Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Film reviews - The Trueman Show

The Trueman show (1999) was Directed by the creative mind of Peter Wier. This film uncovers that Postmodern concept of not feeling like your own reality is actually correct - that the vibe for life is somewhat altered and has no real grounds for understanding. It is based on how a man has grown up in an artificial reality since birth, that he is the main star of a reality TV show that basically recreates the ideal suburban American dream yet exploits a man as if he is an Animal in a Zoo. It is the ultimate "Big Brother" - a story about seeing through the lies of organised reality and finding out ones own true identity. It is exactly this notion that "Trueman" (Jim Carey) comes to find when his life seems to go nowhere; That there is no place for his own choices and interests to develop, that anything he reaches out for is torn away from him. This builds suspicion, that his own reality isn't exactly that - it isn't his own at all. The feel for the repetitive daily life cycle of Trueman, from the same people talking to him everyday, the same Car's passing at the same time, to his shifts in a typical dull Office and how his closest friends and family seem to "act" in a fashion that seems like someone else is with them. It all becomes too much and we see Trueman start to unlock these strange puzzles that seem to coincidental to be "real".Then one day Trueman feels a real surge of emotion that he seemingly hasn't felt in a genuine manner before when he meets "Lauren" who's real name is Sylvia (Natasha McElhone). This feeling is love, and we see Trueman scurrying around becoming obsessed to find out who she is. Fortunately for Trueman come to meet this character on more than one occasion, who eventually pulls Trueman to the side and exploits the truth about his curiosities. With nowhere to hide or run, Sylvia has to tell Trueman all she can as quickly as she can and insists that Trueman is to find her when he gets out. The film continues to spiral into Trueman doing his best to escape the fake TV enviroment, being warned the world outside is only as real or more so imperfect than the one he has grown up within.

The way in which this film develops a meta narrative about reality and what is real somewhat creates an uncanny depiction of the world around us and gives this film a strong, heart warming moral about individuality and what it means to be alive.

The colour scheme and lighting used within this film really reflects an almost perfect American suburbia, yet to a point where it is so cliche that it seems to shout that there is something not quite right about it. It consists of bright colours and almost a 70's style of spirit. People tend to indulge into advertising items on set, which is actually a real advertisement for a real product, usually getting Trueman involved as much as possible.

The language used is very clean and appropriate for all ages at all times, it seems that the art of swearing and violence is as  non existent as the realness of the people in Trueman's world. The music used within the film reflects the typical kind of music you would encounter in a drama series on TV - it moves in and out with the emotions that the characters portray. We see the people in control of the music behind the scenes of Trueman's world when the film shows the people in control of the shows ongoing live progression. It is interesting to note that Trueman only ever really listens to music of his own within places like the Car radio, where it can transcend into the output of the live show itself. Obviously, any atmospheric musical composition made in the control room would clash with any musical sound Trueman plays by himself. This like many things however is something that is controlled in a way Trueman becomes blissfully aware of, even family photographs of himself, or false truths imposing fears to keep him from indulging in his interest of Fiji. The camera work is a mixture of the Big Brother style narrative with the use of regular film shots, yet it all feels like one large well edited observation of someone without their consent.

Overall a fun lively, yet heart warming and slightly controversial film.


Film reviews - The day the Earth stood still

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) was Directed by Robert Wise and helped to spawn the start of the "Alien invasion" movies that we still see popular to this day.

We see the Alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his robot sidekick Gort (Lock Martin) land on Earth just post action of the last World War, which is spawned concern from the neighbouring civilisations in the starry consolations above. Klaatu must inform the world leaders that if the people of the Earth did not change their ways then the aliens would have no choice but to destroy Earth to protect other worlds in the Universe. As this task starts to appear more difficult than he first perceived, Klaatu decides to embark on further action - by draining the world of power to get attention.

The film work produced here is classic of its day - lots of clever tricks to get around things before the invention of the special effects we have today. Things such as reversing the tape of the door to the space ship opening to make it close and save costs on film and time - the space suit of the robot Gort having two models, one with a zip at the front for behind shots and one with a zip at the back for frontal shots. It is also to note that this suit was very heavy, so the scene in which Gort carries Helen (Patricia Neal) he wasn't actually carrying a real person, but was carrying a dummy in replacement.

For its time the special effects used were state of the art, however you can see how they have tried to create story around over excessive use of the primitive (and expensive) effects of its time to avoid extra cost and to keep the film believable. It was originally wrote by Harry Bates, then later turned into a screenplay by Edmund H. North. The filmic version of the original story is vastly different in many comparisons. In the story, Klaatu is killed my a maniac (not a soldier) straight away on arrival to Earth. It puts mention that Gort the Robot comes to life every night to continue his quest and that he recovers a recording of Klaatu's voice from his tomb and uses it to make a copy of him. The way in which Klaatu warns the Earth of the consequence towards its actions is different to the overall way in which the film conveys this; From giving a Scientist the key to an extreme mathematical problem, to deactivating all electrical appliances on Earth asides from those which affect Human safety and being revived from the dead to give mankind the required message. When Klaatu is killed, Gort brings him back to life temporarily to communicate with the Humans gathered around the Spaceship, which is obvious for the many people to be the source of the strange events that have occurred. In the original story, it is then revealed that Robots are the actual true Masters of the Universe and that Organic beings are of less importance in the hieorachy of exsistence.

