Tag Archives: Film

Spooky Short: ‘Deathigner”

Today may be Halloween, but not all ghouls want to be scary. This wouldn’t be such an issue…unless of course you’re the son of the Grim Reaper.

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We stumbled across this hilarious and heartwarming animated short which comes straight from the National Taiwan University of Arts. It’s a wonderfully spooky and well produced piece, and we know you’ll especially love it on a day like today.

Have a safe, spooky, and happy Halloween!

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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?


Mini-Movie Review: ‘Skyfall’

From the very beginning you know this is Bond, pure and unrestrained.

After a reboot comparable to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, 007 found himself the #1 spy once more with Daniel Craig at the helm. However, an unrefined film with a plot as convoluted as it’s title, Quantum of Solace left many movie-goers feeling rather dissatisfied. In an effort to come back strong, director Sam Mendes and his talented team chose to go back to basics while still retaining that 21st century sense of style and relevance.

It was the right decision on many levels. The headlining single “Skyfall” by Adele serves well to the symbolic, dramatic, and haunting opening title sequence, while Javier Bardem brought his reliable sense of unease and creepiness to a villan who, in the wrong hands, would’ve instead been ridiculous.

In an effort not to spoil anything, I won’t delve too deeply into the plot points which so characterize and callback the Sean Connery days of James Bond. The script here is a polished, engrossing work of cinematic set-pieces and calculated coolness. The exotic locations, a staple of the series, are varied and utilized as more than mere scenery, and Bond himself by the end is a far more interesting person and character for the revelations found across his journey.

This is Bond at his best.

9/10


Mini-Movie Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’

A visual smorgasbord with more storyline’s than it knew what to do with, ‘Cloud Atlas’ is a beautiful film suffering from an over-ambitious script.

I managed to stay intrigued despite a just under 3 hour run time, and hardly once felt bored or uninterested. But as it neared it’s climax, I was left feeling disappointed at an unrealized merging of arcs. Like a science fiction, fantasy version of “Pulp Fiction” without any of the cohesiveness or knowledge of where or how the plot points would ultimately connect.

Many of the more interesting ideas and concepts are forgotten and left as ambiguous, which, while frustrating, seems intentional. The cinematography is stunning, and most of the acting is on the same level. The futuristic Neo-Seoul arc is immediately engaging, staying unique and leaving you wanting more of Jim Sturgess and Xun Zhou. In fact, I felt more of a chemistry and “fated” pairing between the two of them than the powerhouse combo of Tom Hanks/Halle Berry.

The editing overall is satisfactory, and a particular sequence involving a slave raising a ships mast while such events are mirrored in an alternate timeline is unforgettable and sparks a desire for more scenes crafted with such obvious vision and planning.

Surely everyone walked away having experienced (and felt) something different, and therein lies the films greatest achievement.

7.5 out of 10


Inspirations (Part 2)

As times change, so do the sources of our inspiration. But some things are timeless…

“The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox”

You reference back to them for wisdom, for guidance, for new ways of thinking.

Like an overflowing bookshelf, your mind pulls tidbits of information from your favorite sources.

Remembering childhood friends,

“The Art of Tim Burton”

and mentors who’ve become masters.

Whether on hand or not, they’ve become part of you; a cherished tool on your utility belt of creativity. What are your inspirations?


Album Review: Metric – Synthetica

“I make all that I believe, I set myself free. So take all the time you need, and let yourself be.” “Artificial Nocturne” by Metric

Emily Haines and her band don’t hold back in their new album Synthetica. Not lyrically, not musically, and certainly not artistically. Overall it is a worthy successor to their groundbreaking Fantasies released back in 2009.

Let’s talk about what it isn’t: Synthetica is neither a re-hash of Fantasies nor a collection of “lost” songs thrown together and called a new album. It’s obvious the thought that went into creating each track, as they stand on their own individually while also flowing into one another in a full-album play through.

An example of the visual inspiration & representation of Synthetica

Their first single “Youth Without Youth” took some getting used to. It didn’t have the same depth lyrically as other songs. But once you memorized the beat and song, it grew on you. The flowing ballad of “Speed the Collapse” is a dark, stormy song full of Haines’ beautiful melodies and a powerhouse chorus that will leave you breathless.

“Youth Without Youth” music video – click to watch

“Lost Kitten” is the most surprising track of them all, being something of a pop song without being that simple. It shows off Haines’ vocal range and is a nice break from the relatively dark tracks that precede it. Their title track “Synthetica” is catchy and far less dark than some of the other tracks. Rather their use of synthesized notes and a constant electric guitar evoke something of their neon-lit, electric inspiration Blade Runner.

Emily Haines on set during the “Youth Without Youth” music video shoot

Haines’ described Synthetica as being, “about forcing yourself to confront what you see in the mirror when you finally stand still long enough to catch a reflection. Synthetica is about being able to identify the original in a long line of reproductions. It’s about what is real vs what is artificial.”


Chalk It Up

“No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.” -Salvador Dali

Meticulous.

The word perfectly describes the process applied by designers Josh Luna & Alisha Noles in re-designing and re-making the menu board for the Silk Espresso cafe.

Let me take you through their work…

First they took detailed measurements of the wall they’d soon be painting with chalkboard paint. They then created an elevation in the wall using Autocad, which included all the measured elements.

Having made careful revisions, the final design was printed on a large format printer in black & white. They set this aside for later, and, along with a few helpful friends, painted the wall with three coats of chalkboard paint. The paint dried for 48 hours before any graphics were transferred.

They applied graphite (2B works best!) to the back side of the to-scale print, taking care to get good, thick layers for a clean transfer onto the wall. Once finished, the prints were taped to the wall exactly where the graphics were to go.

Using very hard (4H) pencils, they meticulously traced every letter and line of the whole design. This took a good while, but once finished and the prints were removed, it was exciting to preview their work finished.

Everything was re-traced over in chalkboard marker (Chalk-Ink brand is the best and has a wide array of colors) and left to dry for two hours. Once dry, traditional white chalk was rubbed over the entire wall to add a textural finish.

It’s probably best to simply visit the location for yourself, enjoy a cup of their new Stumptown roast, and witness the work of art for yourself. Because it is, truly, a work of art.