Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

One of the few individuals I plan on dressing up as this weekend is the one and only Ferris Bueller (which is no accident, as this is one of my favorite films).  "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" follows the title character around the streets of Chicago, for one day, as he skips school to enjoy life with his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara).  This piece is a "coming of age film", that shows us the one thing that we all need, is to break free from our routine to enjoy life.  In a way we see a lot of wisdom in Ferris that many people don't achieve much later in life.  If there is one mantra that describes his actions and this wisdom it is the following:


Ferris (Matthew Broderick) is a high school senior who decides to feign illness to escape from one day of high school.  He manages to completely snow his parents, by using some interesting methods:


The only people standing in his way are Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), Dean of Students, who knows that Ferris has already been absent nine times this semester and his sister, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey).  Rooney wants more than anything to catch Ferris in the act of skipping school, with the possibility of preventing his graduation.  This want sends Rooney chasing Ferris throughout all of Chicago!  Jeanie has serious issue with the fact that Ferris is the family favorite, who manages to coast his way through life.  Once Ferris snows his parents, he proceeds to get his best friend and girl friend out of school as well.  Once he succeeds, they spend the day in downtown Chicago, getting into the most intense shenanigans.  One of the most famous scenes is below:


Not only do we get to see Ferris in a parade, but we also see Sloan and Cameron discussing why they should go to college.  What do they want to do with their lives?  Cameron also struggles through the fact that Ferris has life figured out so much more than he does, a re-occuring theme in the film.  This type of scene is pretty typical of John Hughes' writing style in Ferris Bueller (Hughes also directed and produced this film).  For every funny moment in this film, there is also a really poignant moment about what it means to grow up and discover oneself.  Ferris Bueller's Day Off is in my top ten movies for sure, as all aspects of this film manage to come together into a hilarious, and endearing comedy.

Dale and Tucker vs. Evil

I thought it only appropriate that I write my blog post about a horror film because it is Halloween night, and instead of dressing up and going out. I am sitting at the PPECS desk pulling a four hour shift. So instead of doing my job I will now talk about one of my favorite films in the last couple of years. Dale and Tucker vs. Evil.


For those of you who haven't seen the film. First off, you are missing out, and secondly, from a story standpoint it is one of the most original things I have seen in a while. The film follows the story of two good-hearted West Virginia hillbillies who through a series of misunderstandings find themselves to be the victims of a group of college trying to get their friend back. I enjoyed this film so much because it was a great commentary on horror films in general and it is done in a hilarious way. Dale and Tucker are such sweet characters and it is hilarious as the college kids who are trying to kill them keep accidentally killing themselves.

Now don't get me wrong, this film is not for everyone, there is some gratuitous language, violence, and some parts are actually scary. However the film is such an original idea and takes the opposite stand point of what normally horror films are supposed to be about. Plus Katrina Bowden is in the film... which helps a lot.

                                         (Why most people watched this movie.) 

For those of you who enjoy films that are commentaries on genres, this is definitely something that you might want to look into. It is a great commentary on the horror genre and so, so, funny. Also, for those of you who are undecided, here is the trailer.


Mylo Xyloto



As I was stumbling through my favorited videos on YouTube, I came across a music video that I had almost completely forgot about. This music video was for the Coldplay song "Hurts Like Heaven". This video came out on October 8, 2012 and the song was from the Coldplay album, Mylo Xyloto. This video was directed by Mark Osborne with illustrations by Alejandro Fuentes. The story in this music video is about a dystopian society who's ruler (Major Minus) is hellbent on keeping the world colorless and without music. This does not suit many of the people and they form a street writing team who bring color into the world.


The music  video for this follows a comic book style of video with speech bubbles and an almost frame-by-frame movement throughout the video. At the end you find out that this video is just the start of a whole series of 6 comics entitled "Mylo Xyloto". What Coldplay has done is take their album and put it onto multiple platforms. There is this music video for the song "Hurts Like Heaven" and now there is a whole series of comics that tell the tale of Mylo Xyloto. This is a very clever thing because it provides a whole transmedia experience to the viewers. You are able to listen to the music, watch the video, and read the comic. This allows for a more immersive experience for the people participating in it.

The art direction of this video also captivated me. The use of bright colors reflected the colors that Coldplay used on their stage during their shows. It also flows with the album artwork because there are bright multicolor swishes and swoops of color. Everything that was produced from the Mylo Xyloto album flows together to create a cohesive work of art.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Last night my roommates and I were carving pumpkins and we decided to dress up in our minion costumes to be festive. Then we decided to make a video attempting to mimic the minions in the video below.


So before you watch the next video please keep in mind we did it in one take and only saw the video once.


It would definitely not receive an A in the grade book and will not be a YouTube sensation. However, it was spur of the moment and so much fun! If I had to do it again these are some of the things I would do to make it better...

      1. Script it with time queues
,     2. Study each minion's body language
      3. Get a real party blower (not a straw)
      4. Use a better camera (not my Macbook photo booth) 
      5. Have a separate screen displaying the video simultaneously  
      6. Rehearse
      7. Do more post production on a better editing system (not iMovie)

Although it is not great quality and the singing and actions are not on queue, I hope you enjoyed the video and have a fantastic Halloween weekend!

Tangled Up In Disney


Tangled is an American, computer animated, musical comedy produced by Disney and released on November 24, 2010. The movie was directed by Nathan Grenco and Byron Howard (from Bolt), written by Dan Fogelman and produced by Roy Conli.


            The movie is about a young, naïve teen, Rapunzel (voice by Mandy Moore), who lives with her mom in a large castle restricted from the rest of the kingdom. One day, Rapunzel is beginning to think her dreams of leaving the tower are unachievable when the kingdom’s most dangerous thief, Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi), seeks refuge from the authorities in Rapunzel’s tower. Up to this point in the movie, the predictable storyline matches that of the well-known folktale. It was at this point that I figured that Disney’s adaption had simply glamorized an unoriginal version of an already told story. Instead, when the “knight in shining armor” climbs into Rapunzel’s tower, the feisty blonde’s first reaction is not to run and welcome her new guest, but rather, to hit him over the head with a large frying pan. Then, her pet chameleon helps her stuff the unconscious body into her closet. From this moment on, the story unexpectedly takes off on a hilarious, thrilling escapade with the help of a moody stallion and a silly chameleon. Walt Disney Pictures describes the movie, “With the secret of her royal heritage hanging in the balance and her captor in pursuit, Rapunzel and her cohort find adventure, heart, humor, and hair... lots of hair”.
The role of art direction was another key aspect in the making of Tangled. Many of the settings including the tower, the village and the forest, include thousands of details. The tower, for example, was covered in swirling garland and hidden by clouds and branches and flowers. These details set this movie apart from other animated Disney movies in the past. Scott from the NY Times praised the difference, “the décor is shinier, the pace a little faster, the overall atmosphere slick and efficient, with a few welcome grace notes of self-conscious classicism.” The art direction in particular has received praise for its specified accuracy and improvement from past Disney movies. Scott went on to say, “To watch “Tangled,” in three dimensions or two, is like entering a familiar old neighborhood that has been tastefully and thoroughly renovated. Not gentrified, exactly, and certainly not razed, but modernized.” This praise proves how far Disney has gone to improve its use of details and art.

