a few hours I will be boarding a plane for the longest flight of my life, going from LAX to Heathrow. Once that 12 hour flight is over, I’ll hop on another plane that will take me to Belfast, Ireland, where I’ll be visiting the set of City of Ember, the next family movie from Fox Walden. Directed by Gil Kenan, the guy behind Monster House, and starring Bill Murray, Martin Landau and Tim Robbins, City of Ember is based on a book by Jeanne Duprau and is about a sealed off underground city whose power is running out. Two teens must discover the secrets of Ember and how to save the city.

After a couple of days in Belfast I’ll be heading down to Dublin for some personal time; I’m half Irish and have never been to the auld sod, so I’m excited to visit this city (even though none of my family is there). I have an itinerary as long as my arm for Dublin, but as long as I get some time in pubs, I’ll be happy. And a photo in front of the Phil Lynott statue, as featured in Once. My time in Dublin will extend through Tuesday, when I’ll board a flight for Budapest; more on that trip later. All in all, I’ll be away for eight or nine days, with almost one full day spent in airplanes. The romance of travel is alive!

What this means for you guys is that you won’t see much of me around here for the next week or so; for some of you that’s good news, for the rest of you, sorry. I’ll try to check in when I can, and I hope to keep updating with pictures from the trip – that was popular when I went to London earlier this year – but my first priority is to have a lot of fun while I’m overseas. My second priority is to cover these film sets, but don’t tell the studios my agenda!

Actually, this is my second overseas trip with Fox Walden, and they seem to have this stuff down pat already. The Belfast leg of the journey, which is what they’re in charge of, looks to be excellently structured, and is going to include a visit to where the Titanic was built as well as the Bushmills distillery. They’re also bringing us on set for two days, which in my opinion is huge – a one day set visit usually means you see one shot being set up and done; a longer visit can give you opportunities to see more movie magic unfolding. They haven’t confirmed for us which talent we’ll be getting, and while I would like to have a chance to talk to Bill Murray, the truth is that I would like to just see him working.

For the next week I leave you in the more than capable hands of the rest of the CHUD crew. I know that Jeremy and Russ have some really great things up their sleeves for the next couple of days, and I hope to be able to get some online time if only to read the rest of Russ’ Toronto reviews. I actually would like to have some reviews for you guys in the coming days: I’ve seen The Brave One (crap), Michael Clayton (decidely middle of the road), Eastern Promises (very good but not quite great. It may grow on me), The Darjeeling Limited (good, but I think I need to see it again) and Gone Baby Gone (really enjoyed this one) in the last couple of days/weeks, plus I think that I may finally be able to write my review of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

In the meantime, here’s what I expect Ireland to be like: