Saturday, 16 December 2017

Film Reviews | All Links

Film Reviews:

'What We Do in the Shadows' - Documentary/Mockumentary

The film 'What We Do in the Shadows', directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, is a Mockumentary created in New Zealand. The film follows a group of vampires as they go about their lives. It's filmed in a way that parodies the conventions of documentary making however with entirely fictional subjects it is a mockumentary.

The film is shot as a series of short sketches that are stitched together to create the whole film. The scenes fit together to tell a comedic account of a group of vampires that live in a flat together and the struggles they face in their daily lives. Examples of this include things such as not being allowed to enter buildings without being invited first as well as more trivial things such as their clothes being several years out of fashion.

The film is shot as if there is a film crew there that the characters frequently refer to, talk to and interact with as well as with scenes that are almost interview style moments with each of the vampires. The film crew have no lines but are always present and occasionally shown on camera, such as in the scene where the vampires run into werewolves on a full moon and some of the crew gets eaten. The film is shot as if through hand held camera's and the combination of that and the use of purely diegetic sounds create a sense of realism which is juxtaposed by the ridiculousness of the vampires themselves.

Illustration List:

Fig, 1. Movie Poster. Found at:

Friday, 15 December 2017

Exploitation and Mad Max Fury Road

The film 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015), directed by George Miller, is an example of an exploitation film. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is the fourth Mad Max film to be created. The first falls into the category of B-movie while the more recent ones moves away from d-movies. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is the most recent sequel to the film.

The film's plot is simple, a group of characters drive from point A to B and back again, however the way the story is told is what makes it more interesting than that. The film uses exploitation in it as it exploits violence and vehicles consistently throughout the film. This is something that's followed through all the mad max films as they have a focus on cars and bikes as well as on gruesome violence. Examples of the exploitation of vehicles can be seen in the vehicles the war boys use and in the war rig driven by Furiosa. Another key example would be the scene where we are first given a look at the war boys, specifically Nux. This is because they are given orders to chase the war rig and thus go to collect their steering wheels from a shrine to the V8, praying to it as they do. This glorifies a car engine to the status of a deity.

Violence is also exploited within the film with scene of war boys killing each other and one of a mans mouth being ripped off. Body horror and body modifications are seen throughout the film in many forms beginning with Max being chained and branded. Other examples include the war boys many modifications as well as Immortan Joe himself having what amounts to an oxygen mask on at all times as well as a clear chest piece used to cover his mutations..

Collaboration | Reflective Statement

The collaboration project was something I found enjoyable for the most part. I think that it allowed for a new and interesting working experience and allowed me to learn from my group mates. I found that it was difficult as well due to having to compromise and wait for other people's work. During the project one thing I felt went well was that we communicated with each other well and didn't argue over decisions regarding the work. We had discussions and found compromises well and this allowed us to get along with things easier. I think one thing we could have improved on is having a more stern approach in that we often tried to be nice to each other when we should have been a bit more stern in asking for things to be finished. I feel this is one reason we were unable to completely finish the animation.

If I were to redo the project I think the first thing I'd change about how I worked would be to work faster as I felt that I worked fairly slowly to begin with. Another change would be to have a more detail schedule to follow so that everything had time to be done. This was something that wasn't done during this project that I feel we would have benefitted from.

Overall I think the project went well as we managed to work together constructively however I feel that there are things that could have gone better. I think our ideas and designs were good and the way we communicated those at the start worked well but that we should have continued working at that pace instead of slowing down when we were uncertain. In conclusion I think that while there are many things about the project that could have gone better, we managed to arrive to a place that showed our intentions for the animation and conveyed our ideas.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Maya | Ray Depth

Maya | Jetpack Jones progress 1

Blocking + Initial Shaping

Cutting a mouth + More Shaping the Head

Eye + More Shaping

Shaping the Lips

Perspectives | Lecture 6

Normativity: Our perception of things when related to a standard/Norm as well as the act of doing things based on or in line with the norm.

Binary Opposition: A binary system based on having two 'opposites'.

Deconstruction: Breaking concepts and idea's down into their parts/structures to understand them and to create new idea's from the pieces.

Reinscribe: Renaming or redefining in a new context.

Cognitive Dissonance: Discomfort caused by having conflicting ideas or beliefs.

Judith Butler is an American philosopher and theorist that focuses on gender and the effect of sex on gender. She explores the idea of gender being preformative and something that people perform on a place to place basis as opposed to being something that just is.

5 Reasons Funny Games is postmodern:

1. Deconstruction: The film deconstructs the horror tropes found in horror movies by not showing any of the violence on screen, this leaves the viewer without the experience the expect as the horror is all off-screen.

2. The fourth wall: The film breaks the fourth wall during the film as a character addresses the audience with winks and questions.