Another key aspect that goes hand in hand with the art direction is the use of animation. In Tangled, directors choose to use the 3D CGI to control the audience’s emotions. The animation controlled emotions ranging from enthusiasm to sympathy. The animation also added details to the characters such as Rapunzel’s slight overbite, which made her come off as innocent and endearing. Scott describes the animation, “there are sequences that have some of the ravishing beauty and exquisite detail of the great, old hand-drawn Disney features, including a few that make gorgeous use of 3-D technology.”
The animation also captured the symbolism associated to lighting. Whenever there were scenes with Rapunzel’s mother, they were dark and you could barley see the character or the scene, implying her malicious intentions. However, when Rapunzel was set free from the castle and was exploring the kingdom, the scenes were brightly lit and sunshine was always a large symbolic tool. During one scene in particular, the storyline we think Rapunzel will be disappointed, and the scene is dark, but then a thousand animated lanterns sparkle, and her wide-eyed facial expression is well-lit, making us feel surprised at the change as well as happy for her.
            “Tangled” represents Disney’s 50th animated feature. I believe that this film proved to be a traditional Disney movie while also positively modifying the story structure and production of most Disney films. Although it continues to be the typical romantic musical fairy tale that we are used to seeing from Disney, the story has taken a many risks with its genre. The idea of a traditional “damsel in distress” tale has been thrown out the window. Instead, Rapunzel maintains the innocence of a traditional Disney princess, and yet represents a feisty, back-talking, sassy, independent, modernized spirit that is rare to find in a Disney female heroine.

All in all, Tangled includes all of the crucial elements of a beloved Disney classic, with a modernized infusion of improved technology and widely accepted humor. This film truly does deliver the best to both people who enjoy Disney and to people who criticize Disney. At its core, Tangled includes the typical storyline, the one we’ve heard a thousand times about a young girl restricted to the darkness and loneliness of a tower. Overall, it is a coming of age tale that we have seen over and over again. At the same time, the story was built with flourishes added by Disney, including jealous pets, hormonal teenager rants, and singing thugs. These are aspects that I had not expected to come from Disney, but have obviously enjoyed and believed to make this film one of my favorites.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Typecasting

Typecasting is a word that's thrown around the Hollywood industry quite often. It's defined as "the process by which a particular actor becomes strongly identified with a specific character, one or more particular roles, or characters having the same traits or coming from the same social or ethnic groups." Many people try to claim it's not a real thing. They say it's just a stigma we place on actors who we don't want to see in certain movies. Well, typecasting isn't what we decide to think or believe, it's just something we have to accept to be a fact of acting life.



Think about it. Could you ever take a movie seriously if The Rock ever played a role like, I don't know, a tooth fairy? The ten actors in the video are some of the best examples for typecasting. With maybe one or two exceptions, none of them could ever be taken seriously in any other type of role. On of my personal favorite examples of typecasting I've recently seen has actually been discussed in a couple of my earlier posts. Charlie Day is an actor who's known for playing narrow-minded dimwits in productions such as It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Horrible Bosses. In his most recent project, Pacific Rim, he plays an incredibly intelligent scientist who manages to find a solution to an invasion of monsters from a different universe. Yeah, I laughed, too. It's absurd to even think about.

















This wasn't supposed to be a particularly long post. Typecasting is a simple concept that people just don't often think about. Are there some actors who are able to escape the confines of typecasting and who go on to broaden there résumé? Yes. But many, many actors are often stuck in the same kind of role for the majority of their film careers.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Adventureland



I've always been a fan of the coming-of-age story. Perhaps it's because I'm at a pivotal and transitional point in my life, but it seems like these types of films usually strike some sort of chord with me. Some of my favorite films fit this mold, such as this summer's indie hit, "The Way, Way Back". I was doing some research the other night about the best films that stream on Netflix, and the film "Adventureland" crossed my radar. The film tells the story of a recent college grad in 1987 who takes a job at an amusement park after his plans for the future are cut short. The plot seemed intriguing enough, and it seemed to get pretty good reviews, so I thought I'd give it a gander.

To be totally honest, I was a little hesitant to watch the film. I remember, back in '09 when the movie was first released, being extremely underwhelmed with the trailer. After an initial cursory glance, it seemed extremely superficial, another "teen movie" with crude language and explicit content. Although the film did show some of these characteristics, it was actually quite endearing. I feel like anyone who has had to work a crappy summer job found the film relatable, in a bitter-sweet, nostalgic kind of way. The writing was clever, but not so much that it digressed from the progression of the script.

