Tag Archives: film

Are we the scary generation?

5 Jan

Firstly, lets start by watching this video by the film critic Mark Kermode on the sub-genre of films that explore a strange fear of children and young people.

‘The terror is not to do with the young people of today are thugs, hooligans, maniacs, rioters – whatever.
The real fear is, they’re smarter then us.’ 

I’ve also been interested in how new horror films can relate to modern day themes (explored more within this Empire Magazine feature) and as Kermode states throughout the age of cinema – youth  have been represented as a scary modern force, because of  their intelligence, ambition and forward thinking.

Now, many people could say that the generation of today is not that smart; thousands of Facebook status updates and Tweets show that we “all” love Twlight and Bieber whilst not caring or knowing anything about politics, modern science or culture.
The young people people within the London riots who posed for photos of themselves with their loot of basmati rice also did not carry forward the concept of us youth being smarter then any generation before us…

However, what 2011 and its preceding years have shown us, is a change. Or at least a vast majority of people – mostly of a young age wanting there to be change in quite hard hitting deep social, economical, political and environmental  issues. The Arab Spring being the pinnacle of examples, followed by the Occupy financial movement that has spread across the world and not forgetting the need and want of solving climate change issues for not only today’s youth but for future generations as well.

So now we come to this point, where parents and adults fears, portrayed by psychotic, demon possessed youth within films seem to be taking place within the real world on a large scale- even if they just steal basmati rice.
Leading us to a conclusion that for the next decade, horror films will be full of youth causing gory death and gory despair. (more then likely in pointless 3D)

However, what if the youthful voice for wanting change grows?* Could another horror sub-genre based on generational differences take its place?
Loads of horror films already have youth facing murdering adults, notable examples being

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • Halloween – Ok forget the first ten minutes

But unfortunately for many youth-led horror films, there focus on modern social issues goes as far as the latest underwear fashion…
To still be addressed in modern day horror is youth’s own fear of adults destroying our future, leaving us with nothing, not wanting change and for everything just to be as it is right here, right now.

After all, that’s what is happening within the real world.

*Oh yes old folk, the change will come. You thought you were scared when you saw The Exorcist – you haven’t seen anything yet..

24 hours of Powerpoint

20 Sep

Last week Al Gore’s Climate Reality project, went live for 24 hours over the interweb; involving thousands of viewers and 24 presenters from around the globe. As it states on the website

 “The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. We help citizens around the world discover the truth and take meaningful steps to bring about change.”

and it did. I saw a Powerpoint presentation which showed the facts and how climate skeptics get the facts wrong, there was also video containing footage from recent natural disasters and speeches focusing on the fact this is our one planet and we have to look after it.

Issue is , this presentation was repeated every hour…

I understand that we are a diverse world and we all sleep at different times plus speak different languages and for that, some things need to be repeated. However in my mind this opportunity of 24 hours of reality fell short of what it could of been.

  • Everyone has seen An Inconvenient Truth and everyone remembers it being very influential but also a long-arsed Powerpoint show. At times Climate Reality felt like an uncreative follow-up especially with its hourly repetition.
  • It was aimed at educating those climate skeptics and climate denialists that it is not sun spots, volcanoes or government conspiracy but real and you couldn’t help think it was also meant for those who live in the USA. (But wasn’t An Inconvenient Truth doing the same?) Now a question can be, how many of these types of people watched the event? was there any way of persuading them to watch it? or did it turn out to be a ‘preaching to the converted scenario’.
  • Also the live video feed itself did not give much more then hourly repetition of “climate change is happening and here is the proof via graphs and natural disasters, so now is our chance to deal with it.”  They was no bullet points on what can be done now on the large and small scale, what action was specifically happening in the host country or even a chance to donate to climate aid charities.
    Even though the website gives you links to action and you can donate to the project itself, though its not specifically aid.
  • The studio presenters in the USA seemed to be a bit on the botex-side and their guests were of the old/male/white type. Whilst the 24 presenters from the world showed more diversity of backgrounds and all came from respectable climate action backgrounds.
    Myself being 25, I just wished more youth were present, after all it is our future and the amount of incredible things some of us (predominantly woman) have achieved in our short lives makes us worthy of presenting with balding, bearded white guys.

