Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It’s sort of Strange but…

I sometimes like to watch other people. They don’t know I’m watching. I sit in the dark while they go about their lives, taking risks and finding fulfillment. But I’m not alone. I sit there with other people -complete strangers actually. We all sit tightly together, in the dark. But we never speak a word. In fact, it would be considered rude to do so. We just watch. We watch and we wish. We admire and we dream. We do this for about two hours. But when the lights come on, it’s all over and the worries, fears, and grief that brought us, filter back into our conscience. 

….So why do we escape to the cinema?

It’s very dangerous to take an animal from its natural habitat. A manufactured environment will never fulfill the animal’s essential needs. In fact, an unnatural environment can put an animal in a constant state of hyper stimulation, nervousness or anxiety. Their nervous systems are blown beyond the ability to cope. The animals must do whatever it takes to balance their nerves. They sometimes do what may appear unacceptable or strange. They run around in circles without a purpose.

How is it we fail to recognize and admit that humans are just simple animals… meant to live day to day with the only purpose to survive till the sun goes down each day.

This entire civilization is far beyond what any single mind could dream up.

It’s not a mystery why we do whatever it takes to balance our nerves. We develop habits that help us cope in this constant state of hyper stimulation. Some people submerge in bubble baths, some people put on headphones and close their eyes, some drink a glass of wine, others smoke a blunt or pop a pill rarely prescribe to them.

Some people speed in the rain, sleep past noon, scream their lungs out in the shower, eat a gallon of ice cream, run till they faint, paint a white wall, drink till they can’t remember, but other people…

Other people escape entirely. They sit completely still… not speaking, not blinking, not living. For about two hours in a dark cave without any light, they sit there and admire the paintings before their eyes… submerging into complete and utter satisfaction, a sense of... fulfillment.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

But it’s not supposed to be this way…

I haven't been able to escape to the cinema lately, so here's my critique on life and the way it's "supposed" to be:

This is a new kind of post intended to entertain those whose lives AREN’T piecing together as quickly or perfectly as their childhood dreams promised…

By the age of 26, most people are moving back home to be near family and taking a menial job (me·ni·al adj 1. relating to or involving work that requires little skill or training, is not interesting, and confers low social status on the person doing it 2. suitable, typical of, or relating to a servant or servants) at their local bank or town hall. Accepting their numerous failed attempts at obtaining their dream job as “a good try” and realizing the importance of a steady income.

By the age of 28, most people notice their hairline receding, metabolism slowing, and appearance overall dwindling and decide they better tie the knot before no one wants to share a bed with them besides dear old mom.

By the age of 30, most people are painting teddy bears, clouds, and ducks on the walls of the spare bedroom of the house they bought with their menial desk job preparing for their average life to be invaded and conquered by their first-born…Who hopefully won’t feel the pressure of life bearing down on them as early as their parents did and give up on their dreams only to join their friends who have settled down to watch life pass them by and live their static, routine life.

But he's not like most of them. He's 32 and swimming around all the Hollywood hotspots in the intern pool. And he'll tell you that 95% of all interns are hott college grads still enjoying life living out of daddy’s pocket, so he doesn’t reject their kind invitations for drinks on them/daddy after a long unpaid day of dry office work.

But right now, he's outside on his balcony writing his frustrations on his college Mac book pro -whose expected operational life is about to expire, and when it does he’ll lose his million dollar screenplays that brought him to Hollywood. People normally sit outside to be in the sun and get that essential vitamin D that energizes and inspires them to go out and get that dream job no matter what it takes. Unfortunately, his balcony is shaded from ALL the shiny, bright things in life most importantly “The sun.”

It’s hard to keep moving when it seems as though everything else in life has stopped like the economy and job market, but he finds Live music inspiring so he's going to apply for a new credit card, buy tickets to a show, and forget about his accumulating debt that will undoubtedly land him a spot in prison one sunny day when he should have been painting teddy bears, fluffy clouds, and smiling ducks in the spare bedroom of the house he bought with his menial desk job he got when he moved back home and realized Dreams only come true at night…

And coming to terms with not getting that dream job is perhaps the Santa Claus of adulthood.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Difference Between The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

   The Action-Thriller film genre is best known for its exciting action packed plot and intense visual appeal. But spending a little more time on developing their heroes has proven to not only boost box office sales, but also provide new market space for sequels, prequels, and even figurines. Filmmakers are running out of new ways to save their damsels in distress and keep their car chases fresh. Action seeking fans are now going to the theater expecting more than the same stunts they’ve seen executed from different angles; now they want complex characters and simulating storylines. Whether moviegoers are realizing it or not, they’re flocking to character driven action films.