I was pleasantly surprised about the cast of "Adventureland". Although it had a strong cast, which included Ryan Reynolds and SNL favorites Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig, I was a little skeptical about
the two leads, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart. Perhaps unfairly, I've largely thought of Stewart as a talentless actor, who starred in equally as awful series of trashy films. I've thought of Eisenberg as a Michael Cera type who was good in "The Social Network", but had an acting style that lacked a certain amount of depth and range. However, I couldn't have been any more surprised. I found Stewart actually pretty cute. She does a great job as the role of Em, and handles the part, an extremely emotional part at that, with finesse. Eisenberg does a good job as well, playing a believable and relatable character, where I wouldn't have expected relatability. Together, the two leads had great chemistry together, and drove the story forward.

I was also surprised to see a familiar face amongst the cast, a certain Martin Starr, who played a freak on Joss Whedon's cult hit, "Freaks and Geeks". I really enjoy movies where I can recognize an actor I kind of know, and am able to say,"Oh, I know that guy". This was one of those movies.


Overall, "Adventureland" is a great hybrid between romance and coming-of-age comedy; a worthwhile watch for any person.

The First – a short film from shortoftheweek.com




Lately I've been trying to make it more of a habit to visit shortoftheweek.com. It's a great way to access the creative development of young filmmakers like myself. This week I watched a short film called "The First". At the beginning it seems like your average sun-kissed love story between a guy and a girl. By two minutes in though, it takes a dramatic twist. "You push like a girl", she says to him as they flirt sitting next to a pond. "Oh yeah?" he says, as the film quickly cuts to him falling onto a bed. You expect her to follow into frame, but she doesn't. Instead, another guy falls on top of him as they start to passionately make out.


WHOA. HOLD THE PHONE. I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS.

I might be lying when I say this, but I'm pretty sure this is the first graphic LGBT short that I've watched. I was confused and turned off, but at the same time drawn in to what this guy's life was all about. The story unfolds to tell a rather interesting story. There is also an incredible montage scene at the very end that is worth checking out. Put on your open minds and accepting eyes and check out this short 13 minutes piece:


I also recommend you support the director, James Sweeney, and check out his website here.
The cinematographer, Greg Cotten, was also a big part of this films success. He has a pretty kick-ass reel that is worth checking out too:


Captain Phillips: A True American Hero Or Movie Star?