3. Non-linear/Fragmented: The film has elements of these, the most noticeable being the scene in which one character, Peter, gets shot only for Paul to rewind the scene and prevent it. This is non-linear and fragmented as it shows the character changing the way the film plays out and the order things would happen in. The scene also shows deconstruction as it deconstructs the idea of the characters being set on an unchanging course as Paul just rewinds and changes the story.

4. Appropriation: The film is a shot-for-shot remake of itself as the director originally made the film in German and then remade the film for America.

5. Stereotypes: The film plays with stereotypes as the antagonists are dressed differently to how stereotypical antagonists are portrayed. Instead of wearing dark colours the antagonists are shown wearing white and are surrounded by bright colours more than by darker ones.

Perspectives | Lecture 5

The Canon - Refers to things in culture that are deemed more superior or significant than other things in the same area/field.

'DWEM' - stands for 'Dead, White, European Male'. A type of person that's viewed as dominant in both literature and culture, thus despised by feminists and multiculturalists.

Phallocentricism - A focus centred around men and the belief that masculinity is connected to power.

Eurocentricism - The emphasis placed on European cultures, values and beliefs.

Postcolonialism - The condition, both politically and culturally, of a former colony.

Multiculturalism - The support or presence of many different ethnic or cultural groups.

Feminism - A stance that fights for women and equal rights for both sexes.

5 reasons Moulin Rouge is postmodern

1. Appropriation: The songs in the film are all, with one exception, songs from pop culture that are mixed together to tell the characters emotions.

2. Non-Linear Narrative: The film has a non-linear narrative as it begins with the main character, Christian, typing as he proceeds to tell us the story. He opens his tale by telling us the end of the story and then working towards that end. The film closes on him back in that room, typing on his typewriter.

3. Multiculturalism: While the film is set in Paris, it references India and indian culture throughout the film - both in the play near the end and in the architecture of the giant elephant.

4. Pastiche: The film references many other movies through use of songs, scenes, dialogue and characters.

5. Pop - Pop culture is explored through songs throughout the film, as all of the song choices are from pop culture.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Three Act Structure in Captain America: The First Avenger

The Three Act structure is a structure found in many films. It's a way to tell the beginning middle and end of a film and to divide them into smaller parts. The film Captain America: The First Avenger follows the three act structure.

Firstly in act 1 we have the exposition, in Captain America: The First Avenger this is when we meet Steve, a weak and fairly scrawny guy, and we see him getting beat up but not giving in until his friend comes along to help him. We then follow him and find that Steve wants to join the war efforts but isn't allowed to due to his many health issues. Next we have the incident, this is when Steve meets Dr Erskine and is told he can join the army provided he takes part in an experiment. In plot point 1, after Steve is injected with Erskine's serum, Steve chases down a spy that is trying to steal the serum. This is where Steve first meets someone working for the main antagonist.

In act 2 Steve faces obstacles such as the way he is entertainment for the masses instead of being the soldier he aimed to be, this is something he becomes aware of when he has to provide entertainment for a regiment of soldiers and they mock him. It is then that he finds out his friend, Bucky, is missing as he is meant to be in that regiment. This leads to the first culmination as that is where Steve stops being entertainment and instead goes and saves Bucky, finding the antagonist, Red-skull's, plans. The mid point is then when Steve and Bucky return and begin to rally a group for a mission to stop Red-skulls plans. The next plot point, Plot point 2, is when Steve discovers that there is a bomb in the plane and its headed for the centre of the city.

This leads into the climax which occurs at the very end of Act 2, near the beginning of Act 3. This is when Steve realises the choice he must make and crashes the plane into the ocean, thus saving everyone.

In Act 3 the twist and the resolution are closely ties as the twist is when we find out that Steve is actually still alive, preserved in the ice, and the resolution is then when they are de-icing him.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Perspectives | Lecture 4

Keyword Definitions:

Avante-Garde: Something new and modern when placed in the context of it's place and time of creation. Things that are avante-garde have the purpose of pushing art, culture and/or politics.

Nostalgia: A desire to return to a specific time or place in one's own past. The reuse of previously existing media in order to create a sense of nostalgia, or desire, in regards to the past.

Appropriation: Taking something or aspects of a thing, (sometimes without the rights to do so), that belong to someone else and using it in another context thus altering the original meaning.

Pastiche: A piece of work that aims to imitate another artist's work, a time period or style. Often used as a way to reference prior works.

Parody: A piece of work that aims to imitate another artist's, their work, a time period or style in an exaggerated manner with comedic intent.

Irony: When a situation or text has a result that's contrary or different to what we expected. This often ends up being in a comedic way.

Ideology: A set of idea's or beliefs held or integrated into cultures, often considered as truths within those believing.

Genre: A style or category, often of films, i.e, 'Horror' and 'Romance'.