Thinking of other global live events- Band Aid, Live 8 and Live Earth spring to mind and each has followed the live music concert set up and each Band Aid follow up (sorry Al Gore) has been less successfully.

A Climate Reality 2.0 really needs to not follow the same format and needs to step up a gear. You can’t yet again go into stating the obvious to everyone, you need to call for action, donation being one part but als0 creating the opportunity for it to be a real social media event.

People sharing local/national/international action of all types collaboratively using hashtags or simple maps – which could then be forwarded on to friends who live in those areas.

Using the 24hours to actually come out with a positive step forward. For example a collaborative statement. It can start as a zero-draft then via a wiki within 24 hours a global Climate Reality deceleration on what needs to be done.

Plus giving the webcast a more dynamic scope. It can start with the same presentation, but then has to flow onto a continuing narrative, making people want to watch the whole 24 hours (not in one go of course)

Any other ideas?

Also if Climate Reality or Al’ steal any of these 3 ideas I will sue you for trillions of chocolate digestive biscuits.

Greenwashing Gasland

27 Jun

Gasland is the 2010, Oscar nominated documentary by Josh Fox, which focuses on Hydraulic Fracturing.
The process of collecting deep underground natural gas, by drilling a hole and via the use of pressure fluid, extracting the gas.
Simple engineering science – However, this process has left hundreds of people around America with flaming tap water, balding farm stock/pets, major health problems and water contamination.

Of course, the companies that deal in Fracking, are a bit pissed off with the statements that have been made in Gasland.
So they have made a ‘quality’ greenwash 4 minute video and a special website page – http://anga.us/truthaboutgasland

Lets study this video in detail:

It contains 10 shots of children, 5 of parents, 1 of grandparents, 11 shots of smiling people, 2 counts of hugs, 6 shots of natural environments, a shot of a kid on a bed, kids on swings, a fairground, a naked mum sitting on the floor with her (presumably) naked child and a couple of shots taken from the p.o.v of a car on a street. *

Then what about these sound snipits read out by a very pleasant-sounding woman.

  • 0:04 ‘We have something special in this country, our people and our freedom to express our opinions and beliefs’ – This is good, this makes the viewer think, Josh Fox is entitled to his opinion. Note: no other country on earth apparently has special people.**
  • 0:21 ‘Natural gas provides clean domestic energy’ – I’m guessing this means clean as in no dirt, not CO2
  • 0:26 ‘Its our neighbours who work every day to produce it’ – Broad statement, that includes everyone and no one.
  • 0:38 ‘Responsibility to develop this natural resource with the constant sense of stewardship of our land, our air and our water’ – Not people, they can die because of Fracking
  • 3:05 ‘New innovations’ – Some environmental operation’s they are doing to make them sound really good, they only mention 1, but still.
  • 3:20 ‘Natural gas supports 2.8 million American jobs, it is reducing our nations dependence on foreign oil’ – Yay America, boo foreign oil.
  • 3:27 and its advancing clean air in our communities’ – Advance of making it a very rare thing.
  • 3:31 Natural gas emits virtually no mercury, or pollution creating particular matter’ – Natural gas also emits virtually no dark matter or environmental degradation particular matter…..

Some Gasland claims are also looked at.
That natural gas is exempt by feudal regulations. – Natural gas is more than likely looked at by feudal regulations, but the actual question raised is, why isn’t Hydraulic Fracturing. On top of that, at this point the video shows a list of regulations, no dates, or where these regulations are set (it uses the idea that most viewers will jump to the conclusion that these are the national regulations.)
That flaming tap water is caused by Fracking – This is false, as everyone knows flaming tap water is normal…
That fish are being killed by Fracking – Wrong again, as everyone knows it’s those dirty fossil fuel coal companies…

What this video gives you, is a blueprint for all company greenwash videos – just add some children, smilies, quotes that aim to focus on the morals of your audience and some claims that you can disprove via images and blaming others for environmental pollution and bingo a divided opinion on a non-clean energy source.

I also found this article on  Talisman‘s friendly Fracosaurus, Terry.
YES ladies & germs, a children’s colouring book aimed at promoting Fracking as smart and safe.
There is even a page to colour in, all about the fact gas rises into the air, where it can be forgotten about and not cause any environmental damage….