A film which uses every display of emotion, visual magic and clever twists to the plot that it can, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" really stands out as a legend amongst Science fiction.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Film reviews - American movie

American movie (1999) Directed by Chris Smith that was, ironic to the films plot, premiered at an independent film festival where it achieved the Grand Jury Prize. This film is a Documentary based on an enthusiastic, aspiring filmmaker who wishes to fulfil the creation of his own incomplete horror movie by financing the project himself and smashing his dream. Starring Mark Borchardt as the avid Filmmaker, we see him scramble through attempts to rally up a usable team to complete his creation, the cheesy low budget horror movie "Coven". It was his own demons that originally stopped him from pursuing this dream, but no more - he is determined to over come any bottle that comes in his way to fulfil his dreams. Wanting to over come this lack of self asteem he is determined to not fail: by asking anyone from relatives to the local theatre, pulling together a cast which although he struggles to keep in line prevails in the end with a classic, heartwarming moral of realising his movie is more connected to his pride of being American and what it means to be one - it is his own "American dream".

As you can see the film itself is comprised of the typical first person style attack of a Documentary, giving the audience a "feel" of living out what the subjects go through themselves. This therefore becomes a more personalised stylation of film, where the audience feels an interaction with the cast and a more emotional understanding of  the characters.

It puts the fight into how if you want something, then your supposed to get off your arse and do it. Like many people, myself involved especially, we all have dreams but all too often you will see that person who can't stop throwing off excuses and never gets to the point of their ambition. It is this very feeling that Mark storms through, which although we witness his fatigue from time to time he never lets himself down. In many ways this film therefore is inspiring to everyone who watches it, it gives you that positive feeling to make you want to get up and acheive your dreams.

In many ways the fact that this film is a film about making a film by a filmmaker basically shows a metanarrative to itself - everything that it does somehow references itself in the structure it is based around.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Postmodernism lectures - What I've learned

  • Postmodernism is difficult
We was brought to understand that this subject is without any easy discretion, if one believes they understand it then they haven't really got anywhere close. The loose rules of Postmodernism do not allow for someone to factually understand, only theorise in opinion. 

As the first slide of the presentation suggests:

“The concept of postmodernism is not widely accepted or even understood...”
Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn

It is as without grounds as religion or fairy tales themselves, a growing concept that almost views existence within a fourth dimension. What is real? Is reality different from one person to the next or is it fixed on a solid plane? How can we assure that the specific modernist rules towards life can stay a permanent fixture? What makes the static beliefs about the world seem that way, are they not just based on cause end effect? Which in turn wouldn't this prove that there are no stable rules to understanding physical reality?

You can be told how the world works, but to have faith in yourself with your own acceptance of your life and existence requires a conscious mind, therefore each individual having their own experience and this is what a postmodernists views will spill from. Individual experience is like time itself, it changes, but no one moment can be the same again. What that conscious experience takes from this concept is what their true perceptions on their own reality come from. 

This lecture also brought forward the visual representation of the Hydra, a Dragon or Serpent like creature with many heads. This basically shows that the multiple heads represent different perceptions of reality, the many possibilities that reflect back unlike modernism where the rules are wrote down to imprint security and a firm dictatorship of knowledge.

This suggests towards the open theories held within Quantum Physics, where this reality can be a possibility of many which are on going at the same time within different dimensions. Overall the predicament of this is that living in a "Hall of Mirror's" is not proved to be real, yet it cannot be flawed. Anything, even the weather, has options in which mirror to use - as to what reflects the world correctly to that particular catalyst. However, the way to perceive this indirectly as a postmodern outcome is that there was the "choice" to approve of reality within a different way.

When a piece of music is produced, the artist will naturally take claim to inventing the song and therefore owning it's existence. If another artist was to take this same piece of music and replicate it to their own experience, it could be argued that this would then belong to them. It is about taking an idea already constructed, understanding a difference then acknowledging something that can belong within it's spectrum, yet deconstructing it purposefully to become personal to another source .

Postmodernism is the abstract view on everything that we know, contorting the world into something that seems unfamiliar or new, bending the truth to be false and therefore just becoming more conceptual and God like than a solid ground rule.


Whereas Postmodernism is an extension of the enlightenment movement, allowing space to warp the boundaries of conceptual landmarks, modernism is a step behind in the opposite frame of mind. Modernism is about current trend's and ideas about the world which follow realistic tendencies and state themselves as correct. Modernism came into play around the late 19th to the early 20th Century and dismisses the claims made by the romantics during the enlightenment period. Views on an upbringing of society and its sub-categories were to be met by opinion based on rules of modern ethics, perceiving outside of what is known as correct is blasphemous to its nature. It is about using the innovative forms of expressing what is known to reflect the world as developing but realistic to it's current state.

Therefore postmodernism is the dream state of mind that surfaces on the modernist's rule book, which is to view this static experience of life as it is stated to be, how it appears on one level, yet becoming an expression from this plane and observing from another platform altogether.

In a recent discussion with a friend about the subject of dreaming itself we decided upon the notion that within our three dimensional daily lives it is hard to perceive the concepts of such difficult notions like postmodernism even if you accept it's exsistance. However, when we sleep we view our world differently, we see in more than one defined opinion - the world in our subconcious mind is far greater and more expanded into the realms of postmodernity than we are able to conceive as acceptable in a woken state. The dream world is potentially a four dimensional playground, a trick to the subject of what is real and the overthrow of a perceived reality we are in control of.

Where postmodernity can be seen as this alluring powerful thing with plenty of space to allow for everything and anyone, it is also a highly dangerous thing - It should give way to unity for mankind, however as it allows this space for beleiving in the individual experience it also creates the danger of becoming a unity of disunity. Postmodernism is it's own set of paradoxes, which is further more why it is so difficult.

Notes for essay:

Title - There is no Spoon; reality and the Postmodern paradox displayed within "The Matrix".

