Friday, January 23, 2015

ABOUT TIME

Due to the excessive boredom during winter break which included;
  • irregular sleeping patterns 
  • excessive partying 
  • streaming movies illegally 

I was running out of movie options.. With a failed relationship the last thing I wanted to watch was a "love movie". Especially a movie that includes Rachel Mc Adams. You may know her from The Notebook, The Time Travelers Wife, and The Vow.  Don't get me wrong I believe she is a great actress, but in almost every movie I have seen (which include the above), the central theme involves love. As you can imagine I was not in a great state of mind to watch a love movie. However, I later made the decision to watch About Time.

About Time, was written and directed by Richard Cutris. The idea is simple, yet complex.  It's the idea of a man who has the ability to time travel to change his past in order to have a better future. Although, this movie is unrealistic because I mean I can't time travel to change my past. </3 However, not only does this movie show the love that Tim has for Marie. But, it shows the love that Tim has for his father and his freelance, carefree awesome hippy sister Kit Kat.



Tim tries to keep his family together. In all essence this movie was really a touching drama about the love between father and son. The end of the movie shows the closing to one of his last time traveling trips to visit his father, where he says his last good-bye.





There is a huge moral that lies in this story: Enjoy the important things in life, love, family, children and so forth.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Evangelion: 1.11 You Can {Not} Advance


     Over the holiday break, I finally found the time to watch a movie that was highly recommended to me by a lot of my friends. Evangelion: 1.11 You Can {Not} Advance is a Japanese animated movie that is based off of Neon Genesis Evangelion, a TV show that ran for 26 episodes. Although the series originally ran from 1995 to 1996, this movie came out in 2007 and introduces breathtaking animation to a classic story with fantastic writing, plot, and characters. The story takes place in a desolate future where the world has been vastly damaged during the second impact, a mysterious disaster that killed half of the world's population. In Tokyo, Japan, the military has been developing technology to prevent such a disaster from ever happening again. In the middle of these developments, strange and nearly invincible monster's known as "angels" attack the earth and try to bring disaster to the planet once again. The military must use the only means they have to defeat these creatures which are humongous humanoid robots that are piloted by humans. The story follows a young boy named Shinji who has to pilot one of these robots and deals with the stress of the future of the entire human race resting on his shoulders.



     Overall, this movie is not supposed to be a complete retelling of the original series and handles it more like a reboot. There are new characters, new scenarios, and at some points, complete deviation from the original story that will keep fans of the old series , as well as people who have not, thoroughly entertained throughout the whole production. That being said, there is no way for any movie to capture the same feeling and emotion that a 26 episode series can and because of that, this movie is no substitution for the original series and should be viewed before watching the series only if audience members want the highlights of the series as a whole. Aside from the stunning visuals, characters are developed very fluidly and they feel like actual people trying to live their lives in a world with an uncertain future. The movie has no problems dealing with death and people that are squeamish of blood and violence should avoid this picture completely.
 

   
     This is the first of three movies that were made for the series and I haven't gotten the chance to see them just yet. Based off of the cliffhanger at the end of the first movie and the beautiful animation and direction that it has however, I will be sure to watch the next one and I am very excited to see if they can top themselves in the second installment. I will report back here once I have gotten around to finally watching it.    



Netflix and House of Cards

With the amount of money Internet streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video make, it didn’t take long for them to start airing original series. One of the most popular of these shows is House of Cards, a political drama featuring Kevin Spacey. Set in Washington D.C., this show follows fictional politician Frank Underwood through all the deception and manipulation of a job in the White House.

House of Cards is one of those shows that it seems like everyone has seen, and if it were to be included in the Nielsen ratings system, it would likely be one of the highest rated shows currently on TV. Sadly for Kevin Spacey, his pay rate is not quite up to par with the show's popularity. Since Netflix is a private company that does not air any commercials, and House of Cards (a Netflix original series) does not air anywhere else, there is no reason for Netflix to release information regarding the amount of views its shows get. This leaves Spacey and his agent guessing as how to much money he should make for each episode.