This blog has not been brought to you by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

*0 shots of Hydraulic Fracturing, Fracking workers or Fracking neighbours.
** At some points, I’m being very sarcastic in this blog. Get used to it idiot.

The best environmental films

14 May

Nowadays it seems a new environmental documentary is released every week, what with the success of the genre hitting the mainstream due to Michael Moore’s efforts and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient truth. It now seems sensible for anyone who believes in a partially issue to grab film equipment and present the facts to hopefully bring chance in political, social and environmental attitudes. this includes

  • The Age Of Stupid
  • Pig Business
  • The Cove
  • The 11th Hour

All very hard hitting and popular within environmental and sustainable circles.

But the films that really matter, the films that reach a larger audience and make more money then documentaries. Are films with plots, characters, romance and action. Therefore here follows a list of films that have a blatant or hidden environmental message, that you can sneakily shows those people who don’t really care just in case it changes they perception of climate change.

The Day After Tomorrow

Concept of this film is that the North Atlantic Drift that predominantly keeps the UK warm with warm Caribbean water (cannot be bothered to go into the science for why) fails and within a day the whole of America and London turns to snow and ice. Why did it fail? – because of climate change. Is it any good? well its a nice adventure film, however if you try and explain the science behind it, you will be meet by blank faces who are thinking about the CGI wolves.

Water World

The film with the worst budget-to-open weekend ratio ever and to be fair, it is a little bit pants. The world is a world of water, Kevin Costner has webbed feet and Dennis Hooper plays a baddie. (again) They saviour is a little girl that has a map of land tattooed on her back. At one point webbed Costner takes a lady-friend to the bottom of the ocean to show her – you can guess it – a modern 1990’s city submerged with cars and fire hydrants. by the end they find land, which one must presume is the top of Everest looking all green and with horses on it.

Mad Max

Mel Gibson is mad, he travels around helping people, but you know he is mad – he has hardly any petrol damn it! Its some year in the future, there is no oil, solar power cars haven’t even been thought of as a travel option in the Aussie outback – not even bicycles??? but the point is there, one day we will run out of oil and we will all be mad

Dances With Wolves

This film is a bit more abstract – so a guy (Kevin Costner again) from the more developed world and gets to know the local natives, until he is inducted as one of them. Then his old friends turn up destroy there homes, decimate their livelihoods and general take over. Yay colonialism. Yay destruction of the Prairielands.

FernGully: The Last Rainforest

So there is this human lumberjack guy, who finds himself magically transformed into a forest spirit, he then spends some time with the animals getting to know them, until one day the humans descend to cut down more rainforest, cue a battle to save the last rainforest.

Furry Vengeance

A kids film newly released at the cinema, a building developer, moves to a pristine forest location to start work on a new town – cue the woodland animals putting the guy into hilarious situations to make the young ones laugh, until he understands that he must help them save the forest. you have to be very basic with kids films!

Avatar

So there is this human guy who goes to a planet to help collect its resources until he joins the natives etc.. etc.. Its surprising that a film, which has a plot as simplistic as the above three films and many others could become the biggest of all time. Graphics are great, the level of depth of Pandora and its creatures is breathtaking, I just wish the plot was also.

 

Wall-E

Stunning graphics and characters; most of which just talk with beeps and whistles – it is basically a silent film, going more into depth about the problems with humanity more then the above films do. It also gets extra points for going into the issue of obesity.

Toxic Avenger

If you liked the straight-to-video gore films of the 80’s, the kind that are full of blood, crash-humour and semi naked girls then this the environmental film for you and I. Its the story of a weedy mop cleaner who gets  pushed into toxic waste and turns into a beefy mutant. he then seeks revenge on those that bullied him in the most sickest ways. However that’s not all its full of humour, its low budget somehow makes it great, the 80’s fashion is hilarious/ kind of cool and it has an environmental message. the Mayor of the city is aiming to gain loads of money from pouring toxic waste into the rivers – the Toxic Avenger stops him and the old lady running a white slave trade. This film was actually a success leading onto video games and an animated kids series – not bad for a 18+.