Notes to make:


Explain about how the matrix sets to deliberately make the viewer question their own existence, how their personal experience of the film can be anything from euphoria to confusion. Explain how this film has created a social impact on the general public and their perception to how the information age is making nothing a certainty. Show that the world is engulfed in controversity via scientific developments and different oppositions.Include a quote from the film about what is real and expand on it. Refer to how in the film it is said no one can be told what the Matrix is, just like there is no definition towards Postmodernism itself.


Discuss the point of how the Matrix deconstructs the world that we know around us, how it warns us of what could be mankinds future if we rely on technology, how we cant be certain that this future isn't here in the present. Again take a quote from the film explaining about time and the truth, explain how this then begs to question times credibility, a man made concept that is only exsistent through our ability organise and understand events and experience. Explain how to question ones reality in the sense of the films experience is somewhat like the ouroboros, that it can be a repetative loop of the understanding of reality and time - how people who die in the matrix are fed from the pulp of the dead.

Show comparisons to post modern theory:

Explain the way in which the Matrix applies postmodern theories to make the film seem more believable or innovating, how such rules of bending the known "truth" of reality is what distorts it into a whole new set of rules, a world of choice and a concious id that the viewer takes on themselves. Talk about Frueds concept of the Id, Ego and Super Ego. Explain the scene about the child and the Spoon: How he explains quite simply in order to bend it you must know that there is no Spoon, it is merely a representation of manipulated artificial reality. Explain how this reality is a choice to believe in, it is a way in which you perceive your surroundings within the Matrix's confindes - for those lucky enough to be "saved" from the Matrix this becomes an apparent observation. Show a quote from the film about the "red pill and the blue pill".
Explain about the link between the dream world and the physical awoken world - What is different? The forth dimension theory. Explain how this could be able to free the mind more than when stuck in a generic, "real" concious world. Talk about the enlightenment period and romantisism, how this "wake up" is a rebelion to the world around you, that there is something you can't quite grasp about being alive in this exsistence. Show how within the Matrix trilogy we see the "creator" of the Matrix, who we come to find is not directly the original creator, but a programme of his design which continues the world in his genius. Explain the way in which this is not only reflecting a person, but also another place in time which feels current; it is merely a reflection directly into the present. We come to find that there has been many "chosen one's" like Neo, all who had the choice of salvation or destruction. It is clear the chosen one is merely a threat to the system of the Matrix, that that person alone has the power to corrupt it - refer to this as the mise en abyme of the Matrix, how it Mirrors itself over and over. Also note that the Matrix is a concept that in the mind of a Postmodernist could be real, therefore you watch the film which tells the audience of a world we cannot see, there is a greater power within society and it exsists in the world we see. Show how the world is becoming a technologically dependant cultural experience and that this reliance on machines could cause such an extreme in the future. Mention that this development IS a concious one, that people will refer to in comparison to science fiction, yet allow for it to happen through adaptation. Include that it is also possible, according to the Matrix, that there is an unknown uncertainty that our world is real at all - therefore we ARE already within a Matrix. Use religion and death as an example, also how if we are within a Matrix we may be being watched ourselfs by others outside of it's exsistence; we could potentially be a warning to another culture in time or conciousness that we cannot perceive ourselves. Explain lost identity and how Neo is portrayed as both "Mr Anderson" and "Neo", almost creating the same person to be two different seperate entities, that there is no true understanding of self identity, only individual experience, which is why a concept such as postmodernity is so difficult to describe.

Explain how Neo is the Avant Garde to the Matrix, how he is the force that can be creative with his surroundings and innovate a new system for the world to adapt to - the prophecy of which he is said to fulfill will change the world for the better, so man and machines can live in harmony, with respect and control.  


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Film reviews - Lost in La Mancha

This film is based around the film that could never be made, the tale of Don Quixote. It is said to be a cursed film, a hex upon whoever tries to tell it's tale to fail and end up with nothing more than broken fragment's of ingredient's that go no farther than the bin. Contract's were unsigned, budgets were to be met, deadlines were to be made and nature discouraging the team spirit. All these thing's helped to ruin the adaptation of Don Quixote that Terry Gilliam would obsess over to become his filmic reality, however putting together this amusing film as a result.

All the film from the start is based within a Documentary style follow along with the crew, as if to be used for a DVD extra, yet innocently unaware that this is the main camera for their infamous success.  Nevertheless, Gilliam continued with his quest, but after a mere six days of shooting, Spanish Air Force jets ruined several takes, flash floods destroyed several sets, and as the Film project struggled to pursue a positive course the elderly Actor playing "Don Quixote" himself, Jean Rochefort, suffered from a severe back injury and could not continue for medical reasons. Rochefort's departure was enough to put the film on a Hiatus that sent the Film's pursuit into a fallen ending. We even see modern heart throb actor wonder boy "Johnny Dep" involved on the project, almost treated as a nervously handled pile of Gold as nothing else on the project was to give it any viewing substance. In many ways, Dep seems to be acting as himself, aware of being on a Camera even off set and has a flow about him that seems to depict a role even through a documentary of this kind. The use of Jean Rochefort was almost comparable to that of Ed Wood's obsession with his prized Bela Lugosi and in many way's this film reflects the same audience involvement as Tim Burton's adaptation to Ed's life in his own film based Biography on Ed's career. Interestingly enough that Johnny Dep played Ed and plays the role of a creators key to success within this awkwardly amusing piece of work.

Instead of realising this experience as a negative, they saw the amusing revelation that they had caught this catastrophe on camera for their film diary and that as this seemingly did not get caught up within the bad omen that the onlooked film suffered itself. If anything this caught the comedic element of how the film fell apart, giving the audience a heart warming look into the world of a man's masterpeice not developing exactly how he wishes to see it, yet laugh at his luck with a good spirit knowing it has worked out in it's own way.

