Monday, December 12, 2011
I just had the weirdest film experience - dare I say - ever. This movie The Skin I Live In which starts off about a doctor blindly pursuing his desire to create the perfect skin. The movie screams Kubrick, with the story and directing. The movie starts off morbid with the doctor locking away his victim. He watches her every move in his room with a camera in hers. It appears more as a captor and captive scenario rather than a doctor and his patient.
When I tell you when the second act comes along they creators of this story takes the gloves OFF! I don't want to spoil it for anybody who wishes to see the movie, but I tell you be prepared for two layers of conflict with every scene that proceeds the second act. Wow, it's been a long time since I had an original experience such as this in a film. I would say though, this is for film enthusiasts only.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I finally had the opportunity to give "Warrior" a watch. Admittedly when I first started watching it I was a little unimpressed. It started off being reminiscent of "Rocky" not so much a blatant rip off, but with it being an underdog story. The movie set itself apart from "Rocky" by there being two brothers fighting for different reasons.
I enjoyed the families make-up in the movie in the sense that it was very real and very relatable to me. The movie began to pick up when Tom Hardy's character expressed an extreme distaste for his father due to things he had done in the past. Hardy's character Tommy is returns to his father's side only for the reason of training him for a MMA tournament. Joel Edgerton's character adds contrast to the story as he's the underdog in the story. Edgerton unlike his father is a loving one. He loves his wife and cares deeply for his two daughters.
The story picked up unexpectedly when Edgerton began winning fights against those who had more fighting experience than he did. I found myself feeling for both the characters as they fought their way to the top. It became clear to me that the slowness of the opening of the movie was setting up all the emotional background for the audience to feel what the two brothers are fighting for.
Honestly I think the reason for my lack of enthusiasm toward the opening of the film is due to the poor marketing of the film, with the trailers showing the whole film in a 3-4 minute snippet. So as I watched the opening of the film I was thinking to myself well I already know where this is going to end up so it needs to hurry up. But as the movie continued on I was able to be wrapped in the magic of the film. It's definitely one to see - check it out.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I was recommended to check out "The Blind Side" a movie about a homeless black kid who winds up being adopted by a rich white family, who later becomes a pro football player.
Initially I enjoyed the movie. It was refreshing to someone in a bad situation get the help he needed. It made me think about people who are homeless or are in a rough situation, what would happen to them if somebody cared or gave them a chance.
As a movie though it kind of felt like a fairy tale. Like this kid is magically picked up by his fairy god parents and all his troubles go away. I felt like the conflict was thin, not really having any real impact on anything. The movie is heartwarming, but unsatisfying in terms of delivery.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Somebody asked me recently what I my process is when crafting a story. To say it just comes to me would sound arrogant, but essentially that's really how it is. It's just that when it just comes to me it's during an event that sparks inspiration.
When I wrote my first screenplay it was during a darker time in my life. I had a lot of anger and the nature of Job in the story was a representation of it. At the time my parents still had a lot of control of my life and they forced me to go to church. As a result Christianity was something I was very familiar with and creating a story within that realm was the easiest. My first draft was raw, filled with the anger aforementioned and the social commentary I was forced to deal with during that time. Job was exacting revenge on all the things I hated. Eventually as I became a better storyteller I had to revise it due to the fact that much of what I had was useless in terms of telling a story. The version I have now which I also turned into a novel is cleaner as a story, but still holds the anger that I originally had.
Sometimes I would get inspired by a movie, I really like vampires and at a time zombies. It would be like," I like vampires, I want to write about something about them." This brought about the "Love and Hate" story that I did. Personally I like stories that give you a slice a life, something that you can take with you after viewing or reading. At the time I was really fascinated with how fickle out emotions can be, thus bringing about the story of Tina's infatuation with the vampire Demitri up until he turns her and infatuation turns into loathing.