   The Coen Brothers have been keeping audiences entertained for years with their mix of action, thrill, and complex characters. Marge Gunderson (if her name isn’t enough of a description) is the unforgettable heroine in the 1996 thriller Fargo. She’s the pregnant sheriff in town, but make no mistake, she means business. Her intelligent and polite police work along with that Minnesota accent, makes her a likeable heroine few audiences can forget. And the Coen Brother’s antagonist from No Country For Old Men haunts your nightmares with his retractable steel bolt airgun reminding you to never steal money from him—the all-knowing, merciless Anton Chigurh. Characters like Marge and Chigurh are becoming the difference between a good action film and a great action film.
   Some of the best action films are defined by their protagonists such as Jason Bourne, John Rambo, Peter Parker and John McClane. These films can simply be referred to by their main characters because lets just face it, they are what make these movies great. Big explosions and bloody deaths just aren’t enough these days and more is being asked from writers of this formulaic genre. Now they have to edit out a few story twists and make room for compelling characters with more than a double barrel shotgun.
   Action films lack in dialog and usually focus more on telling story through physical action and that part is also changing more and more as we see more characters developing onscreen. Ridley Scott’s 1991 Thelma & Louise is a thriller adventure film that takes a serious interest in these two women’s lives and their characters grow and develop along with all the action. The action in this film appears to serve a greater purpose than just blowing up something or killing someone who gets in the way unlike many other films in its genre such as the 2008 Death Race which does just that. Death Race’s Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) is unbelievably underdeveloped and the film suffers as a result. Too many characters die senseless deaths and explosions are pointless and have no effect on the lives of the characters. Visual appeal? Maybe, but nothing more. Death Race struggled to make its expected profit from box office sales and this should not come as a surprise to those who witnessed its absurdity.

   Christopher Nolan’s 2008 The Dark Knight has numerous complex characters that develop onscreen and without a doubt contribute to the film overall success. Heath Ledger portrays the best Joker to ever hit the screen. He adds the missing link that other jokers—including Jack Nicholson—couldn’t seem to grasp. He’s cruel and cold, heartless and thrillingly psychotic. His character alone makes the film a successful action thriller. In comparison, Halle Berry’s Patience Phillips in the 2004 Catwoman is an example of a poorly developed character that is to blame for the film’s failure. The filmmaker’s first mistake was choosing an idolized sex symbol like Halle Berry to play an already over sexed role like Catwoman. The action and killing in the film appears humorous rather than thrilling and no one can take Halle Berry’s performance for anything more than soft-core porn. Characters can easily make or break a film even in the action thriller genre.
   It’s no debate fans of action films aren’t going to the theater expecting life changing stories or heart felt dramas, but what films do they call great action thrillers? Is it films like Dragonball Evolution, The Mummy Returns and Hitman or Fight Club, Rocky, and Lethal Weapon? Many of the most popular and favorite action thrillers have an undeniable similarity in common. That similarity rests in its characters and their onscreen development.
   Psychotic Dr. Hannibal Lecter and relentless FBI agent Clarice Starling are among the many complexed characters in the 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs. This thriller is packed with jaw dropping action, but unlike most action films, it makes room for dialog and a slice of drama. Clarice doesn’t blow up anyone’s car or go on a random shooting rampage, but she does hunt down the scariest serial killer to ever graze the screen. Compared to the action crime thriller Bangkok Dangerous, …well there is no comparison other than the genre title. Bangkok Dangerous doesn’t have one intriguing character or memorable plot moment. The film is comprised of scenes where Nicolas Cage chases people, makes a mess, shoots them and blows stuff up—but nobody cares. The characters are so severely underdeveloped and simple that the viewer just doesn’t care enough about them for the ending of their lives to feel dramatic or be the least bit entertaining.
    Not all filmmakers are going to change their clichéd formula for action films into character driven action thrillers like The Matrix, Kill Bill, and Iron Man. But highly developed characters appear to be what’s attracting audiences and selling the tickets. Writers of the action thriller genre should make room in their scripts for an unethical Dirty Harry or an impervious Terminator; or otherwise prepare to suffer an excruciating death in sales.