Netflix’s ability to keep their data private gives them an advantage that television networks do not have - although with their gross revenue of $5.5 billion in 2014, they would be doing just fine even if Kevin Spacey were to make twice as much as he does. Despite the disadvantage Spacey faces, he is returning for a 3rd season which airs on Netflix on February 27th. It will be interesting to see how the show progresses having gained so much popularity since the last season was released, and how other existing Netflix original shows like Orange Is The New Black will progress as well. 2015 will be a big year for Internet streaming, and House of Cards will be no exception.

Friends

Recently, the hit TV series Friends was added to Netflix. This was an amazing thing that seemed to sweep over everyone that I know. This was a TV show I grew up watching, seeing as my parents tuned into this show every week when I was a kid. So, I was right on board with everyone else.
I've spent a week or so binge watching it, now, and there's one aspect that I'm not sure I can get over. That's the idea of the "supercouple" known as Ross and Rachel. Their relationship plays throughout the entire series, starting with Ross pining after Rachel, then Rachel not realizing how good he'd be for her until he has a girlfriend, they date, break up, date, break up, date and break up, again and again, and is hinted at that they get married after the series finale.
The idea of the two of them is good in the beginning, seeing as Ross always had feelings for Rachel and they're both at points in their lives where they can be together. Their relationship goes well at first, but just seems to snowball. It's apparent that they were always supposed to be "endgame" but there just seems to be a point where enough should be enough. How many times can a relationship fail before you call a quits? 
They were probably widely liked at the time, and keeping them together and dangling them on this string of near separation probably did great for the ratings of the show. But, sometimes, it's better for a break to be a break-up. 

Selma

The 2014 film Selma is an American historical-drama that follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s (David Oyelowo) attempt to desegregate an Alabaman town in the year 1965. Directed by Ava Duvernay, this film mainly follows the struggles of the citizens of Selma, Alabama while they struggle to persuade President Lyndon B. Johnson(Tom Wilkinson) to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


While historical dramas are not usually my favorite type of film to watch, I decided to see this one as a token to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I came away with mixed opinions. Possibly the most compelling aspect of the movie was that David Oyelowo gave an extremely convincing performance of Martin Luther King Jr. Oyelowo had an excellent cadence and power behind his speech that near perfectly matched the recorded speeches I have seen of King himself. Sadly, I believe that his performance overshadowed the rest of the characters in the movie. In the film many of King's compatriots were meant to act in supporting and guiding factors for King; however their lack of character development and importance left me yearning for more.



The most attention grabbing scene in this movie has to, by far, be the opening. The film opens with a group of small African American children walking down the stairs in a church after a Sunday School class. The tone is quickly set as relaxed and slightly playful; however the scene erupts into chaos as the side of the church unexpectedly explodes. There were no hints towards this race crime happening, making it unexpected and slightly frightening. Known as the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing this violent change of pace caught me by surprise and grabbed my full attention.



While I think that the jump scare at the beginning of the film was a smart tactic to get viewers watching it may have overall worked against the film. I believe the opening scene picked up the pace too quickly, leaving most of the remainder of the film to seem slow.

Overall I believe that this film was not bad. It was shot well, the cast was fairly strong, and it effectively displayed a very important point in the Civil Rights Movement. I would not say that this is the greatest film of 2014 even though it does a great job at making audience members think "I can't believe this really happened." I would grade it a 6/10.


It's Actually Pretty Groovy To Be Insane

      Inherent Vice is the first ever Thomas Pynchon novel to be adapted into a screenplay. The fact I have to say that is pertinent to the creation, outcome, and reaction to the movie. Thomas Pynchon is a modern literary giant. He is well respected, reclusive (as artist are portrayed), and has created a modern classic. Some call it The Modern Classic. Regardless, one of critics most loved filmmakers in Paul Thomas Anderson has taken on the great challenge of adapting one of critics most loved writers. He did so by writing the whole novel out as script and then cutting out what he felt was unnecessary.



