Tag Archives: Commentary

Heroes. Villains. Humans.

Performance drives cinema, that much has always been clear. Since the silent era days of Charlie Chaplain, Douglas Fairbanks, and Greta Garbo, our responses to the subject matter present within any given film have varied depending on the skill of the actor within. Throughout film history characters have fallen into three categories: that of the Hero, that of the Villain, and (increasingly so in this modern era) that of the Human.

No one  grouping is superior to another; as that is a case-by-case subject dependent on the actor in the role, bringing to mind the saying, “(He/She) stole the show!” Yet if performance drives cinema, (as it is entertainment, though some films are more “artistic” than others) then only by a cohesive working of the writing, cinematography, and all other facets of filmmaking do you witness something noteworthy.

Heroes, unmovable and incorruptible, face adversity with an inner strength many of us wish we had.

Villains, the true kind of which there is no mistaking, are as thrilling as they are unnerving to watch.

And Humans, flawed in ways which we often can relate all too well to, engage us in the most thoughtful of ways: offering us the chance to imagine ourselves in their shoes, making the same decisions, and facing the same outcomes.

We are separated only by circumstance, for we created them. Be they echoes or interpretations, aspects of their personas exist within the writer, the actor, the audience. It’s the believability of a character that is the most powerful, driven by performance and absorbed by the insatiable eyes of the masses, be they a Hero, Villain, or Human.

Is there a performance, Human, Villain, Hero, or otherwise which has captivated you so intensely?


Back to Basics: Film & The Oscars 2010

“I saw the angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free.”~Michelangelo

“Well…I guess we all need to see The King’s Speech now!” ~David J. Rodriguez

The year 2010 was truly a great year in film. For the first time, I found myself driving many miles to the only theatre in Portland playing Black Swan, this was before it was nominated and hit every theatre across America.

Many phenomenal films weren’t nominated: Book of Eli, Shutter Island, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Let Me In, Easy A, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Kick-Ass, and perhaps only in my opinion: Machete. What can I say, I’m a fan of “Grindhouse” style.

For those who found themselves nominated, it was a fierce battle of the most respectful kind. There was no clear winner. No utter dominance of the categories. And what I found refreshing was that they all were brilliant films. They deserved to be there. And I think were recognized as all having accomplished one thing: Capturing the joy of filmmaking.

And what is the joy of filmmaking? The answer is simple: Storytelling.

We watch movies to be entertained, but there are those movies that are so well written, acted, captured, edited, and scored that they succeed in striking that special chord inside of us, the audience. We find ourselves moved, inspired, intimidated even. That is when the film has proven its worth.

The Oscar’s of 2010 managed to capture that old glamour of Hollywood, something that many of us thought dead. The set for the stage was such an interactive part of the show, with changing scenes, projections, and obvious foresight. Never once did it feel unused or un-needed. It was an integral part in a show that, while being a full scale production, didn’t get ahead of itself. It was contemporary, and yet classy. They took the best of what was and the best of what is and put them together.

It felt surreal somehow. True, we had the fresh faces of James Franco and Anne Hathaway to lead us through this event, but the way that each categories nominees were presented felt as if 1929 and 2010 were merging. The films were allowed to speak for themselves. No hustle and bustle about who was more popular, had the most screen time naked, or got paid the most. The presentation they were given focused on that beautiful, gritty, hard won emotion that made up each film, framed by a grainy black and white movie countdown of “3…2…1” that lead us from one world to the next.