Tom Hanks stars in a new popular film Captain Phillips, which is based on the real events that occurred in April 2009 when the Maersk Alabama cargo ship was attacked by Somali pirates. I saw this movie over fall break and I loved it, Tom Hanks is an absolute amazing actor and he did not disappoint playing Captain Phillips. In the movie the cargo ship is sailing a dangerous route down the Somali coast, where pirate attacks have been known to happen. There are warnings sent to Captain Phillips advising ships to remain as far away from the coast as possible to decrease the risk of attack. Captain Phillips beefs up security and makes sure the crew is prepared by conducting a few practice drills. They are just in time because that same day two boats with armed pirates make their first attempt to seize the Maersk Alabama, but the pirates were evaded due to the ship's large wake. The crew is shook up, and know the pirates will come again. The next day one of the same pirate boats with four armed Somalis returns to take the ship, the crew does everything they can but eventually the pirates are able to board the ship and take command of the ship. The pirates are young men around 17 years old, and they are looking for a large ransom for the ship and crew. Most of the crew hides in the engine room while Captain Phillips tries to reason and retain some control over the pirates who have guns to him. While the head pirate is looking for the crew he is wounded and taken by the crew in the engine room. The head pirate, Muse, is bargained for the release of Captain Phillips but the pirates do not follow through with the deal: they take Muse and Phillips into a life raft and start making their way to the Somali coast.
The movie is fantastic and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. However, it is the story we want to believe, not necessarily the whole truth behind the actual events. The real crew of the Maersk Alabama tell a different story of Captain Phillips. To the crew, Phillips isn't the American hero we all want him to be. After the incident the crew filed a lawsuit against the Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. for almost $50 million for a complete and willing disregard for their safety. The crew have described Phillips as being arrogant when it came to the risk of the pirates. The attorney who brought the claim for the crew said "the crew had begged Captain Phillips not to go so close to the Somali coast." Phillips was being suborn, and disregarding his crew "he told them he wouldn't let pirates scare him or force him to sail away from the coast." Over the three week period in which the Maersk Alabama was attacked 16 other cargo ships in the same area had been attacked by pirates and some had been taken hostage. Phillips has even admitted that he received SEVEN emails while on board to move off shore by 600 more miles to reduce the threat from pirates. The Maersk Alabama was only 235 miles off the shore at the time of attack, though Phillips told CNN in 2010 that the ship was 300 miles off the shore.
Tom Hanks next to Captain Phillips
It seems to me that Phillips blatantly disregarded his crew's safety, to prove that he was not going to let pirates boss him around; which is what they ended up doing when they threatened the lives of every crew member on board. Also during the first attack by the pirates, Phillips was putting the crew through a fire drill, however in the film it is a security drill. Phillips ordered the crew to complete the fire drill before addressing the pirates which were only seven miles away. When Phillips and the crew made a narrow escape the first time, Phillips ordered the ship back to it's original route. One of the crew members refused and slept with his flashlight and boots on, waiting for what he knew was inevitable: another attack. When that attack did come the next morning Phillips did not tell his crew what he wanted to do so the chief engineer, Mike Perry, took things into his own hands. He and the rest of the crew locked themselves in the engine room (in 130 degree heat for 12 hours), he disabled the ship's systems, and sized the lead pirate to bargain for Phillips. To me, Mike Perry is the real hero. Four days after Phillips was taken hostage with the pirates in the lifeboat, he was rescued by Seal Team Six and hailed an American Hero who "gave himself up for his crew" and the crew was offered as little as $5,000 for their life rights by Sony and made to sign nondisclosure agreements. Captain Phillips put his entire crew in danger and disregarded every warning he was given, he is not an American hero. It is sad, and I wish the movie depicted who Captain Phillips really is because it really is an amazing movie, but unfortunately it is just a movie: it's twisted to be what we want to believe.


The Impact of Vine

As most of you guys know, there's this app called Vine. Vine is a little app that allows any smart phone user to create and share 6-second looping videos on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and other places. Since it's release on January 23, 2013 Vine has exploded in popularity. It was originally just for iPhones, but it has since branched out to all other smart phone platforms like Android and Windows phone. Vine was first created and founded by Dom Hofmann, Rus, Yusupow, and Colin Kroll in June of 2012 and the company was acquired by Twitter in October of 2012.

Vine is an immensely popular app for a few reasons. First of all, Vines are very easy to make. It uses the camera in your phone so it is accessible. It also features the touch and record process. You touch the screen for the duration you want to record and all you have to do to stop recording is let go of the screen. This makes is easy to use for even the most novice videographers (or Viners). This technology also makes it easy to make stop motion videos. All you have to do is just tap the screen for the duration of the video and there you have it!



This app is also immensely popular for viewing purposes because the videos are so short. You don't have to invest a great amount of time to watch a vine since they are only 6 seconds long. They also loop so you don't even have to click replay if you missed something in the last 6 seconds. This makes it perfect for people to get out their short stories and it is even now being used for news and marketing. The possibilities for this little app are endless. It is just the start and I can't wait to see where it goes.


What I Hate Most About The Entertainment Industry

Art comes in a lot of different forms. Film and television are some of those forms. They are the art of storytelling. I strongly believe in the preservation of art. I'm not talking about old films from 1910, although I do wish more films from that time survived. I'm talking about respect for the art of storytelling. Marketing, and really the industry, seems to to lack that respect. They see money as more important than conserving this art. Storytelling has been jeopardized by trailers and sneak peeks that are used to advertise and up their ratings. The currently system used to advertise is an insult to the work it is advertising.