     Inherent Vice, a movie based on the 2009 novel of the same title, is a drug-filled noir set in the 1970's. The main story follows "Doc" Sportello, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a private investigator and dirty hippie. The story is jumpstarted when Shasta Fay Hepworth, an ex lover of Doc's, comes into Doc's home with a hunch that the new hot shot real estate tycoon she's with, well his wife and her boyfriend are planning to send him to the loony bin. She thinks.

   
   













   
     Doc begins his journey and immediately bumps into characters such as a Black Guerilla Family member, a woman who thinks her husband may not be dead, and a prostitute Jade. Like a noir film Doc has a particular distaste for the formal police, particularly Josh Brolin's character nicknamed "Bigfoot."
     
     Detective Bjornsen is the antithesis of Phoenix's doping Doc and their unwillingness but need to work together to solve the case creates a lot of the tension and comedy in the film. 


     To try to summarize the rest of the plot would do a disservice to both the movie and Pynchon's style of writing. The movie is complex, surreal, and elaborate. All the characters relate and the solving of one mystery just leads to more questions. That is to say, it watches as a Pynchon novel would read. The cast is humongous and star studded, leaving me to look over several times to a friend throughout the film and remark "Oh my god I didn't know they were in this movie." 

    Critic review of the film has been inherently positive while audience left the theatre "confused." I too left confused and spent most of the remainder of the night trying to piece together the plot. I think the story would work better in it's original format, as a novel. That's not to say I didn't like the film. I really liked the film. The more I write about it the more I liked it. It's a flawless adaption of a Pynchon novel. Tonally the movie was perfect and, dare I say, groovily insane. 

    


     

Ellen Degeneres' response to online critic, Larry Tomczak

Ellen Degeneres, who has her own popular talk show, responded to a pastor, Larry Tomczak, on accusing her of promoting a gay agenda along with the rest of the media.

Larry stated, "Ellen DeGeneres celebrates her lesbianism and "marriage" in between appearances of guests like Taylor Swift to attract young girls."

As a longtime outspoken leader in the conservative community, Tomczak encouraged parents to fight the "indoctrination and propaganda coming from those advocating a gay lifestyle," offering advice for keeping children out of the influence of stars like DeGeneres, Jillian Michaels, Anderson Cooper, and Michael Sam.

Ellen usually does not answer to online critic's, but as she said on her show, she decided to make an exception to being on this list, and responded perfectly on her talk show.


Christian writer Larry Tomczak, who regularly writes for the Christian Post, is outraged at the gay agenda in Hollywood.  He recently addressed the "tsunami" of gay acceptance, claiming it is an "abomination."  Ellen responds in a witty and respectful way.  Ellen states that she is married, not quote on quote "married".  She then goes on to say that she does not even know what "celebrating her lesbianism" means, and continues to make fun of the ignorant fact.  Ellen accuses Larry of watching a lot of gay TV!  As he criticized many other TV shows that feature gay couples.

To conclude, she said: "The only way I’m trying to influence people is to be more kind and compassionate with one another.  That is the message I’m sending out. I don’t have an agenda. I’m not here to brainwash anyone." 
Then an assistant handed her a black and white hypnosis wheel which she began twirling at the camera, and spoke her closing statement.
"Attention youth of the world: I want you to live your lives being exactly who you are. Be true to yourself — the most important thing is to be true to yourself.
The second most important thing is that you wear Ellen underwear and only Ellen underwear."

I applaud Ellen for being so cool, calm, and collected about her response.  The fact that she can turn anything into a humorous joke makes her the beloved talk show host that everyone loves.  I do believe Larry was out of line to attack TV shows and celebrities, and I believe that Ellen handled it very maturely.  


Larry Tomczak's article:  http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/heres-the-deal/47834-avalanche-of-immoral-propaganda-targets-our-youth

Ellen's response:  http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/heres-the-deal/47834-avalanche-of-immoral-propaganda-targets-our-youth












Boyhood

Out of all of the films that have come out in the past six months, one of my favorites, by far, was Boyhood. The film is a coming-of-age drama, set over a 12 year period from 2002 to 2013, showing the growth of a young boy and his sister into young adulthood.