 

Princess Mononoke

In my mind the best film from Studio Ghibli. Like all these Japanese fantasy movies they seem kind of hard to follow at first; but the message is there. Iron Town is destroying the forests, the sprits are a bit pissed cue pay back. Yes you can say, it sounds like Avatar, however trust me – this in my mind is the ultimate environmental film. please check it out.

 

Any other environmental films to add to the list?

The Sarah Connor effect

6 Mar

 

SarahConnor-T1
The poodle look was so 1980s

In May 1984 a ditzy Los Angeles woman discovered some key facts regarding her future, her sons future and the rest of the human race.
A military software programme called Skynet will become self-aware in August 1997 and will destroy the world via nuclear missiles then via Austrian body building T-800 robots; her son will be the leader of the human resistance and hold the fate of the future of the human race.

Thus by 1991 she turned into a bad-ass educator to her son

term2
‘I’m so tough I can kill dinosaurs’

Present Day: Millions of ditzy youth are discovering some key facts regarding their future, their children’s future , the rest of the human race and not forgetting all the other animals and plants. it is of course (DRUM ROLL) Climate Change.

*

Now – I’m not saying the future, will be totally apocalyptic with people killing each other for survival, extreme daily storms and few opportunities for food.

It can be that people really bond together as communities, share skills, help each other, have clean energy systems which gives them enough energy day-by-day.
It can be that that all the communities food is grown locally and everyone has they own little gardens. chocolate and bananas could still appear in the shops – however they would turn up in the UK via huge ships that use solar and wind power.
Multi-million enterprises could still make the world go round, but every single detail is sustainable thought out. The internet can still be running and at a faster rate then today – with the ability to make people feel like they have travelled the world without leaving their country.
If not, holidays won’t involve a quick flight, but a journey lasting weeks – made of many different forms of sustainable travel.

Our future can be all of that and more, but we don’t have forever. In fact we have a very short time and we need to follow in Sarah Connors footsteps.

So some parents may want to teach their kids on how to use an AK-47 and flip knives.

Things which will be more useful =
How to live of the land (growing your own food as well as going all Ray Mears)
living sustainable, keeping all your energy needs in top condition, how to achieve a really small carbon footprint, that community really matters, solidarity, ethical living
Etc….

If we want our children to have a good life, we have to make sure they realise, there is more to life then Justin Bieber and we can make them live differently to us, better then us. We just have to turn a little bit bad-ass

Valentine’s movies for singles

9 Feb

So its that time of year again…imagesCA3EQI79

Couples go all googly-eyed for each other & single people state 

I don’t care about a totally consumer orientated fake holiday, produced by card manufactures; because life is so much more then giving a card to someone and anyways even if I was going out with someone I would make sure that we never-ever celebrated the holiday, because like I said its fake’

However that night, they will be trying their best not to sing along to Celine Dion’s All by myself

Therefore the best movies to stop this from happening have to

A) Have a happy-ish bittersweet ending. As a movie which ends in world destruction
    isn’t going to make you feel any better when it finishes. (Dr Strangelove)
B) Still have a love theme, after all it is Valentines day..
C) But end in no couple getting together or hinting that they will live happily ever-after. 
 Ruling out movies like Die Hard*, Pretty Woman, Most Disney films & Star Wars

Stand By Me

The greatest bromance film ever as they don’t even mention girls.
They just go on an adventure, prat about like boys do and grow closer as friends not lovers.
See the big V doesn’t have to be all about kisses.  x x

Precious

So there is this girl who is illiterate, pregnant (again) due to her father, abused by her mum and bullied – this film followers her life.
It is the most depressing sounding but most uplifting film around.
Giving you that warm ‘Thank funk, I’m not her’ kind of feeling.

Before Sunrise

It is a romance film, but one we all aspire to and wish would happen to us.
A guy meets a girl on a train. He is then stuck in the city of Vienna for the night and asks her if she would like to just hang out with him. beforesunrise
You see the chemistry between them and being single you can easily think – one day that will happen to me.

Before Sunset

How many romantic films have sequels involving the originally cast? 
Hardly any due to that ‘walking into the sunset’ conundrum. 
This however is one and it is just as perfect & suitable for the modern-day singleton.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This film, is for the newly single person who has felt their heart pulled out of their chest by a forklift truck, or felt it slowly decay as their perfect relationship crumbled.
It is a film that can give you a new perspective on life, which is very rare….

