I mentioned over on my Facebook Page earlier on today, that I wanted to share some of my footage earlier. I think it’s best to get as much feedback as I can. Not being in the studio at the moment it’s harder to get a second opinion. Here on my blog/website is a great platform to get some feedback which should help my work develop.
Please note that there is no sound at this stage, I’m thinking of adding some distortion later on. Any help or advice is welcome.
Another day in the edit suite working today with the car footage and the animated sequences which slowed down the process, from simply adding the footage to the “storyline” of the work. I can see pieces working and others not, working again with the flow. With a few pieces I have placed them back-to-back.
I know for sure that having the cars stationary isn’t effective as when they are animated. Only when they are parked can I get away with the footage.
The animation was an eye-opener for me, having them already filmed in sequence, it did push my computer at time when I was adding the footage into the “storyline”. I began thinking each piece of footage would last for 2 seconds, it just didn’t work far too stunted, unlike 1 second. Of course for animation you need 24 frames a seconds, however that is not what you get with CCTV, depending on the system, which have improved over time. However this placing the technology back 60-70 years, so it will look far different. What I need to do is get a second opinion on how it’s looking before it goes much further.
I really want to animate the figures then I can combine everything together and see what I have. I know it will be longer to produce a scene, having to juggle figures and cars. A challenge I’m ready for.
I’ve steered clear of this film for sometime now, not really knowing what it was about. Coming also from a western John Wayne image, not really used to Wayne outside that image. Until more recent films that I have seen, so I took the plunge and viewed Islands in the Sky (1953) which was quite a shock, throwing out my preconceptions, which were little to be honest founding a very human story.
When a transport plane is forced to land in freezing condition in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but snow for miles. It’s up to Captain Dooley (Wayne) to look after his men from the almost certain death in Labrador. I can see in Wayne’s acting that he is growing as an actor, seeing flashes of Ethan Edwards in his performance during a time of his career away from the wild west.
The five stranded men have no more than 6 days until they will start to starve to death in the harsh conditions which are believed to be minus 70 degrees Celsius . All missing families back home and all the comforts of being at the airbase.
The airbase is quick to get a search and rescue mission under-way, calling back all their men led by Col Fuller (Walter Abel) who as much as he wants his men back is restricted by the war effort and the reality that these men could be dead. That’s something which his men aren’t ready to accept. Each crew having a love for Dooley and his men. They are all family which spurs them on to stay up in the air for as long as they can.
The real drama is in the freezing waste land which sees 5 men struggle to survive on little rations, and the elements which see the men fight on. It’s tough going as hunger hits them hard, energy is being drained and the cold just makes it all so much worse.
The search in the treacherous skies that threaten a change for the worse means it’s a race against time. We want so much for these men to be found as they have nothing but hope to hold onto of getting out. Photographed beautifully in black and white, making for a more bleak world, we focus more on the human drama that holds this tense film together.
- Movie Review: Island in the Sky (beardedhermit.com)
This has been on my watch-list for sometime, and with one good reason – Tom Hanks of course added to that the iconic quote “houston, we have a problem” one of those modern classics that have evaded me until now. I can safely say Apollo 13 (1995) was well worth the wait and anticipation.
Depicting the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission of 1970, which begins with great hopes as Apollo 11 lands for the first time on the moon. Already the nation is filled with euphoria having beaten the Russians in the space-race to reach the lunar rock in the heavens. For astronaut Jim Lovell (Hanks) he believes his next mission is Apollo 14 not ready for this one after an ill fated flight that took all three men.
His team is soon brought in line for 13 taking place in 6 months time, the training begins and all hopes are with him and his crew. Everything is running smoothly for the crew as they train for the launch and other operations, and the all important landing back to Earth.
Things start to go bad when two of the main crew are kept earth-bound when one is taken ill with measles, meaning that the back-up crew consisting of Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise) whilst Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) is grounded and frustrated, his chance is taken away from him, a decision that his commander didn’t take lightly.
The launch is successful, it’s all going so well until routine checks on day 3 spark things to change for the worst. No longer are they on course to the moon, but only to survive and get back home. The three men have to do all they are told by Houston at NASA who themselves are searching for solutions to get their men down. Lead by Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) who does his best with a team who are doing their best to get them down to earth.
It’s tense for all in space, at Houston and at home, which focuses on the Lovell family who are left at the mercy of a small radio to know what is happening. The media who at first ignored the mission soon descend on a family whose future hangs in the balance. Director Ron Howard creates scenes that have become synonymous with world events, families around the TV which describe the events as they unfold. Between these three locations the tension is built. Of course we the historical events being retold on the screen, we know the outcome, it’s the pieces in between that bring it to life. It’s an all-American tale of a “successful failure” as NASA had only just proved to the world what they could do, pushing forward mankind, there are still dangers that lay before them, and have since with tragedies such as the Challenger disaster 1986. To further ourselves we must take risks that can be costly.
With Apollo 13 they were indeed very lucky, making the retelling of the events all the easier to tell, with our trusted every-man Hanks who holds the crew together when oxygen and moral is low. A classic tale of hope when despair could be around the corner. Showcasing some incredible special effects which have hardly aged even in comparison with films such as Gravity (2013). Both prime examples of the perfect blend of special effects and human drama. Only time will tell where Gravity will be positioned.