I was initially drawn to the film because of the concept that it was filmed over a 12 year time span, using the same cast and crew. Director and producer, Richard Linklater, decided that the cast and crew would meet annually and film for a few weeks, over the course of 12 years. He said, "I've long wanted to tell the story of a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through 12th grade and ends with him going off to college. But the dilemma is that kids change so much that it is impossible to cover that much ground. And I am totally ready to adapt the story to whatever he is going through."



Overall, I really enjoyed the film. I thought the acting was very well done, and the storyline stayed true to the current events that they portrayed in the film. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good coming-of-age tale.


Obvious Child



One movie that perhaps flew a little under the radar in 2014 was an independent film entitled “Obvious Child.” This film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was labeled as a first of it’s kind, categorized as an “abortion comedy.”  There has been some uproar about treating the subject of abortion as a laughing matter; however the way that the film approached the issue is more of a lighthearted, non-threatening commentary on one woman’s path of choice than an outward political statement. Approaching this topic in a positive light, using a relatable and quirky main character as the driving force, the movie works to empower women to make the choice that’s right for them, even with much opposing societal pressure. 
Every so often it is important for filmmakers to use film as a way of communicating an effective message to an audience, no matter how subtle. Film is a great medium in which to do that because the takeaway message will ultimately sneak into the audiences brains without them necessarily noticing. Thus, it becomes a great art form to convey awareness or support for a certain subject.  


This movie would not be what it is without the flawless performance from Jenny Slate. Slate is a comedian previously known for her one year stint on Saturday Night Live, and her successful series of web videos entitled “Marcel the Shell.” Her performance in “Obvious Child” was her breakout role in the film industry.  Slate plays a Brooklyn stand-up comedian named Donna, who is still searching for purpose in life. When her boyfriend later breaks up with her in the bathroom, of a comedy club Slate realistically and effectively conveys Donna’s unexpected heartbreak in a way that causes the audience to feel sympathetic and connected. Donna goes through the typical downward spiral after her breakup, like drinking wine constantly and stalking her ex-boyfriend. Her built-up angst causes her to do the unthinkable- have a one-night stand with a random guy she just met. This subsequently results in an unplanned pregnancy that she chooses to terminate, yet struggles with the thought of whether or not to tell the guy. In the wrong hands, the character of Donna could be intolerable, yet Slate channels all of her insecurities into something familiar and even charming. In every sense, this was a relatable and entertaining movie about overcoming obstacles in an event to keep moving forward. 



Big Eyes: unlike other Tim Burton films

This past December, renowned filmmaker Tim Burton released "Big Eyes", a biopic drama about painter Margaret Keane and the challenges she faced with her greedy husband, Walter who takes credit for her paintings. For the duration of 106 minutes, I was completely immersed in the film for a myriad of reasons.


First off, I thought the acting was excellent. It was a nice change of pace seeing Amy Adams play the role of Margaret Keane. She's had many roles over the years, ranging from a happy-go-lucky princess in Enchanted to the seductive Sydney Prosser in American Hustle to the feisty reporter Lois Lane in Man of Steel. Adam's performance as Margaret required her to be more softspoken and less bubbly, which was a big contrast to her other roles. And Christoph Waltz perfectly captured the essence of Walter Keane's persona (a manipulative jerk).

The art direction was fabulous. The costumes, location, and set were all very accurate to the 50's/60's period, and I never felt like any of it was super outrageous, like other Burton films sometimes are. They used color to convey emotions and conflicts at various points, which made the story that much more intense.
The contrasting colors between DeeAnn (center) and Margaret/Walter really heighten the conflict in the scene, where Walter is trying to convince DeeAnn that he is the real painter.







In this scene, the use of red lighting, and the green in the painting emphasize the anger/intensity of the moment between the two (red) and the impending doom of the moment where he begins to take credit for the paintings.