In Search of a Midnight Kiss

This movie focus’s on that other single, funk-the-world moment.
The strike of midnight on New Years night.
It works due to the fact, it gives you something to look forward to…..Maybe within 10 months you won’t be the single nit-wit you are now.
 
– Any Documentary focusing on issues
Your unhappy
you may be thinking Funk the world
So why not put that angry to good use, watch a documentary like Bowling for Columbine, The Cove & Food, inc.
Then go out fighting!!!!

Scott Pilgrim (MICHAEL CERA) faces off with one of Ramona's evil exes in the amazing story of one romantic slacker's quest to power up with love: the action-comedy "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World".

 * Yes they split up in future sequels, but this is about movies standing alone. 

Breakfast Machines

27 Aug

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it boosts our energy, fills us full of fibre and gets us ready to battle evil ex’s and stuff.

However it is a bloody pain – your tried, groggy and putting bread in the toaster or even getting round to frying an egg just seems far too much effort.

So below is a selection of the greatest ever machines that can create breakfast for you.

’Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ is Tim Burton’s first full length movie and is so weird that Mr T cereal seems the most rational thing in the whole movie. 

Ahh ‘Honey, I Blew Up The Kid’ I’m sure most wives would say ‘I think its best for the kids if I divorce you’ after the first film, here however she stays with him and guess what they only go and blow up the kid, still at least the toast isn’t burnt.

Wallace is the greatest inventor of our time, he doesn’t even have to burn off calories dressing himself in the morning. Still his breakfast machine has issues 1) Criminal penguins 2) The fact that having a side-kick dog who understand machinery is hard to come by these days.

My vision of purgatory is one in which everyday at breakfast, your dad is all chirpy and before you even sit on the steps with him, he has planned a song about togetherness, being together forever and ever and ever and ever – which cunningly always finishes as soon as his breakfast is ready; us kids just get stale bread – swine.

Then there is the ‘Back To The Future’ Doc Brown Breakfast Machine is one that goes totally wrong – burning toast, exploding eggs and the dog food missing Einstein’s bowl. It is so wrong you can’t even find it on YouTube just in case others try and recreate it.

Each of these machines is called a ‘Rube Goldberg machine’, a machine that over complicates a simple everyday task.

You may of noted that most of the above examples involved a mad inventor character  – well yes mad scientist do need a machine to make breakfast.

In reality however it was the film directors that wanted/needed the breakfast machine; what with them doing most of the work (cough* getting the credit; cough*) they saw it as a valuable commodity towards finishing the film.

I leave you with Family Guy Peter’s attempt; whilst I start to plan my breakfast machine

Captain America Vs the World

6 Jul

I like Captain America. Captain_America
Not because I’m a secret American patriot – I’m a proper British gent who likes tea and the word trousers. It is because out of all the superhero legends out there – he just cannot at all fit into the modern world

The main problem is his total persona of  ‘American’ patriotism.
Now they is nothing wrong with being patriotic – I just fit into the crowd of pure cynics who cannot comprehend Americans passion and who puts it on level par with dictator celebration just to annoy them.

The siamese quads have a nice day out

Back in the days of WWII he fitted in perfectly, he helped enlist American men, he made a nation believe they could win the war and he defeated the most evil Nazi of them all (Red Skull)

Comic book-writers though, could not let him lie down his shield and retire. He appears again and again woken up from cryogenic freezing in the following decades, having to face bigger distain towards American globalisation.

Ronald McDonald is the symbol of fast food, Captain America is the symbol of Americanisation and we know how popular there are these days

This distain may go a little bit unnoticed within the USA, however with a Captain America film on the horizon, then the following ‘The Avengers’ movie- producers might have to account for how the world feels.

They can either stick to their guns, and have it 100% patriotic, leading to huge profit within the good ole’ USA but a $0.00 profit around the rest of the world.
Or they could (unlikely) have the character realise he is a national gimmick laughed at internationally, a corporate brand just like Dr Manhattan, that the fact as he stands for 100% Americanism he could gain more enemies then the Bush administration. 

Either way it will be a huge political film – debated among patriots, cynics, communist, capitalists, terrorists, geeks and it will have explosions!