Sherrie Levine: Sherrie Levine is an American Photographer and Painter. Her work is often part of conversations about appropriation and originality. She uses her work, reproductions of other photographic works, to bring attention to females within art history.


Scream - Movie Poster

Ways that 'Scream' is postmodern:

1. Scream is a pastiche to slasher movies as it makes use of the many tropes involved in that genre.

2. The film is also a parody as it points out the cliches of slasher movies while simultaneously using those same cliches in the film.

3. Appropriation is another reason this film can be seen as postmodern as the film's antagonist uses a mask of the figure in the artwork The Scream by Edvard Munch. Another way it uses appropriation is in it's use of tropes and cliches from previous slasher films.

The Scream - Edvard Munch
4. Irony is used in this film a few times, this is done for comedic value as it plays with our expectations of a horror film by setting a scenario up and having the characters mock it while still falling into the actions they mocked. One example being the main character, Sydney, and her rant against slasher protagonists for always 'running up the stairs when she should be running out the door' as moments later she herself is running up the stairs away from the killer. Another is when the character Randy is watching a slasher and yelling for the character to 'look behind them', all while the antagonist of this film is slowly walking up behind him.

5. Intertextuality is used in the film as it references multiple other films numerous times, both in the use of tropes from those films and in mentioning them during the film through dialogue.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Archetypes in Labyrinth

There are some archetypes that are found in many films, these are Hero, Shadow, Herald, Threshold Guardian, Trickster, Mentor, Allies, Mother, Father, Child, Maiden and Shape-shifter. These are roles that can be found in the film Labyrinth (1986).

The Hero in Labyrinth is Sarah as she is the character that we follow on her journey to save her brother. She is a hero as her goal is to save her baby brother from the Goblin King after she wished the baby away. Throughout the film she encounters other characters that help and hinder her.

The Shadow, or Villian, of the film is Jareth, the Gobling King, as it is he who takes Sarah's baby brother Toby. He is placed in opposition to Sarah as the one she has to defeat to get her brother back and thus places obstacles in her path to prevent her reaching her goal.

The Herald in the story is not a character. In this case, the Herald is an event. This is when Sarah's stepmother tells Sarah to look after the baby and then leaves. This is the Herald as it is leaving Sarah with the baby that led to her wishing him away and starting the journey.

Sir Didymus is the character that acts as the Threshold Guardian as he is the one to block Sarah from continuing her path as he must guard the bridge and allow none to cross without permission. To pass him Sarah has to think as she cannot just move freely past him and must figure out how to get him to let her pass. One she gets past him, Didymus is no longer required as the Threshold Guardian as there is no longer a threshold to gaurd thus he joins her as an Ally.

The role of Shape-shifter is filled by Hoggle as he toes the line between helping Sarah and doing what Jareth wants. He begins by giving Sarah advince on getting into the Labyrinth, but then advises her not to go in at all. Then when Sarah is stuck Jareth sends Hoggle to take her back to the start, which Hoggle intends to do until Sarah bribes him to take her as far forward as he can. He then goes back on that when Jareth shows up, claiming he was taking her back to the start the whole time. Hoggle is also the one that Sarah trusts as he saves her life, only for him to give her a peach from Jareth that hinders her journey. Ultimately he chooses to help Sarah, and thus becomes an Ally.

Sarah gains Allies as the film progresses, by the end she has three main allies. These are Hoggle, whom she befriends, Sir Didymus, who wishes to join her on her journey, and Ludo who she saved from the Goblins. These three accompany her as she travels to the castle, offering their help when they can.

Throughout the film Sarah receives advice from many places but the advice that ends up recurring the most comes from a Worm she meets near the start of the Labyrinth. Thus the worm is the Mentor as he is the one to give her the advice she needed to get through the maze and defeat the Goblin King.

The character of the Child is both Sarah's younger brother Toby, who she wishes away, as he is a baby and the symbol of the childhood Sarah is leaving behind as well as her childish need to have all of her parents attention. The other example is Ludo, who uses simple and childish logic to progress through things. He is the Child as he is innocent and childlike.

The role of the Mother is filled both by Sarah's absent birth mother and by her Step-mother. The former as she is who Sarah aspires to be like, even though she isn't part of Sarah's life. The latter is because she is trying to be a mother-figure to Sarah.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Collaboration | Character Idea's

For the Collaboration project my group is working on 'when not to go swimming'. This requires a character to demonstrate each scenario. The character we chose is a Victorian Gentleman and so I have been working on formulating a visual idea of the character so as to get a better sense of the way he would act.

Initial Idea's - before deciding on Victorian Gentleman

Further Idea's - focused on Victorian Gentleman

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Life Drawing | 23

The Hero's Journey in Thor

The Hero's Journey is a set of events that unfurl in a film that can be a basis of the story. The Hero's Journey is something that can be found in many movies, one such movie is 'Thor'. This is what will be explored here.