- Apollo 13 (1995) (movierob.wordpress.com)
- Apollo 13′s Jim Lovell: Houston, we have a real problem (telegraph.co.uk)
- Apollo 13 commander: bring back traditional flying skills (telegraph.co.uk)
- How NASA MacGuyvered the Crippled Apollo 13 Mission Safely Home (jeremiahtillman.wordpress.com)
- Apollo 13 (y6southeygreen.wordpress.com)
- Bring back Moon missions, says Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell (telegraph.co.uk)
- Bring back Moon missions, says Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell (astronaut.com)
- Apollo 13 CLOI (y6southeygreen.wordpress.com)
- What Apollo 13 Teaches Us About the Fight to Fix Obamacare (usnews.com)
It’s been a few days since I’ve properly looked at the work, turning my attention to the editing what I filmed this last week. Starting with the empty street shots which I have been getting into shape, shaving the clips in places so the flow is improved, whilst still maintaining a CCTV motion in the work.
Tomorrow I will be starting to animation process of the cars which was filmed the day after. I’ll do each sequence separately before I introduce them to the other shots.
In other news the model figures have arrived, whilst I was away in Birmingham. I have already split them into male and female, and removing the sitting figures from the bag. I hope to get to grips with them this month, (weather permitting). I am starting to rethink the painting of them, as they maybe washed out in the filming. This makes me want to return to the studio and get to work again!
I’m becoming more aware of the post recession films that react to the financial crisis of 2008, the end of the last boom and bust, which saw huge corporations lose millions whilst the average man on the streets life just got harder as the living costs started to increase and jobs became a nightmare to find. I was drawn more than anything to The Company Men by the top-billing that was shared by Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee-Jones and Kevin Costner.
What I found at first was a hard-nosed shipping company/corporation making another round of redundancies, this time affecting one of their best sales executives Bobby Walker (Affleck) who is a cocky salesmen who believes he will bounce back soon with a job that matches his skills and previously salary. Not what the audience knows to be true, having experienced the hard reality of the recession. Whilst we follow to more men at the company a divisional president Gene McClary (Lee-Jones) and Phil Woodward (Cooper) both long-time employees giving thirty years of their lives to this company that has had to take tough decisions to survive, restructuring and downsizing. The two remaining don’t like to see what is happening, seeing good hard working people being made redundant. All with the help of human resources manager Sally Wilcox (Maria Bello) who is seen as a hard-nosed b**** who doesn’t really care who goes.
We follow these three men as they each come to terms with the redundancies. We more easily empathise with Bobby who even with the help of his old employer looks for new employment, understanding the mounting rejection from prospective employers, who believe they are right for the job before having their hopes dashed after all the hollow promises that are made. I personally can understand the struggle to find a job, the pressure and competition for each position. It became disheartening at time with all the rejection that comes your way. More so for Bobby who knows he has to provide for his family who are relying on one source of income, it’s not enough to support the house which they may have to give up. He wants to portray the image of success which he has been used to for some time. An image that he believes will help in securing a new job. He needs to come down to earth.
Whilst for those still at the company things are looking grim as more tough decisions are being made, the face of the once simple shipping construction company becomes far more than it’s beginning. Especially for Gene (Lee Jones) who know longer knows his best and oldest friend Conal (Tom Kemp) who has risen to the top with all the trappings that to the average person are luxuries. Gene who lives a similar life has become jaded to it all and his wife who lives a luxury life. He wants nothing of it, wanting something far simpler.
Whilst for Phil (Cooper) along with Gene are later made redundant. For Phil a man nearing his sixties, his chances of being employed are slim as he soon finds out. Reality is hard to deal with, spiralling into a depression that reflects many who have been victims of the recession.
The Company Men shows the light at the end of the tunnel, when your job and life come crashing down, it;’s how you deal with it that. Falling to the lows that even those in corporations feel, something the majority of the population cannot easily relate to. Seeing the bankers of the world to be the cause of our financial trouble. They are like us, if we like it or not.It has a limited reach to the audience showing how redundancy can affect the average guy, to the executive. It’s only with Bobby’s brother-in-law Jack Dolan (Costner) a builder doing his best to survive in a bleak housing climate. He’s the really the only one we can truly relate to, a hard-working man, who has not had the great success and lifestyle of others. We see others who are struggling and accept anything they are given, something that comes harder to the likes of Bobby.
I don’t think films such as this and Margin Call (2011) will have a massive audience, they focus on the wrong people for a mass audience appeal and empathy. They do try to humanize those who suffer as a result of the crisis that like it or not also are effected. The Company Men (2010) does go some way to breaching that social gap, we all have bills to pay, payments to meet, lifestyles we want to maintain. So does it matter where on the food chain in the workplace you are when and if you do fall?
An interesting twist on the noir genre here with Repeat Performance (1947), taking place as one year draws to a close and another one is about to begin. For torn actress Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) shoots dead her husband Barney Page (Louis Hayward). We are missing vitals parts this the murder, coming into too late to know why he was shot dead, and at first who by.
The shaken up wife Sheila doesn’t care that 1947 is just beginning, wanting more than anything to live the year over and change the past, stop everything bad from happening. Something that William Williams (Richard Basehart) tries to understand, her only friend in all this mess she has found herself in. Before she knows what’s happened outside the door of John Friday (Tom Conway) her wish is granted, a rare second chance to put things right from new years day 1946 through to its end.
In theory the plot should be rather good, Instead it becomes quite predictable as Sheila tries time and again to stop events from occurring before her eyes. Seeing once more her alcohol addicted husband fall away from her. Her friend William still go to a psychiatric hospital.
Only Sheila really knows what her second chance means to her, always it slips away as events unfold differently, still leading to the same conclusion. It’s an attempt to bring redemption to a terrible act by a person, allowing them to “re-do” the year as we have seen in numerous pieces of fiction, from the comical to the deadly serious. The setting of Broadway didn’t help me engage more with the characters, coming straight off the back of what was a lack-lustre Morning Glory (1933) which I hoped would be far more than it was. More dated than anything. There is here however more rivalry behind the stage for this group of characters, yet still in a far off world that I cannot enjoy even more so.