Obviously, the Camera work is natural, not as if directed but brought on in a first person perspective, yet managing to not seem obvious amongst the crew that it is observing upon. The Camera picks up conversations and moment's of heightened emotion, all seemingly unaware of their action's becoming an unscripted movie. What you will come to understand about this approach is it simply becomes a film within a film, an onwards self reference that turns the original depiction into a new frame of outcome where the acting becomes real life and the experiences are real.

There is clever use of the footage collected, by turning it into usable scenes cut down and edited together on purpose to develop something filmic out of something that originally had no intent to be existent. You will on occasion notice the film steps out of itself to be narrating about how the experience was ongoing, how it should have been and where it went wrong, or consistently approaching the story of "Don Quixote" with an obsessive nature. It even on occasion indulges into 2D animations which daydream away from the reality into what could have been and is still merely a dream in the mind of its creator, a film full of restrained disappointment in what should have been Terry Gilliam's finest creation.

Chris Simmons

Science, Reality and the Devil - Breif introduction to Postmodernism essay concept

For my Postmodern essay I wish to indulge into the world of Science and the separated debates that surround it's existence amongst mankind. I wish to pursue this via using a film that references a technological age that mankind has developed beyond itself using Science, yet deconstructs itself via depicting the technology as something undesirable or inhumane.

Science has existed with a prolonging shadow of an unprecedented discouragement since the rise of Post modernism. In today's culture we see that many find it hard to comprehend the structures both on academical terms and in popular culture. Science has always been scrutinised by those of a religious position, where the methodological steps of such theories as evolution have been disregarded as blasphemy towards a God as being the creator. This doesn't seem to have any stable sense however, as the world does develop and move onwards with complete proof and evidence of such a progression, so why couldn't this notion co exist with a God? Science as a constructional entity is seen as an avant - garde of an exploitary method of discovery, a discipline with no boundaries that runs wild in its own playground, something which can deconstruct the moral of nature itself.

We find in films such as Metropolis, Equilibrium, The Matrix and Blade Runner being examples of this notion toward's technology and its co-existance with mankind.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Character tutorials

Well, I seem to not be able to trace my work in the folders on the University Computers. Therefore as I know this project isn't going to be graded any farther from last year i'll finish off what I started.

  • Head

  • Jumper

  • Trousers

  • Shoes

  • Arms

  • Full body


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Scream 4 review

Film reviews

Scream 4 (Wes Craven - 2011)

Scream 4 is an explosive, violent action packed film full of references that pay homage to its original Trilogy. As the original film "Scream" was so popular, it brought a whole new wave of typical generic acts that it managed to elaborate, thus many films of a similar genre ensured a depiction along this path. It spawned an ironic comedy called "Scary movie", which meta narratives the acts performed within the Scream movie and other classic films of its kind. Considering its place is still within the horror genre it is well placed towards a light hearted context so that the audience can clearly gain a sense of appreciation through its stylistic techniques. This makes the movie fun to indulge into, however adds more room for the story to develop. In a similar way to films such as "Kill Bill" or "Scott Pilgrim V's the World", we see the rules of either cinematic or real world laws of nature failing to apply. A post-modern edge such as this helps the story teller to interact further with the audience to almost communicate farther with them than if submerged within a generic modernist style cinematic approach.

The story is a depiction of self indulgence into its own trilogy, which done well enough to almost set the rules of how a slasher film should be layed out. Therefore, it pretty much is a reference to itself throughout the entire movie, which is what the characters must follow to ensure their survival through the film.
The film opens with a series of openings reminiscent to the original Scream movie, where the character Casey was killed off within a few minutes, setting the scene for the films intention from the start. In this film, however, this event is played on and we see a set of characters watching films from what is the "Scream" series within its own movies world, entitled "Stab". In a sense, this becomes a catalyst for the whole movies pursuit.

Scream 4 seems to somehow over rule the trilogy and offer more scares based on what we come to expect from the other films and their ways of producing sticky situations. This film develops in a relentless, unapologetic depiction of meta reference and mind boggling twists which turn the audiences anticipation upside down on a consistent basis. In other words, if your watching this film trying to work out the storyline and who done what, you wont fully gain any full understanding until the end. You will come to find plot holes aplenty and moments which could make you wince with an awkward smile, but it definitely shines in the right places. Theres no doubt a sense of deconstructional humour fully injected into this

The film is basically a "who done it" Slasher, where the murders appear reminiscent to the murders of the small town that the original Scream, yet we all know it has to be another psycho on the loose with some strange new motive to reinact these crimes. In turn we come to find that it is Jill (Emma Roberts) the Cousin to Neve Campbell's character "Sidney" who is jealous of the attention that Sidney receives from being the victim of the original Woodsboro murders.

Wes Cravens suspense set-ups are a little overcooked, but he does manage to keep things moving at a fine pace considering his task of juggling umpteen characters and the necessary tonal shifts within the pace of the movie.
The musical stamp embedded within the duration of the movie stays consistent to the previous Scream films, and to that of typical Teen/suspensive Horror movies. The use of the camera, lighting and dialogue hasn't changed much either, so although the film somewhat feels old and like used property, it flows forwards with so much familiar ground yet builds many opportunities for something new and appreciative for the audience to enjoy.

Overall this is a great movie and I think it is the best of the Scream films created as it somewhat summarizes the whole franchise.


Film review - Funny games

Film reviews
Funny Games (Dir. Michael Haneke - 2007)

If disturbing chaos is your thing, for whatever reason, then this is the movie to indulge in. The 2007 film funny games reeks of relentless self introversive nature. We come to find uncanny effects of how a familiar, comfortable home can be turned into a sinister prison for suspensive acts of terror. 
 Due to its calm nature, unorthodox timing and use of jokes in horrific situations that many would consider the material of nightmares. Unfortunately, things like this really do happen in the real world, and when they do they come unexpected. Thus, just like the somewhat "trippy" nature of this film, the story may be confusing in the scary reflection of real life circumstance. 