In addition to these specific scenes, Margaret wears a lot of blue tones, conveying her sadness/frustration for keeping her skills a secret.

Since the premise of the film is biographical it definitely feels more real, but the tone of this film was unlike the others. Burton is known for producing/directing films that lean more toward fantasy, horror, and general quirky-ness; Big Eyes does not fit this theme. What I felt made this film unique was how real everything felt, unlike other Burton films such as Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland, and Corpse Bride. Granted, those are all fantasy, so it's hard to compare them in that sense. The quirkiness of Burton's films isn't my favorite thing in the world, so this was very refreshing.

Overall, I really loved the film. The art direction was fantastic, and the acting was very good. I felt the real-ness of the story, as opposed to past Burton films which are more fantasy/horror. I think this film is a turning point in Burton's career--this was definitely his most mature film yet.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys great art, and a story about a triumphant woman who finally gets her dream.

(here is the trailer, for those of you interested)

The Film 'Birdman' Looks to be One Long Continuous Shot

*No Spoilers, I will just go over the way this film was shot


Birdman was shot in a way where the entire movie felt like it was one long shot as well as one take.  After seeing all the Nominations and Awards this film is getting I decided to watch it for the first time over the weekend.  I have never watched anything like this before! I am amazed by the amount of preparation and practice it must have taken to pull this off so well.

Here is a scene from the movie so you can get a feel of how this was shot in an unorthodox way.


After doing research about how this movie was filmed I was surprised to find out that they shot the film within thirty days. They shot in portions of seven to fifteen minutes. 
Here are quotes by Star Michael Keaton that shows how in sync the cast and crew had to be for this film to work: 


"Anything—a misremembered line, an extra step taken, a camera operator stumbling on a stair or veering off course or out of focus—could blow a take, rendering the first several minutes unusable even if they had been perfect.  You had to be word-perfect, you had to be off script, and you literally had to count your paces down to the number of steps you needed to take before turning a corner," "Everyone would apologize perfunctorily if they messed up ... mostly because we were aware of how hard it was on the camera operators, and the camera operators didn't want to screw up because of us."



Unfortunately the Director Alejandro González Iñárritu & DP Emmanuel Lubezki didn't give away too much about how they shot this movie so fluidly, but did mention they used quick "Pan" shots as their cuts.






American Sniper

I recently went to the movies to see American Sniper, and I have to say I was not disappointed.

American Sniper is a film directed by Clint Eastwood, staring Bradley Cooper. It is based around the life of Chris Kyle, the Sniper with the most confirmed kills in America.

While this film is a very enjoyable high action movie, there are both strong points and weak points in this piece. 

The Weak: 
I personally thought that the plot line wasn't very strong. The film was divided into the "3 Tours" and it seemed to be fragmented with out very much emphasis on the current setting of each tour. 
Another weak point was the stylistic color selection. The film had a very sepia tone style that I did not find appealing. 

The Strong: 
This was a very powerful movie. With out giving away any spoilers, I can say that this was the first film I have ever been too that left the audience speechless. Everyone left the theatre in silence. I have heard from multiple people that this was the same experience for them. 
Another strong point was the cinematography. There where multiple shots through out this film that I was impressed with. Very nicely executed. 


Over All Rating:  7.9/10 

Great film to see in theaters, but lacking in some ascetics and felt rushed. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Benoît Delhomme and The Theory of Everything

Over break, I decided to watch a few movies that were going to be nominated for Oscars. When I first heard of "The Theory of Everything," I thought it was going to be a bland documentary on the life of the well renowned scientist, Stephen Hawking. However, I was drawn in immediately by the beautiful opening sequence. Contrary to the seriousness of the subject of the film, the opening was filled with sunlight and radiant unfocused shots that brought in the audience and made you feel a sense of lightheartedness and beauty. Just from these shots, it was obvious to predict that the movie was going to be shot beautifully. Benoît Delhomme put an amazing amount of effort into the cinematography of this film.