It’s the classic story of the man against the whole town, a standard tale of the west. When a group of bank robbers make for their break for the road they are soon followed by a posse from town. Lead by town Marshall Marshal Hiram Cain (Emile Meyer) and Ben Cutler (Fred MacMurray), gunning down 4 of the 5 men who left the bank in a mess. We learn on returning back to town that the much loved Marshall had been shot dead, all the guilt is directed at the last man standing Eddie Campbell (Robert Vaughn), once childhood sweetheart of Cutler’s daughter Laurie (Joan Blackman). There’s only one possible outcome for the last man standing for the robbery, a hanging.
Over the short duration of Good Day for a Hanging (1959) it’s to up to one man alone almost to carry out the justice as he know it should be done. Once again wearing the Marshalls badge he holds the man he believes to have shot his old friend. It’s his word alone that sees him behind bars waiting trial and eventually the noose for Campbell who we saw was unsure at the start where to point his gun. The gunfight in the open country was so fast and action packed of men falling to the deaths by the hand of another’s gun or the falling of their horse even the audience isn’t too sure if Cutler committed the crime.
With the arrival of defence lawyer William P. Selby (Edmond Ryan) he starts to place reasonable doubt into the rest of the town and the posse who all give evidence in court, all under oath to give the truth, the truth they didn’t realise until they were really questioned. It could be seen as the defence manipulating the witnesses to ensure his client walks free. Sadly it the testimony of the Marshall, so sure of himself, even in all the action he sways the jury to come back with the guilty verdict. The law won, but what did the town win after hearing the evidence.
All considering the possibility of innocence of Culter, even more so for Laurie and Ben’s fiancée Ruth Granger (Margaret Hayes) who no longer sees the man she once fell in love with, washing her hands of him in shame and disgust. Whilst the town with a collective sense if responsibility and guilt petition for Campbell’s release. Whilst Cutler wants nothing more than to carry out his duty, now in almost secrecy.
Meanwhile inside the jail a break is being planned, a last ditch attempt for freedom, the last act is a real game changer for all in the town as the peace is broken once again they are left in doubt as to who really shot the late Marshall afterall. All it takes is the actions of a few men to change a towns mind. Nothing is certain really when a man is taken to trial on the basis on one man’s evidence.
A routine western with a twist as the town is swayed in one direction and then again, whilst the law remains constant. MacMurray once again in the west, not completely suited to the west, but the more I see him in boots and hat the uneasy fit. A leading man who never really grabbed the screen like others of his time but holding his own nonetheless.
The last day in the studio saw me return to old form, with my glue-gun and trusted Stanley knife as I made a watch-tower. I had exhausted my supply of foamboard so turned to my massive supply of cardboard, which allowed me to go taller than most of the buildings I have. I wanted the tower to creep over the top of them to suggest a presence and power in the background. A very simple design and a touch of cold temperatures prevented a complex design, Still I think it has a presence.
All that was left to do was find a place for the tower to sit. I’m still undecided after moving the piece about the town. A few positions just don’t work at all, standing out more than it should. Whereas other it really fits in providing a sense of menace in a post-war city.
I’ve narrowed it down to around two or three locations. Either behind the diner, near the station, or far back in the minor road to look over people in their homes.
On reflection of the work so far which started out as just a brief shot in a classic romantic film to take on a far sinister life. When it came to bringing the work to life there is a sense of fun to the work, at least in the making process as I animated the cars. I still need to add the people which maybe before or after the new year begins. I know it’s in the closing stages, moving into the editing stage before fine-tuning it. I have been looking into a new work which needs some refining before I really share my idea, its too lose to really understand myself, inspiration has struck again and in an unlikely place.
I went into this film mainly for the direction of Billy Wilder for Sabrina (1954), not so much the female lead of Audrey Hepburn who I saw as a woman with her head in the clouds, which now is all part of her charm. My eyes are more open to her appeal as a film-star. In terms of acting my mind is yet to be made up completely.
Beginning with my old perceptions I began this film wondering where it who Sabrina Fairchild (Hepburn) would fall for, I knew this was the aim of the film, I wasn’t put off by how straight forward it appeared, knowing there was more to the longing of a chauffeurs Thomas Fairchild (John Williams) who had devoted her affections from afar for the Larrabee’s charming son David (William Holden) very much a ladies man with a big heart, who had already been through 3 marriage, not exactly good material for someone who is blind to what David may really be like.
To stop her going mad with her obsession that would never come true her father sends her away to a French cooking school to learn new skills and more importantly to get her mind of David. A very dated idea today but that doesn’t matter in the world of Hepburn who tries her best to concentrate, her mind always being thousands of miles away, until an elderly man takes her under his wing, she begins to blossom and grow as a woman.
Whilst back home in Long Island the industrial Larrabee’s are hoping to invest in the new and exciting possibilities of plastic, which is far away from the world of Paris. Lead by the hard-working Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) who will do what ever it takes to make it happen. Even marrying off his brother David to the partner companies daughter Elizabeth Tyson (Martha Hyer) who is remains oblivious to the films events. Especially when Sabrina returns home, unintentionally stirring things up. Coming back a new and confident woman, complete with new hair cut, her dreamy outlook has been pulled back to reality.