One time I got an image while listening to a song by Evanescene called "Call Me When Your Sober". It wasn't so much the words, but the tone of the music that brought upon this idea about a girl that could control water. I love the concept of mutants and I wanted to do a more realistic story about them. The sound of the music gave me this idea of being rejected, about feeling lost. As I listened to the song I could see a dreary rainy day. Inside a house where all the water was moving unnaturally frantic. It was like a pan starting from the front door, through the empty living room, then into an empty kitchen; there I would see a water dispenser with the water within acting as if it was boiling inside. I then saw, still in that same pan, the water faucet in the sink spewing out water ferociously. Then I would see a little girl sitting in the corner with her face buried in her knees. That was the initial image that brought upon a story idea for the girl who could control water.
I think storytelling is a natural process. I know Tarantino takes awhile to write his stories and I can understand why. When I have an idea in my head I sit on it. Letting whatever I encounter in my life at that time shape my story. I mean I think it's a skill that comes from training. You have to study film and the art of storytelling. Once you have the knowledge all you have to do is let it flow naturally. It's like how Bruce Lee said with his talent," Don't think... feel." When you do that your story flows naturally.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I just finished watching "The Tree of Life" and I have to say that I am pretty overwhelmed to what I had just watched. The film is one of those abstract pieces that require a number of return viewings. So far from what I have seen the movie appears to be a look into this family who had lost a child. It also then widens the scale of life stretching into the universe and how all things live and grow. Due to the shots in space and in the ocean, the film really reminded me of Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey". That movie was the last time I felt like such a small movie goer in the presence of something far beyond me. The craft in which this film was created is daunting when seeing all of these seemingly random shots of nature and life knowing that they all make up to some kind of message that I cannot yet understand.
What I was able to grasp from the film were the parts that focused on the family of three boys. I watched as Brad Pitt played a father who loved his boys but also wanted to make them strong. It conjured up numerous memories about my life being raised by my father. It made me critique him seeing all the places where he feel short. It brought about fear in me because although I felt like my father didn't love me, I saw that this character did and he still had a level of tyranny over his children. The images forced me to realize a truth that I've come across a number of times when thinking on the topic: that in order to raise your children so that they can thrive and be successful in the world, you have to take away their innocence. When we are all children we are happy because the world seems like such a wondrous place full of things we cannot wait to explore. It is the parents job to keep us safe because due to our insatiable curiosity we may wander into something that can hurt us, and as a result they have to limit our movements. Most kids who are in a loving envoirnment are kind and giving, but there are people in this world who prey on such kindness. A parent then has to tell their child not to talk to strangers and not to believe everything everybody says. As a result we grow older being more and more cautious more and more careful not to risk our well being. We lose a lot of our joy. This is one of the reasons why I myself never want to have children because I don't want the responsibility of taking away another's joy.
I remember saying that movies like these I've been trying to stay away from due to the depressing nature of the content, but for some reason this one was different. It brought about all those thoughts aforementioned and yet I don't feel a heavy weight of guilt after watching it. I think it's due to the celebration of life that was prevalent throughout the film. I suppose one of the messages in the film was that although life is hard there still is beauty. If you're one of those people who enjoy a good engaging film check it out, let me know what you think.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Lately I've been feeling a growing distance between me and the independent film world. The stories seem so farfetched and poorly crafted that I'm beginning to feel like the realm are for only those who fail to understand certain realities of filmmaking. This all came from my recent viewing of "Griff The Invisible", a story about a 28 year old man who dresses up as a super hero and fights imaginary criminals. Instead of him coming to grips and growing, he ultimately decides to embrace his child like fantasies.
Now I'm a firm believer in following in what you believe in and not being afraid to dream. I often fantasize about other worlds and other realities, but I know they aren't real. The movie gave me the implication that they are giving the okay for the more extreme believers in the unreal that they too have a place where they can feel comfortable. Which brings up another thought that I've been dwelling on as of late: the idea that we as a society grow more and more fragile and unintelligent.
Essentially this is a movie about a man who is mentally impaired. Instead of sending him to a mental facility or there being a resolution of him overcoming his delusions, he lives happily in his childish fantasy land with his girlfriend who also believes in her own form of fallacy. Long are we from the time of "Fight Club" where the movie showed the bitter reality of what could happen to an individual suffering from such an affliction. It was a film that offered social commentary that can still be beneficial to individuals today. You could see the care in the crafting of the story with the numerous layers present within it. Now we have to suffer through a film with a flat character who only wants to play in the night wearing his homemade costume - it's disgusting!