I found myself backing the two "men" in the film of whom were committing the crimes, it was all so "innocent" and charming to watch. Their brutality was hidden under a white sheet of manners, most usual mannerisms of violence being churned out in an opposite approach. When the villains left the film for a short while, I became bored watching the Mother (played brilliantly by Naomi Watts) scrambling around in attempts to resolve her horrific situation. The film suddenly lacked its kick in these moments where I observed from my colleagues a sense of unease, a disturbance, an awkward silence, as if the room wasn't quiet enough already.

The film is based around American suburbia by a beautiful landscape, a lake with neighbours spread across far and wide. Some neighbours would reach each other by boat, as a result of the kind hospitality that these individuals show they enjoy the warm company of their tidy neighbourhood. So, everythings perfect. Brilliant scene for what they wouldn't expect - murder - and lots of it.

One sunny afternoon Ann Farber is preparing her family a dinner when the doorbell rings. Her son Georgie answers, only to come face to face with a ghostly faced smile from a well groomed teenager. This boy is called Peter, who lurks his way into the family house by asking for Eggs claiming to be coming from the house next door. Already you can sense the unease, this entity in the house gives off a presence which shouldn't be there, he is almost uncanny to his own image. His nervous position covers up his bad acting when he repeatedly drops the eggs until there is only a few left. In comes Peters co-killer Paul, dressed in a similar fashion and just as clean cut in appearance. The violence starts as Peter manically asks for the eggs, and swings a Golf club at Ann's husband, George Farber. This Golf club was also used as a test weapon on the family's Dog, which Ann later finds dead in the back of her Car. 

One thing to note is almost how idiotic the family was, how they had the chance to easily over power the two boys yet they never took the chance. In some respects this is why I prefer the villains in this film, they are intelligent and seem to be merely Cats playing with Mice. As a result I would of found it even more thrilling if we saw multiple family murders within this film, and some outside force attempting to track them down and stop them at their game. 

I found the use of breaking the forth wall interesting, an addition to an insight into the maddened mind of Peter and Paul in their attempt to plan their murders. In some sense, what also made this movie interesting is that as Peter and Paul are aware of the audience, it almost seems like this murder has been fixed up, like a film they have seen one too many times that they are trying to reconstruct. The addition to different movie like qualities, such as rewinding time when Ann kills Paul to bring Paul back to life are interesting, and to me show that indeed the two boys are merely just playing nothing more than a game. Who's to say their not harming anyone at all? Perhaps they plan to rewind all of these events once they have finished, perhaps they are all in on the act, perhaps they are really the captives inside a prison of some sort being made to act out a television show to save their own lives. Thinking outside the box suddenly makes this film less violent, or "weird". 

Paul: You can see it in the movie right? 
Peter: Of course. 
Paul: Well then she's as real as reality because you can see it too. Right? 
Peter: Bullshit. 
Paul: Why? 

This confirms my previous take on their situation, also making a somewhat disturbing analysis that anything you see on the screen is just as real as anything you see in real life. This brings the notion that the film itself is actually real, pixels are producing light, just like any other source of image will reflect light into your retina to produce what we call sight. So are the people in the films doomed to eternal deaths and misery? Is there anyway to save them? Of course there is, they answer this themselfs - rewind! However, just like real life there is no way you can prevent this from happening, as someone out there will be playing the same film anyway. You cannot escape from death.

Paul and Peter continue on their quest, betting that the family will all be dead by morning. Of course, they are right. They manage to kill of the family one by one, starting with the boy. They play with the family by leaving them for a while, hoping they would try nervously crawling out looking for help only to crawl back into their path of pure passionate evil. Dragging them back into the hell of their own home, they finish the job. As morning kicks in they don't break their bet, they push Ann off a boat as they float across the peaceful lake to their next awaiting innocent victims.

Overall, good film. Kind of quirky, had its cheesy moments which made me laugh, the violence was a little bit too forced at points and in some respects it was a bit too slow mid film. On another perspective this film is incredibly disturbing, managing to unlock that confusing yet uneasy sense you would usually associate with nightmares. The storyline I felt should of been broadened out to a larger scale as I previously suggested, to make this film even more bloody and disturbing, also giving it a chance to fly off the wall with a tons of additional cinematic blasphemy.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Film review - Moulin Rouge

Film review
Moulin Rouge - (Baz Luhrmann 2001)

This touching film explodes onto the screen with vibrant, bright, dazzling energy that unleashes a contentment for life - then amazingly pulls at the heart strings in a flurry of realisation back into reality. The euphoria you feel at the start of the film, which is almost just too theatrical to be on the cinema, is certainly shaken to wake you up and realise how precious every little second of life truely is. The moral to this story for me is, take what you can, do not waste life and make the most of life in the moment.

The film is based on Ewan McGregors character, "Christian", embarking on a journey to Paris, where he encounters the bohemian society of the Moulin Rouge. It is here where he and his new friends, of whom are neighbours of his new apartment go to let loose and enjoy life. Christians friends arrange a naughty swindle to get him and the lead attraction of the Moulin Rouge "Satine" to get together after the show. Of course, this happens and Christian isn't to repel this offer, as he believes she genuinely wants to meet up with him after the show. Satine on the other hand believes that Christian is a duke of whom she was suppost to be meeting before the fix up, who the head of the Mouline Rouge "Harold Zidler" is hoping will take interest in his finest attraction. Harold wishes to make a deal, of which could make the Moulin Rouge a lot of money, to do this he must pull a few strings. In true fashion to the day where women were less respected, Harold uses Satine as bait to blind Harold into agreeing to sign the paper.