David soon rediscovers the chauffeurs daughter, a new woman stands before him, he knows she is the one. Its love at first sight for him, a dream come for a resolved Sabrina. Spelling nothing but bad news for the plastic deal, so much is on the line. Linus steps in to start “damage limitation” ensuring the deal goes through. However he doesn’t intend to fall for the affection of Sabrina. Unwittingly a love triangle takes form and fast and only she doesn’t even know it.
Wilder again works his charm with material which would on the face of it be disgraceful and depressing. Crossing the boundaries of class to the 20th century as Linus promotes over his fathers wishes. The heart is more important, even in matters of business, as exciting as they can be. Choosing plastic a then new material which was just being discovered, here exploited for comic effect. Wilder takes the innocence of Hepburn not long out of Roman Holiday (1953) starting to mould her on already forming perception of an angel. Which he also did similarly with Marilyn Monroe. The script doesn’t so much sizzle and spit, usually tight, there is room here for a looser story to be told, it’s romance, with a spot of business to lift it up from just another romance. Satorising the class system and business in the process. It’s not has hot as some of his other works, still standing up with his others with pride. Along with interesting casting, of course William Holden had become a regular, the choice of Bogart a straight actor heading into his 3rd decade on screen, a chance that Wilder has taken before with great effect. Finally if it takes one film to start to change my mind on one actress then I’m glad it was this one to get me on my way, all courtesy of Wilder.
- All About Audrey (healthyjeaned.wordpress.com)
- My blog name and Audrey Hepburn (kinsfavorite.wordpress.com)
- Paris is Always a Good Idea (fmyazbek.wordpress.com)
- Roman Holiday (1953) (theblondeatthefilm.wordpress.com)
- On 70th anniversary of ‘Casablanca,’ son Stephen Bogart recalls great romance of Bogie and Bacall (miamiherald.typepad.com)
It’s been a very productive and fun day, albeit for just over an hour when I set out to film the cars in the film noir town, which was the aim. I knew straight after the first few shots for this to come alive, I needed motion in the cars, which means animation, which I was going to begin with the figures. I could only get away with a few stationary shots of cars, suggesting they were parked. When we see cars they are either parked or on the move which is where I went.
Beginning slowly with a scene from straight down a road was captured as two cars passed out the camera’s view, one towards and another away. This kind of thinking with two second shots of very clunky animation that references early C.C.T.V. which would reflect the period that is being filmed more. I left the cars where the went, moving the camera around, picking up more action, either from previous cars, or new ones.
The most fun I had been with a car-crash outside the cinema with a blue car into a larger burgundy car which went onto its side. before making a crazy wide turn into the petrol/gas station. I won’t give any-more away, I have really loosened up, letting the action of the cars and my 5-year-old self tell me what to do. Bringing to that a need to get more angles of the action, the camera moves around to get more of the action before it disappears from view.
I’ve thought for sometime now that a watch-tower is needed to really complete the look, instead of just being an ordinary office block. A watch tower would fit into the look of the town and the genre. That will be my last model, maybe of the year as I will be moving my work for the winter now back home very soon. I have enough footage to work with for a while, to organise and animate.
Before I wrap up this post I thought I would share a few images of how I left the film noir town, it was quieter when I arrived.
Another film that has been sitting on myself for a few weeks now, needing literally the time to view such a long film as Patton (1970) wanting to give it my full attention instead of breaking away from it. Having seen already the biopic on General Douglas MacArthur played by Gregory Peck. I had to seek out this biopic on the equally bombastic WWII time general George S. Patton who helped incredible bring success to the allies.
We see from the start a man who was larger than life as he speaks to his army of fresh faced soldiers ready to “kick ass” against the Nazis. It’s inspiring almost off the cuff poetry full of fowl language that speaks to the anger inside the men we see later on in the historic victories and failures of the generals army.
From the outset we see we are in for one hell of a ride with one of Americas history makers whilst at war. A man who lived very much in the past to influence his present. Wherever he went we learn of past battles that influences his own plans of attack, even going to an old battleground in Tunisia. Much to the dismay of General Omar N. Bradley (Karl Malden) who stands in awe of this man of sheer determination who would stand in the line of fire as the Luftwaffe would attack over head. Very much a man of legend and madness.
In terms of cinematography we are treated to some glorious work by Fred J. Koenekamp who helped to portray Patton as a great historical figure of the battlefield, standing far greater than is already immense height would take him as played by George C. Scott who breathes life into this figure who went far beyond the average general, out there directing the men when the got stuck in the mud, to giving them what they needed, encouragement to carry on. Matched with the military inspired soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith who stripped it back to a few signature pieces that are heard and mixed throughout.
Of course it’s not all about the glory, with all that came his big mouth that lead to his downfall from grace with the top-brass. Becoming a liability who wouldn’t stop from insulting the Russians and even his own people. Raising him to the status of maverick, a title that is rarely granted to people.
He is given one last chance to prove himself as the D-day approaches he is given an army to drive through France, aiming all the while to get to Berlin, nothing, not even a shortage of fuel will stop him for long. Having trained his men to fight to the bitter end.
Much like his maverick contemporary he is both celebrated as a war hero, who got out of control, causing trouble for the army and government. In Patton he is portrayed as a great man, in terms of the his physical presence provided by Scott who earned and refused the best actor Oscar. Everything comes together with an non-stellar cast who allow him to shine even more. I hoped it could have covered more of his career, such as the lead up to WWII and previous engagements. What we see is still more than enough to paint an image of a man who was even feared by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Karl Michael Vogler) who we see with others deep underground follow his every move, not many struck fear into the third Reich’s failed campaign more than Patton, that alone is enough to warrant a film.