In Thor the ordinary world is Asgard as this is where Thor grew up, it's his home and all he knows. In this world Thor is a prince, soon to be King, and respected. He expects people to listen and is confident, reckless and bold. His Call to Adventure comes when the frost giants invade during his coronation, later revealed to be due to his brother Loki, and he must go to stop them from stealing from Asgard. Instead of taking the advice given to him by his father, he insists that it is a deceleration of war, even as others tell him that it was likely just a small factions decision. For this Call to Adventure, Thor needs to act as a King should and not be reckless however he Refuses the Call by deciding to attack all the frost giants for the perceived war deceleration. This decision is reckless and one that could cost him and the friends that joined him their lives. It is further refused when Loki manages to broker peace with the King of the frost giants only for Thor to once again attack when provoked.

For Thor, Supernatural Aid came in the form of his father Odin arriving to stop a war from breaking out between Thor and his Friends and the Frost Giants. Odin establishes his role as mentor here as he reprimands Thor for his reckless actions and banishes him to humanity to teach him a lesson in humility. This leaves Thor in The Belly of The Beast as he now finds himself mortal and stuck in a land he has no idea how to live in. He has reached the lowest point for him, having been banished from his home at the hands of his disappointed father, and he must figure out how to make things get right from here.

The Road of Trials happens while Thor tries to adapt to life on Earth. He is confronted with things and experiences he's never had to face before, as well as customs he doesn't understand. In Thor he Meets The Goddess just before he faces the Road of Trials, as he meets Jane after she hits him with her van. Jane then helps Thor learn how to better navigate Earth and they begin to develop feeling for each other as they do. Thor's quest to become worthy of lifting his hammer is thus delayed as he spends more time with Jane, this is where Woman as the Temptress comes into play.

Thor's Atonement with the Father occurs when he realises his father was right and that he had been too reckless, this is after Thor attempts to break into the Government controlled site around his hammer in an attempt to retrieve it only to be foiled by being unable to lift the hammer. Loki is the instigator as he mentions Odin being dead, even though he isn't, to Thor who begins to rethink his actions. Apotheosis happens when Thor decides to sacrifice himself to save earth, this is because Thor has finally learnt the humility and understanding Odin sought to teach him and has reaffirmed his status as a God. This leaves him with The Ultimate Boon as he is able to lift Mjolnir, his hammer, once again.

Thor then faces the Refusal of the Return as he doesn't want to leave Jane, whom he loves, but he must as Asgard is in danger and he is the only one able to save it. Ultimately he Crosses the Return Threshold and goes back to Asgard to stop Loki from destroying things, only this time he is less reckless about his plan. Thor, now Master of Two Worlds, destroys the bridge connecting Asgard to Earth as it is the only way to stop Loki, even as it leaves him unable to return to Jane. He has made a choice that is better for his land than himself.

Thor, now a wise ruler capable of leading Asgard, has learnt what he needed to and is now a better leader and person for it, he has earned the Freedom to Live.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Perspectives | Postmodernism in Inception

1. The way reality is treated in the film is one example of postmodernism as during the film the viewers sense of reality is tested. There are two ways reality is tested, one is through the blurring of the real and the dream worlds, the other is through the dreams themselves. The dreams test reality in that they are the dreamers perspective on reality more than an actual representation of the real. The blurring is done both at the very beginning of the film, in the scene where Ariadne and Cobb are talking only for Ariadne - and the viewer - to realise she's dreaming, as well as the end of the film. The blurring of reality is more extreme near the end as the viewer is left to wonder whether Cobb made it back to the real world at all or if he has accepted his dream as reality.

2. Time is distorted during the film in a postmodern way as the distortion of time lends the film to be less linear. This is due to time passing differently dependant on where they are. In reality time passes much faster than in the dreams, and in the dreams time is staggered - getting slower the deeper they sleep. This leads to multiple events happening at the same time but being shown one after the other.

3. Inception is fragmentary as the dreams are each separate from each other and we bounce between them all, this is to show what is happening in each dream as they all occur simultaneously. Another example of the fragmentary nature is that the opening and ending scenes are almost exactly the same.

4. The narrator in inception is an unreliable one as Cobb is often unable to tell the difference between reality and dream himself, making it more difficult for the viewer to know as well. Another reason is because of the circumstances around the end of the film. This is as according to the established 'rules' Cobb should still be stuck in the dream, he did not get awoken from the van in the first dream, but there is still uncertainty as to if he did as he is shown awake in the plane. This could then be because it is what his reality is seeing even if it's not what the true reality is.

5. The ending of the film leads the viewer to question the validity of a 'true reality' as the film leaves the viewer wondering if Cobb is still dreaming or not and whether it truly matters if he is as he has accepted where he is either way. 

Life Drawing | 22