The colors and bright lights that are brought into the film are exaggerated and push the boundaries of what these places and scenes would look like in real life. Colors can bring out so many different emotions, and Delhomme definitely took advantage of that fact. The different scenes were enhanced with colors and effects that made the audience feel like they were inside a story. 
Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking was breathtaking. In addition to his acting, the way that Delhomme continuously lit his face with bright lights made me feel more connected to the character than I thought I would be. Delhomme used tons of natural light with windows, and I especially remember the shot of Hawking looking outside the window of a train. In an interview, Delhomme states that, "I wanted to see the power of the light everywhere in the film. I thought it was a way to express that Stephen needs the universe around him. Many times I have strong light on him, maybe strong sunlight on his face, because that's the energy he needs."

Overall, the shots in the film were all very rich and bright. In addition to the cinematography, this movie was a beautiful story that I recommend everyone to watch. The acting is tremendous, and there is never a dull moment throughout it. The director, James Marsh, in collaboration with the brilliant Benoît Delhomme created a film that is definitely one for the books. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tarkovsky and Herzog on Film Schools and life.

"What is important to the education of a filmmaker is not a matter learning a set of skills and techniques, but having a vital, passionate need to express something unique and personal. Above all, the student has to understand why he wants to become a filmmaker rather than work in some other art form and he has to ponder what he wants to say in film's unique form of expression. "In recent years I have met more and more young people who go to film school to prepare themselves to do "what they have to do" (as they say in Russia) or "to make a living" (as they say in Europe and America). This is tragic. Learning to use the equipment and edit a movie is child's play; anyone can learn that without half-trying. But learning how to think independently, learning how to be an individual, is entirely different from learning "how to do" something. Learning how to say something unique and different is a skill that no one can force you to master. And to go down that path is to shoulder a burden that is not merely difficult, but at times impossible to bear. But there is no other way to become an artist. You have to go for broke. You must risk everything in your quest to express a personal truth. It must be all or nothing. "The man who has stolen in order never to thieve again is forever a thief. Nobody who has once betrayed his principles can have a pure relationship with life ever again. When a filmmaker says he will try to please people - relatives, friends, teachers, or reviewers -- this time in order to get a degree or earn the money to make the film of his dreams the next time, he is lying to you, or even worse, lying to himself. Once he heads down the path of deceit he will never be capable of making a real film." --Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time, p. 124 (adapted and updated by Ray Carney)

   

 Werner Herzog on Film School "I personally don't believe in the kind of film schools you find all over the world today. I never worked as another filmmaker's assistant and I never had any formal training. My early films come from my very deepest commitment to what I was doing, what I felt I had no choice but to do, and as such they are totally unconnected to what was going on at the film schools - and cinemas - of the time. It's my strong autodidactic streak and my faith in my own work that have kept me going for more than forty years. "A pianist is made in childhood, a filmmaker at any age. I say this only because physically, in order to play the piano well, the body needs to be conditioned from a very early age. Real musicians have an innate feel for all music and all instruments, something that can be instilled only at an early age. Of course it's possible to learn to play the piano as an adult, but the intuitive qualities needed just won't be there.

As a young filmmaker I just read in an encyclopedia the fifteen or so pages on filmmaking. Everything I needed to get myself started came from this book. It has always seemed to me that almost everything you are forced to learn at school you forget in a couple of years. But the things you set out to learn yourself in order to quench a thirst, these are things you never forget. It was a vital early lesson for me, realizing that the knowledge gleaned from a book will suffice for the first week on the set, which is all the time needed to learn everything you need to know as a filmmaker. To this very day the technical knowledge I have is relatively rudimentary. But if there are things that seem too complicated, experiment; if you still can't master them, hire a technician.

