Strings

Jan. 17th, 2013 10:53 pm
ravenswept: (Default)
Sooo... apparently this is a thing.




I'm really unsure as to what the purpose of this was... but it looks kinda awesome. A total experiment in terms of film making; scope of story, effects, execution; it's like someone watched Team America and said to themselves, "You know, that's not a bad idea. Let's do that, only not as a joke."

This is really a film that you have to just say "...okay" to in order to get through, because the whole "strings to heaven" thing is just kinda odd when you get down to it. I'm curious as to how exactly they function with ceilings or, as the trailer shows, tangling, but it's an added something that makes you want to see it.

If you have the time, it's broken up on Youtube.
ravenswept: (Default)
Megamind
DreamWorks Animation
Director: Tom McGrath
Starring: Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, David Cross, Jonah Hill, and Brad Pitt
Writers: Alan J. Schoolcraft, Brent Simons


Synopsis
Super-criminal Megamind (Ferrell), along with his minion Minion (Cross), has finally defeated and (seemingly) killed his lifelong rival, the super awesome hero Metro Man (Pitt), and takes over the city he's so long tried to conquer. However, he finds that with victory comes boredom, as without a hero to stand against him, he really doesn't have much going for him. After an in disguise late-night chat with Roxanne Richie (Fey), television news reporter and frequent kidnapping victim of Megamind, he comes to a solution; create his own hero to fight like the good old days. And he does so, tapping Roxanne's doofus/kinda creepy camera man Hal Stewart (Hill) to be his opposite. Too bad Hal isn't interested in sticking to the script and goes power mad with his new abilities, especially when Roxanne rejects him even with his new totally rad powers. Instead of the Metro City's newest hero, Megamind created an even more powerful villain. Now being bested by his own creation, a fledgling romance with Roxanne squashed due to image inducers and lies, and the city close to ruins, Megamind has to decide if being sticking to being the bad guy is worth it or if maybe he can be more (hint, he totally can and does).

What's Good

Presentation!
...and some other stuff as well )
ravenswept: (Default)
Alrighty then, let's do this.

Characters are who we make them. On the written page, a person is as energetic, as evil, and engaging as we make them to be. If we don't do our jobs right, the character can be seen in a different way, one that's the opposite of what his or her role is supposed to be *coughEragonsociopathcough*.

In which I ramble for a while to ultimately call Julia Roberts a psycho )

Simple is often more complicated in terms of character design than trying to shovel more and more details on to them to create "depth". It's not depth, it's a pile of crap you have to wade through to find whoever it is at the bottom.
ravenswept: (Default)
I just got back from a Flicks on the Bricks showing of The Muppets Take Manhattan, probably the best of the original Muppet trilogy. It's a heart warmer to see some 500+ people gather on uncomfortable brick and cement seating to watch a slightly blurry movie on an inflatible projection screen at eight thirty in the evening in a public square with traffic coming from all sides. Because you know the Muppets are worth it.

The Muppets are an icon of what the imagination can do. Simple puppetry, good characterization, and the want to believe took these childhood stars and made them real. And they still do; you know that people have genuine feelings for these felt hand-socks when they cheer and clap at their wedding, or you hear a few sniffs and have to hold back a tear or two yourself when they all start singing "Saying Goodbye".

If you can find any old clips of Kermit and Jim Henson, watch the people talking to them. They address Kermit as if he were real; and he is, he is not Henson, nor is Henson speaking for him. They just don't talk at the same time. That's just rude. I remember a story Henson told, I believe it was in Jim Henson: The Works, where he and Kermit came out to a small group of children. The kids were a little out of control, and very loud, and finally Kermit had enough. He got angry, and told everyone to pip down. And they did. They had made Kermit mad, and that wasn't something they wanted. They became calm and a little worried, because Kermit the Frog is not someone you try to make mad. He won't do or say anything, but he will be disappointed, and that's just as bad as disappointing your parents. Only worse, for some reason. They truly believed in him; not that he was a puppet, not that he was being held by this man with a beard, they saw him.

As much as I love special effects and what technology can do today, some of my favorite films are still the ones that didn't have use of these techniques, or only used them when things were truly beyond what they could physically do. They needed practical elements. Can you imagine if they tried to do the Muppets in CGI nowaday? It'd tank, no one wants to see false imagry of these beloved icons. They are real, both figuratively and literally. When you look at a Muppet, you see them, you can touch them, you acknowledge them as their own person.

I was eight again, if only for an hour and half. I'm not anymore. But I still believe.
ravenswept: (Default)
Bonus points for those who know what I'm referencing.

The title has little to do with anything, except that in late August Portland does this thing called "Flicks on the Bricks", where they show older movies on a large inflatible screen in the middle of the downtown metro square, appropriately made of brick. Last time I was here, I got to catch The Goonies. In Portland. They love them some Goonies.

Still, while there are about five others, a new one each weekend, I'm more excited about when they show The Muppets Take Manhattan. Sweet. Of the three classics, Manhattan is my favorite, my grandmother used to have me and my sister watch it every time we visited. And it still stands up to the newer ones.

Anyone want to come visit and watch it with me?

In other news... I dunno, I got nothing. You?
ravenswept: (Default)
While not old, persay, I did this a while back and feel I should extend it's life beyond the history section of my Hotmail account. This is the evening after first watching the movie, so previews are included.

Dear god, the brillance that is Burton has again struck. I swear, Tim
Burton must use his telekinetic abilities to force these hunks of plastic
and metal to move to his whim. Corpse Bride...GENIUS!