I was very aware of this film when it was released, reawakening the controversial debate into the legacy of the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher who is believed to have destroyed Britain, bringing it to it’s knees, never really recovering. Whilst others believe she changed it to become a world super-power, helping to end the cold war. Which-ever side you are that’s a debate for another time.
On the face of it The Iron Lady (2011) looks like a biopic of the first woman Prime Minister, as it charts her rise to power through the ranks of the conservative party all the way from being failed candidate to be a councillor, all the way to the top to become the most powerful woman in the world. Quite a feat in anyone’s eyes from starting out as a grocers daughter, it sounds like the stuff Hollywood would eventually turn into a film. In the hands of British filmmakers and an all British cast, bar Meryl Streep in the lead role we see more flashbacks of her life than a review of a career.
Maybe it’s through the flashbacks of a woman with dementia we can see another side of her. For years she was seen as a tough woman who wouldn’t easily by pushed on an issue, something that became her downfall. The media image is one that people of my generation only have, besides those who either champion her or would have spat on her in the streets. Now relinquished of all her political and now mental powers we see a woman who is struggling to hold onto reality.
The flashbacks allow us to see into her view of the past, along with archive footage to create the events that she shaped and influenced. These take up a fracton of the running time, coming in quick bursts to give an overview of her career. Focusing on her present state of mind as she copes with dementia, fighting only the hallucinations of her husband Dennis Thatcher (Jim Broadbent) who is on top form, making her realise what is going on. Whilst in reality she has chosen with the help of her daughter Carol (Olivia Colman) to finally clear out his things (which we don’t know for sure happened). Using this more as a tool to see her more confused and on the edge.
It seems for a wide audience (mainly British) to see Thatcher she has to be in a poor state of mind, as in her final years she became a private person in her failing health. It does gives us an insight into how she maybe in her final years. Played wonderfully by Streep which saw her sweep the board that awards season, able to take on the role from her days in parliament to her eventual decline, shows real skill to her and the make-up which also was honoured. Supported by a strong British cast, which could have been the only route to take with such material, archive footage made up the rest while the film depicted and filled in the blanks. However it’s not an account of her life, an account of her life would be more over-reaching covering more events in greater detail. It’s a media friendly biopic with a gentle touch of reality to show even the great (which is debatable in this case) and once powerful are only human and fragile in the face of old age.
- Meryl Streep To Star As Susan Boyle In Biopic Film (popwrapped.wordpress.com)
- The Iron Lady (myoldaddiction2.wordpress.com)
- MM Top 5: Meryl Streep Roles (moviemetropolis.wordpress.com)
- The Iron Lady (cathonahottinroof.wordpress.com)
I was expecting something far darker, especially with Sigourney Weaver in the lead role of The Girl in the Park (2007), the write-up made the plot sound far darker than it actually was. It all starts happily enough, with a young family in New York, parents and two kids, seems perfect enough until Julia (Weaver) takes her 3-year-old daughter Maggie goes missing after a fun day at the park. We feel the gut wrenching pain that the mother is going through, only turning her back for a few seconds, which is all it took for her daughter to disappear.
We pick up the action 16 years later, the once happy family has been torn apart and happy once more in their broken form. The husband Doug (David Rasche) has remarried while their son Chris (Alessandro Nivola) is about to marry his fiancée Celeste (Keri Russell) having moved on, accepting that his younger sister is dead, starting a new chapter in his life. We learn that Julia was unable to move on and accept her loss, making her relationship with ex husband and son very distant, creating a string of disappointments.
With Julia coming back into her family’s life, all from afar, she meets a young woman who at first takes advantage of her good nature, after defending her in a difficult situation. Feeling her motherly tendencies are coming through for Louise (Kate Bosworth) who unwittingly assumes the role of Julia’s lost daughter. It could be darker than it really appears, feeling very normal, taking this woman who has no home, going from one mans bed to another each night. There are times when you want to shout at Julia to stop her in her tracks. There are of course similarities between the young Maggie and Louise now. It’s a hard call to make as we make our way through the film, we are made to doubt our own thoughts on the identity of the woman.
When she is introduced to her son who comes to fix a cupboard door, the real doubt starts to slip in, as if two siblings are being reunited, under the guise of a white lie. For a brother who had to move on, accepting an important person his in life has died, to found this woman who does bear a resemblance.
It’s subtly frightening over time. A lonely woman only starts to really come to terms with her loss when she finds a substitute, which is really a form of denial. Its a dream come true for parents who have lost their children to be reunited with them years later. Whilst in the meantime a degree of normality is needed to carry on with life, as much it is emotionally possible. The Girl in the Park takes this idea and brings into the screen sensitively, from the mothers point of view as her family have moved on and she, the one who feels responsible for her daughter going missing, changing her into a guilt ridden woman who is the pale version of her former-self.
- The Girl In The Park (07barringtonco.wordpress.com)
With Ridley Scott‘s latest film The Counsellor receiving a critical mauling, it was just coincidence that I caught an earlier film of the director Black Rain (1989) which at times looks like another take on Blade Runner (1982) in terms of the look and urban locations as we are in the middle of a Japanese mob-war, something that two New York cops weren’t expecting to be involved in.
- Review: The Counsellor – 2/5 (moviequibble.wordpress.com)
- ‘The Counselor’ Review: 10 Things to Know About the Cormac McCarthy Thriller (art3867.wordpress.com)
- The Counsellor – Movie Review (lucasfothergill.wordpress.com)
- Blade Runner – The Aquarelle Edition (biblioklept.org)
With the frosts in the morning and drop in temperature the studio days for 2013 are starting to dwindle. I have done what I set out to do, which was film the film noir town. Before I knew it I had started filming devoid of cars, so it was literally lifeless, which I will pick up later. Instead of starting over I carried on capturing all I could. I accidentally had the focus on automatic which was irritating me, so that was turned off. Whilst it has that effect on me, it does it’s own look to the work, a technology out of it’s time, by at least 30 years or so.