 "Filmmaking is a more vulnerable journey than most other creative ventures. When you are a sculptor you have only one obstacle - a lump of rock - which you chisel away on. But filmmaking involves organization and money and technology, things like that. You might get the best shot of your life but if the lab mixes the developing solution wrongly then your shot is gone forever. You can build a ship, cast 5000 extras and plan a scene with your leading actors, and in the morning one of them has a stomach ache and can't go on set. These things happen, everything is interwoven and interlinked, and if one element doesn't function properly then the whole venture is prone to collapse. Filmmakers should be taught about how things will go wrong, about how to deal with these problems, how to handle a crew that is getting out of hand, how to handle a producing partner who won't pay up or a distributor who won't advertise properly, things like this. People who keep moaning about these kinds of problems aren't really suited for this line of business.

 "And, vitally, aspiring filmmakers have to be taught that sometimes the only way of overcoming problems involves real physicality. Many great filmmakers have been astonishingly physical, athletic people. A much higher percentage than writers or musicians. Actually, for some time now I have given some thought to opening a film school. But if I did start one up you would only be allowed to fill out an application form after you have walked alone on foot, let's say from Madrid to Kiev, a distance of about five thousand kilometres. While walking, write. Write about your experiences and give me your notebooks. I would be able to tell who had really walked the distance and who had not. While you are walking you would learn much more about filmmaking and what it truly involves than you ever would sitting in a classroom. During your voyage you will learn more about what your future holds than in five years at film school. Your experiences would be the very opposite of academic knowledge, for academia is the death of cinema. It is the very opposite of passion."

 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema

Hoyte Van Hoytema is a cinematographer from Sweden, who went to the National film school in Lodz. Now working in the United States, his work is seen in big hollywood movies such as Her, Interstellar, and The Fighter. In some of his work he discusses using a real earthy color palette such as in Interstellar, he plays off of the natural green of the crops when in the farmland setting. His approach is also clearly seen the opposite when he creates the futuristic world of Her, utilizing LED lights to make the look and color of the film - a soft and intimate, near-future setting. His work is stands from Digital on the alexa in Her, to film in the Imax camera with custom made lenses for Interstellar. In each, there is significant camerawork and several handheld sequences.

This is an interesting video which is worth checking out, selling a little of Imax, but it is important to see some of the huge Imax reels, and the handheld work of Hoytema with the Imax camera.




Friday, December 5, 2014

THE ONLY NARRATIVE FILM I WILL EVER BLOG ABOUT

Ladies and gentleman, as the title suggests this weeks blog post is treading into uncharted territory were none of my blog posts have dared to go before, yes I am talking about....


Also if you haven't seen the trailer yet, I am going to post it below this and then proceed to tell you why I am particularly excited for this film by using both examples from the soundtrack and visual that director, Mr. Rob Marshall has created. 

Below is the trailer....

 

This trailer is a prime example of the reason why I am so excited for this movie. If you study the visual style that Mr. Marshall employs throughout the film, it is meticulously and delicately articulate in such a way that might draw to comparisons to such masters of the visual world of film like Baz Lurhmann. Also, Mr. Marshall does something amazing as demonstrated in the clip below. I'll let you watch the clip before I tell you what it is.  


As you can see in the clip, Mr. Marshall is keenly aware that the action is stopped by Cinderella's song and that the song is functioning as an internal dialogue between what the character wants for herself. So what does Mr. Marshall do, he completely freezes the action around Cinderella in order to allow us to begin to get inside of what the character is thinking or feeling, something that the medium of film often eschews. It is this kind of genius thinking that has me hoping that this stage to screen adaption will be successful.  



Also, the soundtrack of the film is another appealing aspect of the movie. Above is the full version of On the Steps of the Palace as sung by the Anna Kendrick. The music and lyrics and film scoring are handled by one of arguably the most talented and beautiful composer for musical theatre Stephen Sondheim. And yet, even though not on the stage but rather the screen, the music still soars high, a true gem of any Sondheim musical if ever there was one. 

Because Mr. Marshall has adapted Chicago from the stage to the screen and done it very successfully I am beyond excited to see what he is going to do with Into the Woods. 

And so it is for these reasons that I say: INTO THE WOODS AND OUT OF THE WOODS AND HAPPY EVER AFTER!!!!