I'm only writing about it now, because of recent advertising that upsets me. CBS's The Good Wife is currently my favorite show (tied with Showtime's Shameless). It is easily the most well rounded show I know of. It's a political drama, a lawyer drama, and a family drama all at once. The amount that happens in one episode is equivalent to probably an entire season of Breaking Bad...or more. And still, while juggling so much, they never drop the ball. There is not a dull moment and nothing is ever predictable. For example, the season four finale was unbelievably incredible. In the fifty-ish minutes, there were over a dozen unexpected twists and turns. You thought you were following the story until the last shot of the episode, where you learned you were completely wrong and misinterpreted everything and were left with wide eyes and jaw dropped as you realized that nothing on this show will ever be the same.


I can talk about how phenomenal The Good Wife is forever, but that's not why I'm writing this. Back to my point. Here we are. Four episodes into the fifth season, with episode five coming out on Sunday, and it already feels like this next episode should be a season finale...or season premiere. No other show can tell a story as well as Robert and Michelle King. Their art speaks for itself. Example, as soon as last week's episode ended, I yelled to my roommate, "And that is what it looks like when shit hits the fan." I found out the day after that the next episode is actually called "Hitting the Fan." So why am I talking about this? Because CBS and The Good Wife have been really trying to create buzz about this Sunday's episode. I don't blame them, the entire world needs to see how great they are at their art. However, it's their methods that I'm honestly so appalled by.

At first, I came across a Buzzfeed article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacelacob/the-good-wife-hitting-the-fan-review. This came out the day after last week's episode, but it is a review on next week's episode. I thought maybe he got the title wrong, so I read it. He didn't get it wrong. CBS screened the episode for critics ahead of time to create buzz. I quote and agree with Jace Lacob, "I’m not one of those Good Wife adherents who qualifies their passionate engagement with the Robert and Michelle King-created drama by adding “on broadcast television,” as the show shouldn’t be forced to carry such a backhanded compliment." The Good Wife is without a doubt one of the best television shows, period. Despite this, the ratings are not doing very well. My age group is extremely important when it comes to ratings, and nobody my age watches this show. The only people I know that watch The Good Wife are my roommate and my best friend, and that's only because I made them. I fear this is the last season of the show, as a result of their ratings. For that reason, I gave them some slack and didn't get upset about early reviews.

Then, the show released four sneak peeks on YouTube. They have been posting the videos like crazy on Facebook, Twitter, CBS's website, and whatever other social media networks. I do understand the need to keep their ratings up. However, those four sneak peeks add up to 7 minutes and 24 seconds of footage, from let's assume a 52-minute program. Now that pisses me off. Why is the solution to give things away, spoil parts of the next chapter, and insult your art? There has to be another way. The last scene of the latest episode contained a pivotal moment of the story. To keep this spoiler-free, let's just say it left us with one of the characters finding out that he is being betrayed by the last person he ever expected. Clearly, the entire next episode will be able how he reacts and how everything plays out. Now that's something I could spend an entire week thinking about, freaking out about, and waiting to learn about. However, there's no need to wonder how he will react. Just check out the sneak peek. No. Absolutely not. That is rude and offensive to character development, and I personally, as a fan, find it irritating that my experience of the story has been compromised.

