Friday, July 30, 2010

Inception & Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Let's Talk About Alternate Filmic Realities

Even though I think it's obvious, I am going to start off by stating there is no comparison going to be made between Christopher Nolan's Inception and Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in this post. What I want to talk about is each films use of alternate filmic reality's or more specifically making a reality unto itself. Furthermore I want to suggest that these alternate realities are why both these films are outstanding and and how they work successfully in the film.

As I said, what works so successfully in these films are that the worlds in which out protagonists inhabit is entirely alternate to the reality in which we know and live in outside of the theatre.

So let's talk about Inception first. Nolan Nolan Nolan, how I love thee Nolan. I can't help but love this film. Some people think it's exposition heavy, but with a film with such complex nature it become essential to audience enjoyment. Now we know we're in for something when a film dares to tackle the dream world, let alone allow our characters and our narrative inhabit this world for almost 90% of the film. So when we begin to watch the film we've already placed ourselves in a state of suspended belief and allow ourselves to accept more of what we're going to see. But what makes this special also, is that the world in which the characters inhabit outside of the dream, also lives within an alternate reality. The process of extraction in the film, is where our characters enter into the dream of a subject to gain information. This process is something that is known and accepted within the film world outside the dream and so we as an audience accept it straight away. And furthermore once we're in the dream we know anything is possible just by knowing this. Now there is something to be said about an audience knowing the film deals with dream before seeing it. Because as I said we know we're in for something and so our beliefs are suspended before we enter the theatre. Overall to have this alternate reality allows the audience's expectations to be suspended and to allow for a more enjoying experience.

SPOILERS BELOW: Stop reading if you don't want to have the film SPOILED for you.

Now when watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, there is a expectation that the film will fall into a reality that is similar to what we know and live in outside the theatre. However as the film begins we are introduced to the alternate reality. What is clever here is that the director knows that once this reality is introduced the audience's beliefs will be suspended and furthermore plays with this once it's set in place. When we first meet Scott, he and his friends are introduced with text boxes, explaining age, or key traits, and character anecdotes. But this is something we've seen before, so Wright goes further and begins to have sounds have text associated with them. So the ringing of the phone, the shutting of a door etc. have text associated with them, usually protruding from the sounds origin, like in comics.(like picture above)  To go even further he begins to associate actions with video game visuals. For example, a moment when Scott has to go to the bathroom a level bar appears in the top right hand corner saying pee and as he pees the level goes down. Now what's special here is, despite all this Wright plays with our audience. So once they've suspended their beliefs and accepted the format of the film's alternate reality the audience begins to be toyed with. A scene that stands out is Scott coming home, he's in a great mood and he's excited about a date he has. As the scene plays out and Scott tells his roommate about his day, an audience track can be heard, they laugh at his jokes, and clap at his triumph etc. However what happens is that Scott's roommate then turns off his wall radio and the audience track stops. Firstly we've melded the lines between diegetic and non-diegetic sound, and then furthermore what the audience thinks is just another feature of our alternate reality is really just a coincidental radio playing within the diegetic space of the scene. To play with diegesis like that so fluidly is quite something to see and I believe this shows just how strong a director Wright is.

Overall both films are great! Each film plays to each of their audiences expectations and deliver. They suspend their beliefs and allows their audiences to wade within an alternate reality where all is wonder and awe. Allowing for a great moviegoing experience. Hope you have a chance to see the films! If you're a film lover they're something to see even if you don't have much interest in the subject matter.

Happy moviegoing!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Adaptation of Will Eisner's Contract with God!?

Why oh why? Like damn I'm intrigued, but my intrigue is mostly from worry. In my brain all I can think is "How are they going to screw it up?" I do hope they are very careful with this text, because it is the grandfather of a medium, the graphic novel, that I hold dear to my heart. Please oh please do something stunning, something outstanding. No stars, no celebrity directors, be fresh and innovative. Don't forget Eisner during this because he should be able to teach you a lot about how this material should be handled.

Good luck and happy moviegoing!

TIFF Announces Program!

I wish I was going to the Toronto International Film Festival so badly. One of my favorite events in Toronto ever. The whole city is just cinema cinema cinema, it's glorious. Now with the opening of the official headquarters for TIFF, the Bell Lightbox, it's going to be a really exciting year. One of the things I am sorry to miss is the Essential Cinema program. They wont be showing all of the 100 films on the list but they will be a display and pieces of some of these films in the Bell Lightbox for moviegoers and tourists to enjoy. The list was decided by an expert panel of TIFF curators, it is as follows: 