I was always mindful of where the shots were angles to ensure I captured only the town and not the exterior of the studio interior (that made sense in my head). I also felt restricted at first, by the length of the cables until I realised, that my own visual restrictions put in place by the street lights, I could move the cables around the set that wasn’t being filmed, making the task easier for me to get around the model without having to move it all around which may show up in the finished piece.
So with the town devoid of life I decided to finally get out all the cars I had bought a few weeks back now and place them into the set-up. Adding them to my map and carefully labelling the boxes they came in, so they were mixed up. It’s a big job I have taken on again. So the next time I film the work it will be with the addition of the cars – which will be the early part of next week. Then I maybe staying in the warmth of the edit suite (home) to work on what I have got into some kind of shape.
It’s been a very quiet day, I’ve discovered much to my fault and misfortune that the models I have ordered won’t arrive until the middle of next month, which could bring the work to an abrupt halt. Which I won’t let happen any more, deciding to film the models at the angles that I have previously found. This could be the work, or part of the work. I’ll see what happens when they finally arrive. Lets see what tomorrow brings.
I first about Black Swan (2010) when it was mentioned in a crit group session, I didn’t take much notice then, my mind was elsewhere and wasn’t really interested in the film. 3 years later after seeing a range of films I decided to take the chance when it received it network TV première. My first thoughts were this is a film of fierce rivalry between two ballerina’s which to an extent it is. Yet it’s so much more than two women who are polar opposites vying for the lead role in a theatre companies production of Swan Lake. There was a powerful blend of two films The Red Shoes (1948) and All About Eve (1950) that burst onto the screen, with added sex, darkness and power.
Of course all the dancers want this fantastic role, to be centre stage in an iconic and classic ballet. After fighting for the role Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) persuades the director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to cast the perfection hungry dancer who has the skill but not the passion to take on the role. Through chance she is awarded the role. The hard work is now just beginning at the theatre and at home.
Whilst all the while in the shadows we catch glimpses is fellow dancer and possible rival Lily (Mila Kunis) at first a friendly face of support, but also what Nina aspires to be, perfect on the moves whilst also with the heart for the dual role of the white and black swan. An uneasy relationship forms between the two of them, with a lingering sense of threat at the tip.
The director Thomas Leroy keeps pushing his new muse to get the best out of her, wanting to liberate the still innocent woman, who needs to embrace her sexuality both on and off stage. Something that Nina is unwilling to do with him. On the other-hand the with the help of Lily who wants to bring herself out of the home life that has trapped her as the daughter of a failed ballet dancer, she has to break free.
Troubled with the constant cuts she finds on herself body she enters a surreal world where her perception of the world blurs between the role of the swan and the oestrogen fuelled rivalry that for Nina is long overdue to grow up and away from her mother to be independent, stand alone and become the great dancer she can be. We see a dark and adult world begin to consume this women as she realises and goes over the edge of what she needs to do to stay on top.
At times it’s unnerving to watch these two fighting as reality is blurred by the competitive streaks that fuel them both, taking different approaches to this prized role which they are eyeing up. The lengths they will go to undermine and unnerve each other are staggering and with dramatic effect. This is more than a look into the world of ballet, this is a psycho-political battlefield, all fighting for the attention and glory of a few and the masses who see them perform.
- Black Swan (warringtonobserver.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan (2010), Film Review (michellewidmann.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan (hechec66.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan (2010) (cinemaclown.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan (2010) directed by Darren Aronofsky (anutshellreview.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan (2010) (classicfilmclassics.wordpress.com)
- Requiem for a Dream – Review (beefymovies.wordpress.com)
- The Black Swan (thedanceeffect.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan – Halloween Special (reelfashiononline.wordpress.com)
- Black Swan recap: Evil Dead in a tutu (theguardian.com)
- Black Swan (dzenii009.wordpress.com)
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Thunderheart (1992) ever since I first read a description of the film, I had to watch it. When a murder in the Sioux reservation is committed it’s up to the FBI to investigate, having jurisdiction over such crimes on Native American reservations. A rare chance for a mainstream audience to go inside reservation, around a hundred years after the indigenous people were first defeated and rounded up onto them.
Made more accessible with Val Kilmer as Ray Levoi an F.B.I. agent with mixed heritage thanks to his father Sioux blood. Peace must be restored in this once again troubled land. Going to South Dakota where the awful murder took place, the people want the murder solved so they can live in peace, a part of them still lives in fear and depression, it prove hard for agents Levoi and Frank Coutelle (Sam Shepherd) with only three days to solve the murder and get out again. It’s easier for Coutelle to get on with the investigation, having a professional detachment from the natives. Whilst Levoi is surrounded by the people who know who he is and do what they can to remind him of his heritage. A theme that has been used time and again for characters in the classic westerns who try to hide their shame for having a mixed heritage, allowing for those who are Native or African American and even Mexican to persuade them to accept their true and rich identity, not to hide it in shame. The murder is just a classic macguffin to allow this journey to happen.
This time police officer Walter Crow Horse (Graham Greene) takes on the role of the guide. A modern take on the native American, no more are we presented with the clichés that Hollywood have educated the world with. It feels more honest, to visit a a still proud people in their present situation. Living in run-down static homes and caravans, wanting more than anything to be one with the land. Their spirituality is still very strong Crow Horse even had to fight to keep his identity at one time.