...but first, PREVIEWS!!

'arry P'rter: Very cool looking. We again have a different director, no
longer the mexican dude, so a sublte shift in shooting is bound to occur.
This sharp point is softened by the fact that he has dragons in his movie.
Moving on.
Denied existence in the third movie, despite arrival in the third book,
Cho Chang is given face time. No disappointments.
Proving that 80's nosteglia trends are not limited to the real time
world, Harry believes the shagg'n look is coming back, and Ron is a convert
to the Cult of the Hair of the Beatles.
Dragons. Moving on.
Fast moving screen shots not-with-standing, the French girlie (whose
name I'm too lazy to look up) does not appear to live up the standards of
beauty that fiction writing made her out to be. Maybe I'm picky in a weird
way. Dunno. I had problems in LOTR when Galadriel was referred to as a
magnefiencent beauty; woman looked like a soccer mom after Botox.
Dragons. I think I've made my point.

Zathrua: Sadly, after the success of Jumanji, this is going to be looked at
as just a sad rip off of said movie. But with bigger effects and wide usage
of a blue screen for space shots. Retro robots are also involved. 'nuff
said.

Nanny Zimber-flyfin: Okay, I don't remember this title too much. Appearing
to take from cinematic styling of movies such as Ella Enchanted or Lemony
Snicket, this is being sold as a modern fairytale. Not modern techno-tale,
but just a new story that hopefully fits amongest classics like Snow White
or Sleeping Beauty. In a book, which I can't prove this is based on, this
story might work better. What it oozes in originality and wonder may be
overshadowed by glaring, gawky colors and set pieces.
In a nut shell, a single father has five children, ranging from
pre-publsient to sickenly cute to unable to talk, but still kill-me-cute.
They take pride in their ability to rid themselves of home care workers of
female gender (I believe the count was seventeen in some three months).
Enter the Mary Poppins-like nanny, whose entire self is boiled down to the
nanny from ABC's Super Nanny and the 'Before' pictures from The Swan. Also
some filler crap about an evil grandmother (godmother, aunt, whatever), ugly
relitives that turn into donkeys, and family togethernessness.

There might've been more, but damned if I can remember them. Goodness that
is Burton follows.

This movie rocks. Rocks solid.

Everything that was the shining light of Nightmare Before Christmas was
directed and focused through the Crystal of Nezermoth and sprayed across the
golden Sea of Duni. I shit you not.

Okay, truly, I geeked. I geeked my pants.

Taking from his past work in NBC, and the teams from both it and JatGP,
Burton has created more emotion in his new puppets then most can get out of
Tom Cruise. This is due in no small part to design leaps in facial and
articulation technology. A team of jewelers were brought in to help on the
small, introqet workings of the face; unlike Jack and Sally, who had
replacement heads and masks (respectuvely) all the main characters now
instead have bendible features that are adjusted with tiny rachet notches
behind the head. Expressions are strangly more believible then before.
Articulation, also, is much improved. They have two scenes in which a
character plays a piano. Believibly. In time and I believe the piano
models are to scale. Damn.

Visual style is pure Burton; much of what sells his movies is this style,
but it is still a point one much acknowledge. Juxaposed in worlds, the
world is so stark you'd think a black and white camera was used to film the
first third of the movie. The dead, on the other hand, are quite lively (no
pun intended) and their color scheme matches. Flesh turns a 'dead blue' and
clothing is given it's proper due. And the characters are given profiles
that make them easy to define. The living bride's mother is the best
example.

The story is a treat. Without a book to refrence from or this being a
rework of some previously made movie, this is a much needed addition to
summer reduxes. Without spoiling anything, young Victor is betrothed to
Victoria (nice names) in an arranged wedding. Victor comes from new money,
his parents fish mongers. Victoria is old money, her parents handing her
off as a way to get a dowry of muula. Despite hopes, the anorixic couple
take a liking to each other. This is their first meeting, and it happens to
be at the rehersel, the day before the wedding. The pastor is voiced by
Christofer Lee, whose voice is more commanding then in the LOTR movies.

When nerves othertake the lead, he runs into the woods (represented in
Burton's 'upright trunks and horizontal branches' way) where in a fit of
self-bashing, goes over his lines. It takes some time. He gets them right,
after a time, and turn manages to propose (and also wed) a woman who was
killed in the woods in her bridal dress. This back story is brought to you
later in a full Danny Elfman score.

What follows (I said no spoilers) is twists and turns that are simple enough
for the movie this is supposed to be, yet challenging to predict at times.
And the ending you will not predict. Probably not, anyway, but don't expect
the obivous.

Elfman again plays with his pens and papers, creating a musical score that
defines him as Danny Elfman. Seriously, you could run the soundtracks of
Nightmare and Bride back to back and assume it's one movie. He does get a
bit more jazzy and energetic in Bride, throwing in some piano work that fits
well into the scope of both the movie and the surrounding orchestra.

Truthfully, and maybe to my eyes, the only real drawback seems to define
itself as the character Emily, the bride of corpse mention. The story moves
both slow and fast around her, making the 70 minutes drag in length, while
the story flies by with her exposision. One sceen, with her dancing in
moonlight, while beautiful in all terms, is strangely derailing and story
stopping in words that I can't place.

In conclusion; Burton = Genius. Thank you


Looking back, I wasn't the most neutral of reviewers; there does hint of some small bias here and there, but I was excited for the movie. Also, I was proud of myself for verbing the word 'geek'. I've used it much sense then.

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