Another example of this was the season eight trailer for Showtime's Dexter. My brother somehow convinced me that it didn't spoil anything, and I stupidly trusted him. SPOILER ALERT - The previously season ended with Dexter's sister Deb about to shoot him, then instead shooting a co-worker to save Dexter. If you watched the show, you'd know this is extremely unexpected of Deb, just completely out of character. There couldn't be a cleaner, more hard-working cop. She would never kill an innocent person. With an ending like that, the viewer is left wondering what happens next. Does Deb join Dexter as a serial killer? Does she turn herself in? Is she unable to live with herself? Here's the trailer to season 8:


How my brother thought that didn't give anything away is beyond me. Things I learned in that trailer that I shouldn't have: Deb turns to drugs, lots and lots of drugs, Dexter is safe, nobody knows that Deb killed LaGuerta, Deb blames and hates Dexter for what she has become, Deb wishes she shot Dexter instead of LaGuerta, there's some new character named Evelyn Vogel who is an expert at psychopaths and is a potential threat to Dexter, Deb is getting DUIs and getting into car crashes. Now my brother argues that all those things happen in the first episode of two anyways so it doesn't matter. I very much disagree. Every episode is important when telling a good story. Every scene is significant to the world that has been created. Deb's character change, like Will's in the next episode of The Good Wife, is a definitive moment and a game changer. Sneak peeks and trailers do not display critical moments properly. They ruin them.

Similar to my feelings towards trailers and sneak peeks, I despise the "Next week on (insert television show that I'm about to spoil)" that comes at the end of every episode. My only exception to this is "On the next... Arrested Development." At the end of every Arrested Development episode, there is an epilogue segment in which lingering stories are wrapped up or extended humorously. The scenes in this segment rarely appear in the next episode, but instead further ongoing jokes.
Most shows use a "on the next" or "next week on" to show mini clips of what will happen in the next episode. It is a pathetic attempt to get the viewer to tune in next week. If do you do your job correctly, engage the viewer, and end at a place where they would like to see the next part of your story, then they will tune in next week. I now know what direction they are taking the next step when I shouldn't. I want to know when I am supposed to know, which is when I would find out in the story. I used to have to run out of the room and down the hall when an episode of Walking Dead ended to make sure I heard nothing. Then I would come back, wanting to talk to my friends about what think Rick is going to do. Only all of them knew already that he would meet with the Governor. I find it aggravating that it's an option for people to hinder their viewing experience like this.

All my examples have been on television, but movies are even worse. Trailers give away every good part of a movie. Let's start with comedies. Go watch the trailer of a comedy that you have seen a dozen times. Try to tell me that the funniest lines, the ones you quote weekly, aren't in that trailer. Lies. They are. Moving onto action films, go watch the trailer of your favorite action movie. It probably showed every explosion, car chase, fight or battle scene in the movie. It isn't as cool to see that slow-motion bullet-dodging badass move in The Matrix (you know what I'm talking about) when you already knew it was coming.

The amount that is spoiled in a trailer is a major flaw of this industry. Why are we showing all of our cards? It isn't just that trailers spoil the funny lines or the big explosions. They're guilty of bringing you way too far into the story. It would be one thing if they set the stage, showed you life pre-initial plot point. It would be one thing if they revealed the first plot point that changes daily life. Either of those would be understandable. Trailers do more than that, though. They show key points in rising action and often show clips from the climax of the story. It is absolutely ridiculous.

My favorite trailer of all time is that of Hitchcock's Psycho. I'm warning you, it's long. Six and a half minutes long. I think it's wonderful though. Alfred Hitchcock gives you a tour of the set of the film. He brings you to different rooms where important scenes in the film take place. He almost talks about the action that takes place in each place, but repeatedly brushes it aside. By never revealing the action, he teases the viewer and draws their curiosity. I am not saying it's perfect, but I prefer this style of trailer to the ones that ruin key parts of the story.


Another great trailer is the one for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. Welles himself narrates this trailer, similar to Psycho and Hitchcock. He introduces each key actor, then asks the characters (not actors) of the film what they think of the protagonist, Kane. Without a single second of footage of the actual film itself, Welles reveals what a complex character Charles Foster Kane is and invites the viewer to see the film and form their own opinion of the man. Again, I would love to see trailers more like this. Citizen Kane and Psycho both have trailers that honor the story being told. Hitchcock and Welles showed their respect and confidence in their art by advertising in this fashion.