The twist is, Christian falls deeply in love with Satine. From the moment he met her he was transfixed, as he has a funny obsession with love, yet believes he has never felt it before. As a writer, it is his one ambition to know what it feels like so he can pursue his writing to its fullest. The problem with Satine is that she is so used to pretending to feel love for Gentlemen, so used to prostituting herself, that she fails to initially accept her true feelings. This is probably because she is confused by emotion, something of which she is used to holding back, ignoring and getting on with each day at a time.

I love how it provides that artificial grasp at the feeling of love by building an emotion. It uses the qualities such as build ups, tension, held back passion and the longing of two people with the same passion, even if something gets in their way they fight back to fall back into each others arms.

Over the course of the film we find out that Satine is terminally ill and to pursue his plan, the greedy Harold makes her carry on performing, not allowing her to find out about her condition. The jealous Duke makes sure nothing stands in the way of his prized Satine, so when he becomes suspicious about Christian he puts up a plot to have him killed. It is here where we find out that Satrine really loves Christian, as she sadly is forced to tell him she doesnt love him after finding out his fate, and unfortunately, her own. In an attempt to save Christian from a broken heart and an early grave, she knows this is the only way. We know that Satine is talented in the art of acting, usually to give a man what he desires, so she puts this skill to use for an opposite effect for the first time.

I noticed how the film starts out fast and jerky, with impatient cuts and energetic displays of camera work. Over time, in contrast to Satrines quickly declining condition, the film begins to slow down. Thus, this is when the powerful death scene takes place. Christian returns to the Moulin Rouge for one last time to declare how he feels about Satine, which turns into an attempted murder on Christian. I felt a sense of sadness at Christians bravery, however it was not for nothing. He made the love of his life feel for the first time and be able to acknowledge it, in that moment of death where she was slipping away in his arms that whisper spoke a thousand lifetimes. As a result, Christian continued her memory with the fulfillment of what he always wanted - to understand and feel the power of love. So he wrote, with a heavy heart and in his lonely state, about Satine and her impact on his life. This somehow compares to most broken relationships, many come to think of love as happiness, whereas most humans will know the happiness is usually within the indulgence of another, yet man is never satisfied in the end.

Overall a brilliantly crafted film which I have a lot of time for. Powerful and entertaining, shocking and emotive.


Film reviews - Scream

Film review
Scream (Wes Craven – 1996)

Scream was Directed by Wes Craven and released in 1996.

Scream is one of them movies that open’s straight into the action, preparing the audience for a thrilling ride of viewing intensity and a warning of bloodied gore early on. The opening sequence to the film is almost the most memorable part of the film and we make a connection with the Character Casey, played by Drew Barrymore, almost instantaneously. She is in effect the MacGuffin of the movie, as she is what is referred to throughout yet taken out of the film physically very early on.

The movie is about the murder of a School Girl, who is one of a number of people targeted by a Hooded, Ghost faced costumed killer on the loose in a small American Town. The first Girl to be killed, Casey, sets off a local pandemonium mainly within the Towns High School. The Teenagers are all both suspects and to be protected, incase this killer goes loose again.

In typical slasher movie style, there are tension build-ups, chilling music and almost predictable outcomes. The classic sign given in Scream that a character was going to be killed was by receiving a phone call from the killer infamously called “Ghost face”. If anything this film is an attempt at recreating the slasher effect of the early films of this style while avoiding an initial cliché. It pays homage to a lot of old characteristics of film making origin of its kind, yet somehow still upholds a modern, more lighthearted feel.

The film, although always being drove onwards by the initial panic and mystery of Casey’s murder, follows a young Student named Sidney (Neve Campbell) who comes to find she is the new prey of the killer. In her efforts to evade the killer, other students and people become victims of the killer and this helps to drive to story forward into its somewhat relentlessly unforgiving conundrum.

The original suspect of the movie is suggested early in the film itself once Sidney becomes the apparent target, so therefore we can initially suggest that this isn’t our killer. This is due to a year before the film being set we come to learn that Sidney’s Mother was brutally raped and murdered, which puts the characters eyes upon Sidney’s missing Father. As the film progresses we start to see links to other key characters and events, such as Sidney’s Prince Charming Boyfriend Billy (Skeet Ulrich). It is almost obvious when Billy climbs in through the window immediately after an attack, with a phone falling out of his sleeve. The Character Billy has something dark about him that we initially see right through, with a swift change in the flow of the plot the film diverts our suspicions away from Billy and we feel more comfortable with him afterwards. This is not to last however, as Billy has merely had a close shave and we come to find that he is actually involved in the murders taking place.

The indulgent fear that strikes into the tension of the film almost becomes like a game, the movie portrays it almost as if the murders are fun and with an excitement to find out who exactly is causing the problems. This is why I think this film is very clever, it can appear funny, referencing itself through comparisons of other horror films and as we see in later sequels even referencing its own success as a horror movie. Even through a rusty sense of humour this film can drive panic into the audience, it can make people jump, it can confuse you, it always has something new every time you see it and strangely enough it can separate you to either will on the hero or the villain in the movie.

I like how the film can really drag you into a typical “American Dream” style suburbia, where even through horrific events such as murder there are still elements about the surroundings that make you feel a comfort that its too perfect to be true. This perfection is almost balanced back to normality by the murders themself which to me somehow is what makes the film less scary than it could be and if anything puts a subconscious form of relief into the audience. If something is too pretty and too good to be true then how can it exsist in an imperfect world? It can’t and it shouldn’t, that’s what drives people who want order by chaos.

