Archive for May, 2012

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A Tale of Two Movies

May 30, 2012

While I’m happy to say that there are a lot of films I still have to catch up with (I missed so much due to a few years of other obligations), there seems to be a catch and I know I’ve mentioned this elsewhere:  Remakes.

I’ve just caught up with the 2005 version of The Fog and this serves as an example.  Some of the problems are similar to those encountered in a lot of modern movie making, let alone the remake/reboot/re-imagining contagion.

Firstly, John Carpenter’s name is attached to the film as a Producer, but he claims his contact was minimal.  Nice to know he can at least add the disclaimer, “I didn’t do it!”.

The film itself starts with a very different shot from its predecessor and I believe that is a chunk of the problem in microcosm.  The original starts with the midnight ghost stories sequence.  Dark and with the tick of the watch acting as a pace maker, it gives you a rhythm and an atmosphere from the outset.

By 2005, it must have seemed like a better idea to start with a daylight panoramic shot.  Very scenic but it’s a bland.  This could be a modern sensibility or just a device to reduce the tension, given the difference in ratings between the two movies (the original got an R rating while the 2005 version is a PG-13).  After all, you can’t actually scare anyone with a horror movie.

Also included was a “social upgrade”.  Making and marketing a film toward the demographic that will possibly attend a PG-13 movie always seems to shift the casting toward young adult/adolescent characters with all the cyphered traits that are both implicit and explicit.  The catch there is that often a lot of those characters behave in such a way that I just can’t invest any sentiment toward them.

Characters provide me with bugbears.  There are movies wherein the characters are so awful and performances so dire and irritating that I want them to die.  Independence Day is a good example of this.  This is a stark contrast to, say, John Carpenter’s 1978 Helloween, where I got to care to varying degrees about the movie’s population, even when they were being irritating teenagers.

Sometimes, an audience will point to modern effects technology as being a big selling point, but if “improved effects” are your reason for watching a film, then I can’t help but feel that there’s something intrinsically wrong.

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Cultural disparity?

May 7, 2012

When I first “came out of the broom closet”, back in 1999, I was worried that some of my friends, who happen to be Christian, would find this revelation to be too much and might distance themselves from me.  I am happy to report that my fears were not realised – those friends gave me a big hug at the time and are still my friends.

That was 13 years ago and on a different continent.

Since I moved to the States, I have found a slightly different aspect of the world.

Most of the people I’ve met here are friendly, tolerant and on occasion politely inquisitive about the Pagan among them.  The folks in the diner don’t shun me, parents don’t snatch their progeny from my path and a local church sent round a deputation with an apple pie when we moved in to our house as a welcome.  Very friendly and terribly civilised.

However, over the past 12 months, a neighbour has told me that she’ll “bring me to the Lord”.  Apparently, my faith is comical because it’s fictional.

I find myself often challenged by said neighbour about my faith and I’ve tried to make it clear that not only do I not wish to get into a pan-deity showdown, my faith is not up for negotiation or to be challenged.  I don’t want to go that way because, frankly, my faith is my own – a personal set of choices.

Proselytizing is anathema to me – everyone gets to make their own choice and find their own path.  Just please, do not prevent me from following mine.

Blessed be!