Wednesday 31 December 2014

David Hockney on why art has become 'less'

Hockney claims galleries and museums have focused too much on conceptual art, and he blames the camera, film and television for making artists give up on figurative art.

See the rest of the article here.

Monday 14 July 2014

Visual Effects Magic: Before and After

Even better than weight loss comparisons are before and after visual effects shots. Of course, weight loss might also just be VFX.

These have been culled from around the internet. Plenty to chose from. Great selections can be found here, here, and here, for starters.

I wanted to assemble a bunch in one spot.

I've always found movie magic fascinating. It's astonishing how little is real, and it must be a strain for some actors. A vivid imagination and a child like sense of play will be essential for actors in the future.

Think of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Angelina Jolie and Jude Law excelled when planted in CGI environments, but Paltrow struggled. She's great opposite real people, but against imaginary elements, she wasn't convincing. At least in that early go around. She's better in Iron Man.
The opening sequence from The Walking Dead. The guy isn't even on a highway.
I'd expected much of Gravity to be CGI, but honestly, I thought she'd at least have a full spacesuit, even if sans face plate. The helmet isn't real, and neither, it seems, is the rest of her suit.

Of course, you expect a lot of fantasy films to be CGI. And they are. From Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, most of it ain't real. It's (green screen) magic:
Same goes for sci-fi:
But so is most of The Great Gatsby:
Period pieces like Boardwalk Empire also indulge in a good deal of digital fakery:
It makes dangerous stunts much easier to pull off:
And weird creatures become possible:
Although the blue stuffed toy gives The Life of Pi an even more interesting psychological twist, as a descent into madness.
Most of the shots are of vast, outlandish vistas. Yet some are mundane, and you'd never guess they were effects shots. These days, it's more economical to do CGI than go on location. Partial sets filled out by CGI are the order of the day. 
I'd never have guessed he wasn't even wearing a super suit. They're performing in their pajamas. Marlon Brando would have loved this.

Bored Panda, Design Taxi, Business Insider, and Yellow Trace have lots of pics. Find more here, here, here, here, and here.

Sunday 18 May 2014

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

A plotless drama that focuses on characters but doesn't include any not made of cardboard, Only Lovers Left Alive is one of the most excruciatingly painful cinematic experiences ever created. 

An assault on consciousness itself, it manages to feel like a ten hour plane flight in only two hours and three minutes. 

Presumably written over a drug and alcohol fueled evening by two narcissistic goths who imagine themselves to be real vampires (OMG), it's pretentious beyond comprehension, filled with pointless references, limp humour and events that lead absolutely nowhere. 

It's pure anti-drama.

Now, that may be your cup of tea, in which case this film is for you. Critics, for example, love it. Audiences love it. Indeed, Only Lovers Left Alive sits at 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's an impressive achievement.

Me? I wanted to chew my right leg off.

I'm here to offer a contrarian view, as I disliked this film more than anything since the unendurably tedious Cosmopolis. This may be the only negative review of this picture in existence, and I only offer my views to offer succor to those whose consciousness was mauled by this cinematic abomination: You are not alone. Indeed, I feel your pain. We are the true outliers. People who do not fit in with the beguiled zombie masses.

In the film, Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, a droll, suicidal vampire musician who likes guitars. That's it. That's the totality of his character. His even more uninteresting wife, Eve, is played by Tilda Swinton. Her sole saving grace is that she's played by Tilda Swinton, who's totally awesome. But she's given less than nothing to work with. 

Adam lives in the ruins of Detroit, while Eve resides in Tangiers for some reason. She hangs out with Christopher Marlowe, played by the wonderful John Hurt. It's like casting a god to play an ant. Sensing that Adam is feeling glum, Eve sets off (on a night flight, naturally) to rescue her lover's waning spirit. 

In the meantime, Adam visits Dr. Watson at a local hospital, from whom he illegally buys blood. The scene sits on the cusp of wit, but never quite reaches it. The director's restraint is perplexing. He seems to be deliberately avoiding anything that could be construed as entertaining.

After Eve arrives, so does her party hearty sister, Ava. They visit a local dive bar accompanied by Adam's Renfield, Ian, a musician. He borders on likable. Their bar foray leads to the one real incident in the film, which occurs at least half-way through. 

That's right: we cool. We wear our sunglasses at night.
Long, boring scene follows long, boring scene. Tedious reference is piled upon tedious reference. Latin names are invoked. Humour could have floated the whole enterprise, but it is barely present. 

There are some interesting ideas here. Vampirism as addiction, for example. But nothing is done with the idea. 

If I'd had a cross at the screening, I would have stood up and tried to send this film back to the depths of hell from whence it came.

Sorry, cool kids. It was just not my cup of tea.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Quaker is Pepsi

Soylent Green is People Magazine. It's all holistic.

I didn't know a lot of these connections. Not surprised, though.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

John Cleese on creativity

I've always been a fan of John Cleese and the Python crew. Cleese did numerous corporate videos awhile back if memory serves. He's pragmatic, sharp as a tack and his advice is bang on.

There are subtitles, so you know it must be good.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Graphic Novel Course Powerpoint Slides

Selection of slides for an OCAD course on sequential art I taught a few years ago. Just meant to get across and emphasize basic concepts. Clear, direct, and to the point.