Levoi has an internal fight on his hands whilst trying to solve a murder to accept who he really is, with the cop who tries to help with his incredible knowledge of the land and people which conflicts with the agent who is leading the investigation. It’s more compelling to see spiritual journey he fights to get off at all times that could blind him from the case. If anything he finds it to be a hindrance, especially when he is brought to the elder Grandpa Sam Reaches (Ted Thin Elk) a partial stereotype of the elder role we have seen before with a modern twist and charm, on one level he is just an elderly man, yet on another he is wise man who must be respected.
As the investigation goes on and into overtime the pressure is onto solve the murder, and giving the Natives more time to make Levoi realise who he is. Courtesy of a vision he has that takes him back to Wounded Knee a very familiar historical event to portray in the film, he begin to realise that there maybe something to all this talk.
The Natives are still scene as an annoyance with all their superstitions and beliefs that are mocked, which is dealt with sensitively. Everyone wants peace who lives near the reservation, even the white people. Until we realise the sinister and political twist at the end. There seems to be no peace for the Natives who I have a respect for, every-time we saw the F.B.I. dismantle the structures if the Sioux we feel pain and sympathy for them. The respect is there for them, whilst at the same time we see an uneasy relationship between the settlers who have made the land their own, protecting the American dream. As the Natives do their best to hold onto their values and customs that have been shaken up the last 200 years.
Thunderheart goes some-way to making clear that a once proud race has been abused by a stronger one, who by force relocated them to smaller penned in areas. There are left alone to do as they please in line with laws and treaties that are finally being kept. It’s an uneasy peace. Throwing into that a man of mixed heritage who can hopefully see both sides of the debate. Asking the question, how far have they come and where are they now?
- Thunder Heart (1992, Michael Apted, USA) (capitalessaywriting.wordpress.com)
- Thunder Heart (1992, Michael Apted, USA) (eliteacademicessays.wordpress.com)
- Native Americans hit hard in US shutdown (radionz.co.nz)
- Congress honors code talkers, including SD tribes (siouxcityjournal.com)
- Quiz: Native American Contributions to Life in the United States (mettahu.wordpress.com)
- Oglala Sioux members to be honored for “code talking” during WWII (nebraskaradionetwork.com)
- Black Elk (illuminations2012.wordpress.com)
- Mixed-Race Heritage Should Not Be A Big Deal Anymore. (iamdiophena.wordpress.com)
We are starting to show cracks as the C.I.A. are contacted by a Russian defector who wants to leave his once beloved country behind that he lost his passion and allegiance for. It takes Wargrave (Lee Marvin) and his team to go Russia and safely get Marenkov (Robert Shaw) across Europe to the safety of the U.S.
Avalanche Express (1979) for me was a chance to visit a film I caught the tail end of a year or so ago, getting to be a habit of mine now, to understand what it was about, and see what all the fuss is about. The plot is pretty straight forward enough. Throwing into the mix and on and off again romance between Wargrave and Elsa Lang (Linda Evans) which isn’t the most convincing of romances to grace the screen.
It was the low-tech special effects that got my attention, I knew as soon as I saw a model train pushing through the snow European hills which we see for most of the action. Combining scenes on board a train and those in the real-world are what made this film exciting. Even the never ending avalanche that was started in attempt to stop the train from carrying the high-ranking member of group now lead by Bunin (Maximilian Schell) who will do anything with his team of European agents to stop Marenkov get away.
With most of the action based on the Atlantic Express, probably a name used in place of the Orient Express which didn’t want to be associated with the film. It does however make is more exciting, when Wargraves plan is put into action to flush out all the agents it should be non-stop danger when infact we get only a few action scenes, the rest is just chat. There is danger but it feels very staged and shows that either the film is mis-cast or just out of date with the times. In the wake of the new blockbuster genre, it tries to compete with a theme that was more popular ten years ago. On a positive note it’s always good to see the cool and collected Lee Marvin on screen again
It’s hard to really start to talk about a film such as If…(1968) there is so much to process. First it’s a product of it’s time, even if director Lindsay Anderson denies it was in reaction to all the political activity happening at the time. I can see there is a clear class war going on in the film as 3 6th formers fight against a dying institution which is the private school system and the upper-class. It also feels late in the day, the sixties known for being a decade of cultural revolution that saw the younger generation breaking free from the post war blues that left this country financially crippled, and by another generation who stifled free expression, the very thing that was fought for.
Maybe this is literally the last battle ground in the U.K. to fight for the freedoms of the baby boomers who had new ideas, as they grow up into adulthood have a burning need to be heard and respected. Even in the elite that seems to be a need to fight back against the lore of the establishment. Especially for Mick (Malcolm McDowell, Johnny (David Wood) and Wallace (Richard Warick) who take every opportunity to rebel against the house whips Rowetree (Robert Swann), Denson (Hugh Thomas), Fortinbas (Michael Cadman) and Barnes (Peter Sproule) who are the face of the past, only a few years older than the 6th formers, laying down the iron rod of the law, going to daft extremes with the power they possess. Discipline is very important for these four whips, without it they would be lost in the modern world that is changing before their eyes.
For me the most compelling element is the choice to jump between black and white and colour photography, which took sometime to really understand why the changes, until a church scene that was black and white in full apart for a final cut in glistening colour looking up at a stain-glass window. The contrast between real-life of the masses, which could be seen as lower or middle class in dull and photographically beatiful black and white, we see the essential images. Whist the colour scenes depicted another way of life in decline, holding onto all the trapping and exuberance.