1 THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
2 CITIZEN KANE (Orson Welles)
3 L'AVVENTURA (Michaelangelo Antonioni)
4 THE GODFATHER (Francis Ford Coppola)
5 PICKPOCKET (Robert Bresson)
6 SEVEN SAMURAI (Akira Kurosawa)
7 PATHER PANCHALI (Satyajit Ray)
8 CASABLANCA (Michael Curtiz)
10 BICYCLE THIEVES (Vittorio De Sica)
11 ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
12 8 ½ (Federico Fellini)
13 BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (Sergei Eisenstein)
14 RASHOMON (Akira Kurosawa – 2)
15 TOKYO STORY (Yasujiro Ozu)
16 THE 400 BLOWS (François Truffaut)
17 UGETSU (Kenji Mizoguchi)
18 BREATHLESS (Jean-Luc Godard)
19 L'ATALANTE (Jean Vigo)
20 CINEMA PARADISO (Giuseppe Tornatore)
23 PERSONA (Ingmar Bergman)
24 GONE WITH THE WIND (Victor Fleming)
25 SUNRISE (F.W. Murnau)
26 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (Stanley Kubrick)
27 VOYAGE IN ITALY (Roberto Rossellini)
28 AMÉLIE (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
29 CITY LIGHTS (Charlie Chaplin)
30 STAR WARS (George Lucas)
31 SHERLOCK JR. (Buster Keaton)
32 RULES OF THE GAME (Jean Renoir – 2)
33 THE LEOPARD (Luchino Visconti)
34 LA DOLCE VITA (Federico Fellini - 2)
35 L’ARRIVÉE D’UN TRAIN À LA CIOTAT (Frères LumiereLouis Lumière and Auguste Lumière)
36 THE WIZARD OF OZ (Victor Fleming – 2)
37 LA JETÉE (Chris Marker)
38 VERTIGO (Alfred Hitchcock)
39 NIGHT AND FOG (Alain Resnais)
40 PULP FICTION (Quentin Tarantino)
41 THE SEARCHERS (John Ford)
43 THE CONFORMIST (Bernardo Bertolucci)
44 CITY OF GOD (Fernando Meirelles)
45 TAXI DRIVER (Martin Scorsese)
46 APOCALYPSE NOW (Francis Ford Coppola – 2)
47 SALÓ, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
48 THE SEVENTH SEAL (Ingmar Bergman - 2)
49 LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE (Georges Méliès)
50 METROPOLIS (Fritz Lang)
51 THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (Gillo Pontecorvo)
52 IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (Wong Kar Wai)
53 VIRIDIANA (Luis Buñuel)
54 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (Roberto Benigni)
55 THE SORROW AND THE PITY (Marcel Ophüls)
56 PAN'S LABYRINTH (Guillermo del Toro)
58 BLADE RUNNER (Ridley Scott)
59 THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES (Abbas Kiarostami)
61 BRINGING UP BABY (Howard Hawks)
62 SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (Stanley Donen)
63 JOHNNY GUITAR (Nicholas Ray)
64 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (Stanley Kubrick – 2)
66 M (Fritz Lang – 2)
67 SCORPIO RISING (Kenneth Anger)
68 PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock – 2)
69 DUST IN THE WIND (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
70 SCHINDLER’S LIST (Steven Spielberg)
71 NASHVILLE (Robert Altman)
73 WAVELENGTH (Michael Snow)
74 JULES ET JIM (François Truffaut – 2)
75 CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ (Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch)
76 THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
77 GREED (Erich von Stroheim)
78 SOME LIKE IT HOT (Billy Wilder)
79 JAWS (Steven Spielberg - 2)
80 ANNIE HALL (Woody Allen)
81 THE BIRTH OF A NATION (D.W. Griffith)
82 CHUNGKING EXPRESS (Wong Kar Wai - 2)
83 LA NOIRE DE… (Ousmane Sembene)
84 RAGING BULL (Martin Scorsese - 2)
86 CHINATOWN (Roman Polanski)
87 ANDREI RUBLEV (Andrei Tarkovsky)
88 WINGS OF DESIRE (Wim Wenders)
89 VIDEODROME (David Cronenberg)
90 WRITTEN ON THE WIND (Douglas Sirk)
91 THE THIRD MAN (Carol Reed)
92 BLUE VELVET (David Lynch)
94 BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars von Trier)
95 A NOS AMOURS (Maurice Pialat)
96 CLEO DE 5 A 7 (Agnès Varda)
97 ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Pedro Almodóvar)
98 EARTH (Aleksandr Dovzhenko)
99 OLDBOY (Park Chan-wook)
100 PLAYTIME (Jacques Tati)

Magic no? WOW! I hope to possibly by some stroke of divine intervention, get sent over to TIFF this year. At least I shall enjoy the festival through my friends and movie lovers over back home in Toronto this year.