I realize that it is my choice to watch a trailer or sneak peek or "next week on," and as you can assume, I choose not to watch those things. However, I believe it shouldn't be my choice. I respect the art of film and television and storytelling, because this art is my life. Not everybody thinks this way though. They don't care if things get spoiled and I have a problem with that. It's our responsibility as artists to preserve the art of storytelling and give our viewers the experience intended for them. It's time we find other methods to advertise movies and television shows, one that doesn't compromise the art.

JUICING!

I purchased a Breville fruit and vegetable juicer in March of this year.  It is one of the best investments I have ever made. I make vegetable juices daily and they actually taste good. Instead of having coffee in the morning, I make a juice. My usual juice consists of apples, cucumbers, celery, ginger root, spinach, and kale. It is very energizing, makes me feel great, and urges me to eat healthier for the rest of the day. 
I know this is FICTION field but I wanted to write about a documentary I just watched called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”.  It is based on a man, Joe Cross, who suffers from an autoimmune disorder. He has tried all kinds of medicines but nothing helps so he decides to go on 60 days juice diet.  The documentary follows Joe traveling across the U.S. talking to all different types of people about food, lifestyle, health, etc. The documentary also shows two people Joe meets try this juice method.
I liked the documentary for many reasons. Joe is a very likeable and understanding person. He gets regular civilians to try it. He receives proper medical supervision throughout the diet and he talks with experts. I think people could get a lot out of watching this documentary. There is a lot of useful information shared throughout the film. Joe also uses the same juicer I have! Aside from the content I thought the documentary was shot and told very well. There were even some cute animations.


It was well worth the 97 minutes.

The Golden Age of Special Effects.

We live in an age of CGI. Hollywood studios have been finding that it is a lot easier to CGI a bunch of enemies or explosions or anything in action and Sci-Fi films. Unfortunately I am one of those people that have not really enjoyed these transitions. Almost all of my favorite action and fantasy films took place in the mid-2000's. Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven, Mask of Zorro, The Bourne Trilogy. These films had a sense of realism to them that a lot of the more modern action films don't.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey, the excessive use of animation really took me out of some of the scenes. There were scenes that were exclusively CGI and since I knew it was all CGI, all suspense was immediately taken out of the scene. I think the reason why I enjoyed the big budget action films of the 2000's was because special effects were not good enough at that point to completely shoot a scene, but could only be used to enhance scene. Give them that extra something if you will. For an example I have added two scenes, both from director Peter Jackson, one from the Hobbit done completely in CGI and one from The Fellowship of the Ring, decide for yourself which one has more tension.





Hopefully, you agree with my opinion that the second clip is much better. Mainly because of the lack of frame cluttering. It's almost as if Peter Jackson told the animators to put as much stuff in the frame as possible. This excessive animation really makes it difficult for me at least to get personally involved in the scene. The sad part is, is that a scene shot in a forest with a bunch of guys in costume did so much more for me than and thousands of dollars of animation could.

I am going to bring up a point here that might cause some contention. As some of my classmates have already stated, they really did not like the film Pacific Rim, and while by no means did I think it was a great film. I found it to be very enjoyable and worth the money I spent in the theater (mainly cause I didn't watch it in 3D). Now obviously this film relies on CGI like it is nobody's business, but the thing I found interesting after looking a bit further into the making of the film was that director Benicio Del Toro made a conscious effort to make the cockpits of the Jaegers a real set and the enhance it with CGI. Here is a clip about building the set.


 
 
Now I thought that was pretty amazing. Especially because of the lack of necessity. They were already making an extremely CGI heavy set, Del Toro could have just as easily had the actors put in a green screen environment and done everything in post, but he said no. I want to add a sense of realism in an otherwise unrealistic film. This went as far as to make real functioning pilot suits and helmets

Well for those of you who have stuck through this whole post and watched all the videos and listened to all my wild comments I say thank you. I always appreciate a good debate, so if someone has a conflicting idea I'd love to hear their arguments. After all, we're here to learn.