Tag: Films

Simulation, Revelation

 

The surest way to appreciate a work is to try to recreate it.

Toddlers help us to appreciate the difficulty of drawing or painting by their laughable scribbling. One might first pity the child’s lack of eye-hand coordination, lack of patience, or lack of barest attention to detail (“Is it an airplane? Oh, a cat! Of course, it is. It looks great!”). But few adults can sketch anything worthy of pride either. The more we advance in skill, the more we recognize the full challenge. 

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There is not a clear line between them.  Novels are often considered more intellectually challenging than movies. But many readers prefer what I call “junk fiction” which, though respectable, offers thrills and little else. It’s mind candy to be enjoyed and quickly forgotten. Films can similarly offer shallow but pleasing content, of course.  Preview Open

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‘A Gift to Humanity’

 

If we are to be unified, then we must be able and willing to share life. Bill Whittle and company offer a timely reminder of the tremendous good that social media can achieve when people are free to associate across boundaries and to enjoy life together as fellows.

A Sense of Wonder

 

Whether you are Christian or not, Christmas is a good time for renewal of innocence and wonder. The common sights of people excitedly opening gifts, decorating homes and public streets in lights, retelling stories of miracles and merriment — such experiences can rekindle in us a joyful pursuit of the good and the beautiful.

Doing Sound for Films

 

For movies and television, the image is king and always will be. After all, they call them movies, not soundies. But since 1928 or thereabouts, most films have been made with live sound. Audiences usually want some degree of real-life to mingle with cinematic fantasy. Doing the show right from a technical standpoint is a key element in maintaining a viewer’s willing suspension of disbelief. Whatever you think of Hollywood, the polish and expertise of our technical crafts have led the world’s screens for more than a century, a good part of the gloss of an American success story.

Doing sound for the movies is a little different than doing camera. On a movie set, the camera is treated like a sacramental altar, with attendants performing guild rituals, a technical priesthood, and its own nearly incomprehensible jargon. Superficially, on the other hand, sound looks like an afterthought that seems easy to do — just stick a mike in someone’s face, wear earphones, and run a tape recorder. Simple, right? But it’s surprisingly hard to do it well, especially on the cramped confines of a noisy film set.

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I knew a few things when forming this list, it would be very biased against both Asian and animated Cinema and I could not include anything by Terrence “I can’t write” Malick or “Pretentious” Thomas Anderson (I really hate those guys and I’m not wasting any more time or money on either). I really need […]

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Will Steven Spielberg’s new novel-based movie Ready Player One push the gaming concept of an “easter egg” into mainstream culture? Like the American tradition of egg hunts on Easter morning, a virtual easter egg is an allusion to something external hidden with a game world. For example, one game might subtly reference another in admiration by […]

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What is it? Why do many people like to be scared? Why do many people like gruesome tales or stories that revel in darkness and/or filth? These days, serial killer stories are a dime a dozen. Then there are monster stories, ghost stories, psychological thrillers, and gothic tales, among other subgenres. Some horror stories are […]

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Accidentally Conservative

 

Serenity was written by a flaming hippie. Yet the ultimate conflict is pitch perfect for tyrannical governments trying to remake human nature. Sure, the film is blemished by a preacher who doesn’t care about God, but there’s a nugget of good sense even in that scene.

“You don’t know what it’s like to work in the private sector. They expect results.” This was from a star of Saturday Night Live, for crying out loud! If you don’t recognize the quote, I will forgive you … eventually.

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I was once impractical enough to waste a college credit on a course devoted entirely to the Arthurian legend. Even if the stories were good, the course would have been wasteful. But the stories were not good, to my surprise. It was like reading a soap opera over and over again.  The 1981 film Excalibur […]

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The theater in downtown Saratoga Springs frequently shows old movies. Next week it’s Ferris Bueller. In early June the theater is showing Airplane! and Casablanca, both of which I would love to see on the big screen. I suspect Airplane!  would be lots of fun with a big audience. It’s great hearing different sorts of […]

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I am proud to be a part of Taliesin Nexus and I encourage all emerging filmmakers, storytellers, novelists, and nonfiction writers to learn more about and apply, for free, to the following programs at http://talnexus.com All of the programs are free of charge to participate in. You just have to display some chops as a […]

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When it comes to movies, there are those which are mere entertainment, and those that linger. The movies included on this list are the ones that ‘Linger’ with me the most. For the sake of formalities, short term guilt trip movies like ‘Welcome to Sarajevo’ (1997 d: Michael Winterbottom) or ‘Requiem for a Dream’ (2000 d: Darren Aronofsky) were excluded.   Preview […]

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Words of Wisdom from the Movies

 

“As a lawyer, I’ve had to learn that people aren’t just good or bad. People are many things.”

jimmy stewartThis line is spoken by Paul Beigler, a fictional small-town lawyer brilliantly played by Jimmy Stewart in the courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder. I don’t want to have to summarize the whole movie (if you haven’t seen it, though, please make sure to do so; it’s a great flick and also features George C. Scott in what I believe was his film debut), so I’m going to oversimplify the context of the scene.

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This article by Gita Jackson is the most interesting editorial concerning video game design that I have read in a long time.  [….] Firstly, 60 frames per second is the acceptable industry standard for games, regardless of whether or not this is achievable on a consistent basis for most PCs and consoles. Secondly, and more important […]

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Benghazi, The Expendables, and Conservative Action Heroes

 

4840005067_80f5902a00_zThe Expendables movies are good, silly, manly fun. The many references to classic action movies are rewarding. The older actors poke fun at themselves and harass each other, as men are wont to do. And there’s a lot of cool guns, hard hits, and big explosions. It’s G.I. Joe for adults.

I caught the third movie last night, and was surprised by a clear reference to the Benghazi scandal. Contrary to claims on Breitbart and Fox News, the character Galgo (Antonio Banderas) does not mention terrorists or diplomats. His experience is only a reflection of the real attack and not the murder specifically. Nevertheless, it is an obvious allusion to reality.

“It all went bad,” Galgo says. “We waited for support. No one ever came. Everybody died,” Galgo tells Barney.

Snowden Documentary Wins Over Festival Crowd; Will Anyone Else Care?

 

The New York Film Festival featured several likely Oscar nominees in this year’s lineup. But perhaps the film with the most buzz is a documentary produced by Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh:

Nothing at NYFF felt quite as consequential (to use the vocabulary word of the moment) as “Citizenfour,” the documentary about Edward Snowden that Laura Poitras made over the last two years, essentially in secret and under severe duress.