The way in which the cameras seem to focus on the scenes derives in two main ways; first we have the typical longer shots, with longer cuts and fewer pans. This keeps the feel of the moment to be more relaxed, chilled out and without too much care. We can take in the beauty of a setting or comfortably get a relaxed shot of a character while they announce their lines. Then there is the other form of camera work used, which is faster cuts, cameras panning around a character to make them seem surrounded, close up’s of a characters panic driven face and even the odd cheesy zoom in during a chase.

The music used within this film is typical for a jumpy horror movie, there are subtle build-ups in tone and then explosions of edgy chaotic string based instrumentals.

To go along with the “perfect” culture driven along in this movie, we come to find the film reference itself in a meta narrative way of depicting the “rules” of a horror movie.

Randy: “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully survive a horror movie! For instance, Number One: You can never have sex. (crowd moans and cheers) Sex equals death, OK? Number Two: You can never drink or do drugs. (crowd moans and cheers) No, it’s the sin factor, it’s a sin, it’s an extension of Number One! And Number Three: Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances say ‘I’ll be right back’, ‘cause you won’t be back.”

It is also interesting to note how there are some characters seemingly obsessed with horror movies throughout, how they seem to know how they work to pull of a decent killing. This helps to further invoke a suspicion into who the killer could be, either by an obsession with how to go about murders or by the person who seems to know less about it. It leaves the audience in a perplexed state of mind, which is later carried out as a true example of how the remaining murders are carried out. Interestingly enough when the character Randy explains the rules to a horror movie the groans and mumbles of the other characters in the room almost makes it seem like the characters are aware of being within a horror movie.

Unfortunately this film had such an effect of comparing itself to other movies of its sort and how to go about being a successful horror film, that it strangely became the grounds for a real murder using the exact voice changer and costume as seen in the film in real life. This was called the Scream Murders and happened in the January of 1998. It is almost as if it is basing itself on a meta dictatorship and consuming the rules of “Scream” and “Scream 2” as if it is a guide and our reality is merely a film that we choose a genre for. It is a scary reality but on open terms it is a correct notion, especially considering we are filmed nearly every day of our life’s in public, or what we see with our own eyes is no different to that of a cinema screen, we direct the cuts as we direct our life’s.

Overall I believe this film to be highly interesting and Wes Craven really did his homework to make this twisted Teen Horror flick come to life.

Brilliant film 8/10


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Life drawing 2 - Charcoal

Finally my internet at home is starting to work again after a painful transistion to SKY Broadband (dont do it people!) and finally I can get on my blog a bit more again. Heres a quick catch up of a life drawing class a few weeks ago where we used charcoal to create the images of the model. The paper was smeared in black charcoal so that we could erase parts to allow for light and dark areas of the picture, then using the usual methods of measuring and shapes I continued to draw how I draw!

Do excuse the watermark on my images, I cant seem to shake them!


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Character design: Victorian clothing

The clothing style of the Victorian era is most distinct and is set apart vastly by social hierarchy. The overall observation is that it is quite varied, however it was a time when colour schemes seemed most bland and pastel based. In many respects the larger side of the community who were poorer distinctively wore dirtier, less extravagant garments where brighter, rainbow like colours would have been expensive and for the upper class citizen.

I have come across a website which is perfect for referencing the imagery of fashion within the Victorian era, it shows a lot about styles over a specific time period and for different classes of people.

The Mid Victorian Silhouette 1860-1880

Factors Affecting the Fashion Silhouette after 1860

We arrive at 1860 with four significant facts that were to seriously affect fashion of the future. Firstly the sewing machine had been invented, secondly clothes would in future become couture design led, thirdly synthetic dyes would make available intense colours. Fashion history painting showing full crinoline of 1865.Fourthly in 1860 the crinoline domed skirt silhouette had a flattened front and began to show a dramatic leaning toward the garment back.

Charles Worth thought the crinoline skirt unattractive.  However, he is associated with it, as he did manipulate the style, as a result the shape soon changed to a new trained, softer bustled version, which only the really rich found practical.

Right - Dress designed by Charles F. Worth for Empress Elizabeth of Austria and painted by Winterhalter in 1865.

In 1864 Worth designed an overskirt which could be lifted and buttoned up by tabs. This top skirt gave a lot of scope for added ornamentation and by 1868 it was being drawn and looped right up at the back creating drapery and fullness.

The New Princess Line 1866

In 1866 the new Princess gown also changed the line of fashionable dress. The Princess gown was cut in one piece and consisted of a number of joined panels fitted and gored from shoulder to hem that gave the figure shape through seaming.

The Gabriel Princess gown with a small neat white collar was mainly made in grey silk and followed the fuller skirt lines of the era. This is the dress style often used to depict the constrained buttoned up repressed governess character of Jane Eyre in films. Later Princess styles were slimmer and much more form fitting. Sleeves in day dresses were often of a banana shape.

The Soft Bustle Fashion Silhouette 1867-1875

Painting showing crinolines moving to garment back c1866 - Fashion history.
By 1867 with the fullness bunched up to the back of the skirt creating a polonaise style, crinolines and cages suddenly disappeared evolving into tournures or bustles. The bustles supported accentuated drapes on the hips.

Image - Women in the Garden by Claude Monet 1866-7.   The Louvre Paris.
Costume history picture of tiered frill bustle dress fashion.

After 1868 Worth's overskirt really caught on in England and contrasting underskirts and gown linings were all revealed as the over top skirt was divided or turned back. Other top skirts were called aprons and they were also draped making the wearer look like a piece of elaborate upholstery. Rounder waistlines were fashionable and waistlines even began to rise very slightly.