As the film went on, the chapters unfolded, a war was bubbling under the surface between the 6th formers/Crusaders against the rest of the school and their ways. From all out apathy and rebellion to all out war to a way of life that threatened their very own. It becomes utter chaos in the final scenes when it all comes together for minutes of glorious warfare on the battlefield of the upper-class and private education rooted so deep in the past, it is scared of the present.
For McDowell’s début film he is very much setting the tone of his work for future films, the rebellious young man who fights back with his mouth like Micheal Caine and going further with incredible actions that light up the screen. A darkly comedic film that sees the past as something alien and to poke fun at, taking it to the extremes with incredible consequences. The public school system still rules, if we look at the houses of parliament, but no longer are they as well respected, more mocked and sneered at for the privileges that raise them above the masses who make do and hold the state school system in high regard. It creates a class system that is no longer really relevant, a divide that keeps the highest paid jobs from those who are most deprived, skills, knowledge and sheer hardwork sometimes fail in the face of connections and wealth. A fact of life that will long remain I regret. At least now we can laugh at those who look down on us at their weakness as we started to in If…
- If……….(1968) (filmposterart.wordpress.com)
- if…. (1968): “Violence and revolution are the only pure acts.” (filmgrimoire.wordpress.com)
- Malcolm McDowell (drncolleen.wordpress.com)
- Baby boomer generation fast facts (boomercafe.com)
Antonio Roberts, Ashley James Brown, Ben Waddington, Chris Plant, chromatouch, DACHHU VISUALS, Daniel Salisbury, Dan Tombs, David Checkley, Dom Breadmore, faisfx, George Benson, Mark Murph, Michael Lightborne, Natalie O’Keeffe, Pete Ashton, Roxie Collins, Sam Alexander Mattacott, Sebastian Lenton, Sellotape Cinema, Soraya Fatha, Tim Neath, Vlad C Costache, Walter Newton
I thought this was going to be a classic case of blackmail when one teacher Barbara Covett (Judi Dench) catches another teacher Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) having underage sex with a student. Something that should never happen. Under the circumstances they strike up an unlikely friendship that seems to blossom. There is also hope that the inappropriate relationship between the teacher and 15 year old boy Steven Connolly (Andrew Simpson) who is more than aware of what he has started with the art teacher.
On the surface the danger should be easily be averted, allowing a family woman to return to a normal life with her husband Richard Hart (Bill Nighy) and two children, one a teenager and another with down-syndrome, she has enough to keep her occupied at home. Adding to that picture a woman nearing retirement whose presence in Sheba and her families life increases, much to the families displeasure.
Barbara is a stern woman who lives a solitary life outside of work, the life of a spinster who keeps a colourful diary which she never fails to make an entry. We learn more about her past in the form of her old friend who left the school because of a nervous breakdown. Or so we are lead to believe, we only have her word for it all.
Whilst Sheba has to fight her urges to stop seeing the 15 year old, something most would never think to enter into in the first place. Made more horrifying as the abuser is woman, distorting the usual male perception of child abusers, especially in an institution of trust.
The tension is cranked up when finally a spanner is thrown into the work, it takes one small thing to make Barbara let slip this awful news. Everything is thrown wide open, the press invade the lives of the Harts and even Barbara who they believe knows more than she is letting on. Both Blancchett and Dench give strong performances as they deal with dark subject matter. Neither of them is better than the other, they both break the law, in varying degrees. The audience are placed into a corner as these two women fight each other, there can be no clear winner in this awful tale that has you hooked from the first time you see Dench the older teacher not really caring just getting on with it, whilst a younger bright-eyed teacher full of promise and potential throws it all away on the whim of a dangerous thought.
- Film Pop – Notes on a Scandal (onepopatatime.wordpress.com)
- Notes on Scandal (abcsofent.wordpress.com)
- Philomena – film review (standard.co.uk)
- Judi Dench urged to back inquiry into stolen baby’ scandal (theguardian.com)
- Top Ten: A Little Bit Dench (cinegram.wordpress.com)
- Judi Dench Career in Pictures (thepeoplesmovies.com)
- Judi Dench Career in Pictures (close-upfilm.com)
This is the first work that I have worked on where I have relied so much on another material for me to make is possible. I have the camera filter for the look of C.C.T.V. which I thought would be the hardest to achieve.
It’s the models that I have had to concede on, always priding myself on being able to make the models myself. When it comes to figures which I retired from the frontier town work as it was too literal for me. However when I am met with my own limitations, I need to see what the other will do, the mass-produced scale model, which will (probably) need to be painted black to fit in with the look. I should have enough to manipulate a few into different poses, learning new techniques along the way before the animation process begins.
Onto today’s events, the film noir set-up was in place again to take a few more shots to give me enough angles to shoot from when I begin the animation. Always considering the angle of the shot which will be high up and looking down at an angle onto the street.
Since taking those photos I have decided to add in pavement corners so the street flows more in places instead of coming to abrupt ends. So once again I am at the will of the postman as to when I get my models, then the real fun can begin as I look how to film the street. The idea of having small scenes is going to be easy to work with, able to shoot during the day and work on bringing it together in post-production later that day. Maybe not the same scene, I’ll be very busy. All depending on the studio being warm enough to work in too.
I also noticed as I was making the minor alterations to the models that I have a mini city back-lot, it has a different feel from the frontier town, the scale feels far bigger as I have worked at a smaller scale to produce buildings in the city. I should bring them both together, separates parts of a room filled with two varying scales of models, see what happens. Both very different in terms of style and size. They both have a presence. The town looks empty because it’s night-time, whereas the frontier town is just empty and abandoned even under the studio lights. A thought for now.