If you're in Toronto this year, between September 9th-19th, go make some time to see this exhibit or see a movie at least. TIFF has a great midnight movie program and obviously a really exciting group of films this year. Check out more information over at the website

Happy moviegoing! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Disney's Press Release for Haunted Mansion. Guillermo Del Toro to direct!

Guillermo Del Toro was at Comic-Con and spoke to the fortunate people who could attend about his newly spawned adaptation of Haunted Mansion. He says:

"It is going to be in 3D. And we’re making the Haunted Mansion the most haunted place on Earth. And we are doing it by being true to the spirit and the art and the aesthetic of the original Imagineers that created the mansion.

We are not returning Eddie Murphy’s calls."

That's what I love to hear. Can't wait! After I heard this though, I went to look at Del Toro's IMDB, he has SO much in the works. The ones that stand out are Pinocchio, Frankenstein, & The Witches. The Witches!? AHHHHHH stoked! Firstly I just want to see. I just want to see what he will concoct for this. Real excited. I hope he gets Angelica Houston to come back. Frankenstein, I'm not too excited, since there have been SO many adaptations, but I'm intrigued nonetheless. Pinocchio I think will be exciting too since it will finally be the scary story it was originally written as. Should be interesting. Very exciting stuff. This man is a marvel. 

Happy Moviegoing!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Inception: Update

This is proving to be really difficult. I'm trying my hardest not to read any reviews. I need to watch this movie ASAP. Damn six day week schedules. Though can't wait to see it on Sunday!

Happy moviegoing!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wicked Film Adaptation?

Ah Hollywood, how you fascinate me. This is the newest lineup for possible directors for the film adaptation of the widely popular stage musical, Wicked. Check it out: J.J. Abrams, James Mangold, Ryan Murphy and Rob Marshall. Ya I know. This is a little sad. This was already an adaptation of a book and luckily the musical went on to garner numerous awards and accolades. But do they really think that can happen again? All I can say is please no Rob Marshall. After he reduced Nine to a racist copy of Italians and a copy of 8 1/2 by Fellini, all I can say is NO ROB MARSHALL.

Fun, Fun Times alla Disney

Beginning August 2, ArcLight Cinemas will present the Disney classics selected by D23, Disney's official fan club, every Monday at ArcLight Hollywood, Tuesday at ArcLight Sherman Oaks, and Wednesday at ArcLight Pasadena.

Ya, I just wrote that. Cool huh!? Gotta love it. 

Check out this schedule:

The focus is on Disney science-fiction and fantasy films at ArcLight Hollywood, with the following schedule:
•Monday, Aug. 2: Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
•Monday, Aug. 9: The Rocketeer (1991)
•Monday, Aug. 16: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)
•Monday, Aug. 23: The Black Hole (1979)
•Monday, Aug. 30: Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)

Disney animated classics are in the spotlight at ArcLight Sherman Oaks all throughout August:
•Tuesday, Aug. 3: Cinderella (1950)
•Tuesday, Aug. 10: Pinocchio (1940)
•Tuesday, Aug. 17: Alice in Wonderland (1951)
•Tuesday, Aug. 24: The Jungle Book (1967)
•Tuesday, Aug. 31: Peter Pan (1953)

ArcLight Cinemas in Pasadena will be home to tune-filled Disney musicals every Wednesday in August:
•Wednesday, Aug. 4: Newsies (1992)
•Wednesday, Aug. 11: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
•Wednesday, Aug. 18: Pete’s Dragon (1977)
•Wednesday, Aug. 25: Mary Poppins (1964)

Amazing Inception Comic on Yahoo! Movies

The story line leads right up to the beginning of the where the movie starts. Really cool shit! Check it out here!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Last Airbender

Despite its really slow start I kinda liked it and I am excited to see it counterparts. Mind you I went with fans of the T.V. show.

Some things:
A. This movie really made me want to see the original T.V. show. Super cool story line. Mind you I've always had an affinity for far away lands and people with powers.

B. Really made me want to take on Tai Chi. Really cool stuff. Look into it!

One more note: When this was getting ready to open on July 2nd the theatre in front of my school had protesters marching out front. People were complaining about casting still. Saying it was racist that certain characters were casted differently from their "likeness" to the animated characters. What people don't seem to realize is this was an American animated T.V. series so all this garb about it being racist in casting is garbage in my books. Animation and film, if it's about one thing, it's about imagination, wonder, awe and reaching people despite their color or creed. People need to find something better to do with their time. Everyone did well and overall I liked it. Could have seen it on DVD and would have been fine too, but I did enjoy it.

Favorite things:
This creature was magical, it's supposed to be a flying bison named Appa. It flies and has six legs. All I know is I want one.

I also liked Uncle Iroh, he was throughly into his character.  Nothing like the animated character. But very fun.  Love the dreads.

Be good folks and keep that vision out of the tunnels.

Happy moviegoing!