Above on the left a tiered soft bustle ball gown of 1872.   

From 1870, ball gowns always had a train. Soon by 1873 the train was seen in day dress.
By 1875 soft polonaise bustle styles were becoming so extreme that the soft fullness began to drop down the back of the garment and form itself into a tiered, draped and frilled train. Trains were very heavily ornamented with frills, pleats, ruffles, braids and fringing. The sewing machine instead of simplifying sewing, just became a tool to add more ostentation.

The Late Victorian Silhouette 1878 - 1901

By 1878, women of the late Victorian era have a very different look about them compared to earlier Victorian women.

The Princess Line and the Cuirasse Bodice

Picture of trained cuiasse bodice dress Fashion history .

The soft polonaise style bustle styles were replaced by Princess sheath garments without a waist seam with bodice and skirt cut in one. The Princess line sheath had a bodice line similar to the very tight fitting cuirasse bodices which had been getting longer and longer.

Right - Slim fitting trained dress with cuirasse bodice 1876.   By 1878 the cuirasse bodice reached the thighs.

By 1878 the cuirasse bodices had reached the thighs. The cuirasse bodice was corset like and dipped even deeper both front and back extending well down the hips creating the look of a body encased in armour.

Picture of slimline trained dress costume history.
By 1880 the two ideas merged and the whole of the dress was in Princess line style with shoulder to hem panels. The silhouette was slim and elongated even more by the train. No bustle was needed for the cuirasse bodice or Princess sheath dress, but a small pad would have helped any trained fabric to fall well. 

Left - The cuirasse bodice of 1880 reached the hem actually becoming the princess panel dress.  It made an exceptionally form fitting draped sheath dress which was elongated even further by the train.

The slimline style needed good dressmaking skills to get a flattering fit. When done well it was attractive, but all too often swathes of fabric were wrapped and arranged across the garment in an effort to disguise poor dressmaking skills. It was not a very practical garment and only really suited to the very slim and those who did not have to work. As a fashion it barely lasted 3 years.

The New Hard Bustle of 1883

Costume history picture of hard bustle dress.

Suddenly out of nowhere in 1883 a new jutting out shelf like style of bustle appeared. It had been shown in Paris in 1880, but as a fashion took off later outside of Paris. It reappeared even larger than ever as a hard shape that gave women a silhouette like the hind legs of a horse as shown in the page heading.

Right - The second hard bustle style 1883.

The new bustle dress had a different look. It had minimal drapery compared to the former and a slimmer more fitted severely tailored princess bodice, with a much flatter front. What drapery there was, was tidily arranged at the front of the dress as a small apron. Soon even that disappeared. For support the spring pivoted metal band Langtry bustle gave the correct foundation for the wider skirts. 
Painting of hard bustle dresses - costume history.This later bustle fashion was very moulded to the body and the heavy corsetry gave an armour like rigidity to the silhouette. The pointed bodice began to look quite tailored.
Tailored garments had been introduced in 1874 and their influence on design was subtle, but led eventually to the tailor made suit so fashionable in the 1890s.

Picture of dress after bustle declined. Fashion history
In 1887 the sleeves were still slimmer, plain and close fitting. The sleeves look like quite a different style than on the bustle dress of the 1870s which had sleeves that would not have looked out of place on dresses of 1860.
By 1889 silhouette changes now couturier led were changing more rapidly and the sleeve developed a very slight leg of mutton outline which soon needed support.

Right - Dress of 1889 showing signs of elevation at the sleeve head. 

Victorian Fashion History - Power Dressing



Picture of tailored full sleeved suit. Fashion historyIt's interesting to note how late Victorian women embraced the sharper tailored jacket fashion which gave them a different posture with a more confident air reflecting the ideals of early female emancipation. Other military and more tailor made styles of jacket were also popular. Some dresses also had a more severe air about them.

Left - Tailor made suit of 1895.

There are similarities in the period 1885 with 1985 when women also showed their strength in the corporate workplace with Power Dressing through more masculine tailored, shoulder padded clothes. A similar broad shoulder trend occurred in the Utility Clothing era of the 1940s when women did work usually thought of as men's work.

Bright Aniline Dyed Colours



The gowns of the 1880s were almost always made in two colours of material. Vivid colours such as deep red, peacock blue, bright apple green, royal blue, purple, mandarin, sea green were used alone, in combination, or in tartan fabrics. Some colour combinations were very strange.
At night ladies evening dresses were in softer hues and although they were extravagantly trimmed in contrast fabrics and very décolleté, they followed the general line of fashion.


Gradually the skirt widened and flared as the fullness of the bustle began to fall into pleats down the garment back eventually disappearing to nothing.
As before the bustle foundation softened until only a small pad was left by 1893. The armour like hour glass figure soon developed into the S-Bend shape corset which set the Edwardian Corsetry silhouette until 1907-8. 

Left - Evening gown with train 1890. 

Leg of Mutton Sleeves



The leg of mutton sleeves continued to develop and sprouted high above the shoulders, By 1895 the sleeves swelled into enormous puffs similar to those of 1833. As happened in 1830 to balance the huge shoulders the skirt widened and flared, whilst keeping the waist tight and handspan narrow.
Queen Victoria's influence over fashion was long gone. people who were in mourning still followed court guidelines on mourning dress. The real royal influence in fashion was the wife of the Prince of Wales, Princess Alexandra. Together they set the tone for society and fashion in the last decade of the century in the 1890s and into their own reign of the Edwardian era from 1901 to 1910.

Pauline Weston Thomas . (Year Unknown). Mid-Late Victorian Fashion and Costume History. Available: http://www.fashion-era.com/mid-late_victorian_fashion.htm. Last accessed 12/10/2011.