take your shots. Nobody is going to beg you to go into the creative arts. So, if you want to pursue a career in something like acting or writing, the motor and the drive have to come from you. And that does take courage because, A, a lot of people want to do it, and B, it’s hard. So, you have to have the guts to put yourself out there and go for it in spite of the world saying, “You know, it would be so much easier, if you didn’t pursue this.” So, it does take guts.
KW: Why did you decide to actually live on the streets and pass for a homeless person in preparation to play Joey in City by the Sea.
JF: I did City by the Sea a long time ago. A lot of actors can be very committed when they’re young. I was especially overzealous as a young actor. I would do whatever I could in preparation for a role. In addition, I was starring opposite one of my heroes, Robert De Niro. I really just wanted to go as far as I could in my preparation. So, I did sleep on the streets of Santa Monica for a weekend. I put on a disguise and stayed in one of the missions downtown overnight. And I also slept on the streets of New York. I don’t know whether my performance would’ve been the same otherwise, but it was good for me as an actor at the time, because it pushed me to commit emotionally to the character.And if anything, that sort of self-dedication can fuel your passion for the work.
KW: What can you tell me about your next film, Memoria?
JF: Yosemite and Memoria were put together as films at the same time. I had just graduated from NYU where I had friends who I knew were very talented. I also knew that I kind of had a leg up in the business because I’d already been acting for a decade and a half. So, as a director, I was able to get my movies made much easier than my classmates. I put Yosemite and Memoria together in order to give opportunities to people from NYU who I knew were very talented and very deserving. I was also confident that they would adapt my stories into movies that I’d be very proud of. So I asked Gabby for Yosemite, and then Nino Ljeti and this guy Vlad [Vladimir de Fontenay] for Memoria. These movies were really just a way to collaborate with some of my friends and classmates on projects I knew they’d be well-suited for.
KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you’d like to star in?
JF: Wow!That’s good question. It’s a tricky question, too, because I don’t know whether I’d ever want to remake any of my favorites movies.I loved One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but I’d rather redo it as a play, because it would be a weird exercise to try to remake the movie. One of the reasons everybody loved it was for Jack Nicholson’s performance. If you do a remake, you want to do something better, or at least different. And I don’t know that I could do McMurphy better than Nicholson.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? And please answer the question.
JF: [Laughs] Good question. No, I’ve sort of been asked everything and I’ve been pretty frank. So, I never find myself saying, “Man, I wish people knew this or that about me.”
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Do you have a favorite movie monster?
JF: I’m a big fan of these recent indie-level horror movies. I loved It Follows, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and The Babadook. As far as monsters go, I guess I’m still a huge Dracula fan. My father gave me the book when I was pretty young, so I’ve been a diehard Dracula fan since I was a teenager.
KW: Patricia was wondering whether you’d be interested in playing the Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, if they were to make a biopic about the late owner of Sears department store?
JF: I don’t know anything about him, but it sounds very interesting.
KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?
JF: That is another great question. I feel like my memories are mixed up with old family photos. I have images in my head of dressing up as a Stanford football player. It feels like my earliest memory is playing around in a Stanford uniform in my front yard. But I’m note sure whether that’s just because I’ve seen a photo of it, or because I’m actually remembering the experience. .
KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?
JF: [Chuckles] I don’t really use a wallet that much. One credit card, a minimal amount of cash, and my driver’s license.
KW: Thanks again for the time, James, and best of luck with Yosemite.
JF: I’ve enjoyed it, Kam. We should do this again for another movie.