Tuesday, 27 September 2016

'Kill Bill', 'Empire of the Sun' and Postmodernism: Mental Notes & General Thoughts 27/09/2016

Kill Bill & Empire of the Sun, Thought's and Postmodernism

Kill Bill

Kill Bill is a very entertaining movie, having over the top gore, action and story, paired with a brilliant art style for the film makes a generally good watch, but is only suitable for much more suitable audiences.

Kill Bill is almost like a big experiment, changing from live action into animation, then back in live action really suits the film well and gets the plot of the film across well.


Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun is a film based in WW2, having one of the best character development methods in a film, changing the kid from unlikable little meatbag into a self-reliant young man, you really come to like the kid by the end of the film.





Both of these films were affected by Postmodernism, Kill Bill being the most obvious of the two. Being made by Quentin Tarantino his influences from Postmodern sources were well known and easy to spot.



Postmodernism Information

Postmodernism is very difficult to write about because depending on who you ask it has a different definition, so not everything will be in black and white. From what I can understand however Postmodernism is a period of time in which certain events affected the outcomes of some artistic directions.

Postmodernism is pretty much the same as Modernism, but its 'Post', meaning after not before.

Postmodernism effects pretty much all artistic forms like visual art, musical art, literary art or just about any artistic of creative outlet/source.

Another thing with Postmodernism is the way in which it is defined by people, now the main problem is this. When Postmodernism is used in any sort of argument it is a wildcard, the reason being is that when used, Postmodernism, It is a game with everything to lose and everything to gain, because Postmodernism is the 'Biggest, Correct Hypocrite' to ever walk the earth, the fact the word/concept even exists is physical proof of that.

Postmodernism is the views of all people in which is perceived by the individual, if a certain perspective is understood well and easily then it will be easier to follow, like having a simple deal with no string attached rather than having a complex deal where there is small print and illegible technical terms everywhere. The more people that can believe this belief, this is why certain arts (Picasso, Banksy, Zaha Hadid) become so popular and actually become 'Arts'.

Zaha Hadid Architecture



Art Forms

Some art forms could be heavily influenced by postmodernism, as stated certain perspectives which can be understood by the mass amount of people with little difficulty.

Pastiche
1. An artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period
2. Imitate the style of (an artist or work)

Pastiche Example

Bricolage (Collage)
1. In art or literature construction or creation from a diverse range of available things.
2. Something constructed or created from a diverse range of things.
Bricolage Example

Why are these art styles so important?

Both of these art forms have something in common, they both are easily influenced. Take for example the first picture of the Mona Lisa mixed with the lego head, obviously, it's been created for comedic effect, however, what else could have affected this picture?

Well, the fact that the purpose of the picture is meant to make people laugh by taking something very serious out of context and slapping something silly/stupid in its place does the complete opposite of what the original painting is asked to do. The chances that the period of time that this person is living in would have been a big influence on why he/she decided to do this.

Bricolage, on the other hand, is literally using whatever is available is create something artistic, like the Albert Einstien. This could change depending on where the artist lived if they lived in the woods, chances that the sculpture is going to be made out of wood is very high, whereas someone who l9ives in a junkyard would make his sculpture out of junk.

See how easily both of these art forms can be influenced? It would be the same for most artistic outlets.


Jean Baudrillard & Postmodernism

A book that should be read is Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation.

Definition of Simulacra:
"Simulacra are copies that depict things that either have no original to begin with or that no longer have an original."

Definition of Simulation:
Simulation is the initiation of the operation of a real-world process or system and time."

In Simple Terms
In plain English the Simulacra is usually the mental origin (Idea Lightbulb) and a simulation is a physical version birthed from the mental "Simulation" (Taking the idea of a lightbulb and physically making a lightbulb.).


Quotes:
  • "To simulate is to feign/pretend to have what one desires, doesn't have."
  • "The simulacrum is never what hides the truth, it is the truth that hides the fact there is none, the Simulacrum is true" (Ecclesiastes)


Useful Links/Resources

Monday, 26 September 2016

Maya Tutorial: Isometric Cameras and Facial Rigging 27/09/2016

Isometric Camera


Poma/Facial Rigging
Ecstatic Poma
Confused Poma
Angry Poma


Hypershade, proof of work
Happy Poma

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Character Project: Idea Conceptions 25/09/2016

Sound Clip
"I need food, I need a bath, I need a bed, I need a massage, I need a manicure, I need to see my therapist. I need a Beer."



Environment Options:
  • School Staffroom
  • Highschool
  • Wildcard?

Observations:

Based on the soundclip, a man appears to be putting up with a womans complaining whilst supporting her in some way. Observing from this some sort of 'Carrying Role' can be established by the man. The lines that are also used by each of the characters are heavily related to their gender stereotypes, whilst the woman complains about beds, massages, manicures and therapists the man only complains about not having a beer. so each character is heavily based on the stereotypes of the Clingy, Spoiled Babe and the Gruff, Hardened Neanderthal.


Idea's
  1. School Staffroom: Two teachers are moving some gear in a school staff room, the woman has got a tiny box whilst the man has a huge one.
  2. Highschool: Two teachers are in a school playground, whilst there are kids running everywhere the woman complains whilst the man is used as a jungle gym.
  3. Highschool: A jock is doing laps of a track with his girlfriend on his shoulders, the jock is quite small whilst the girl is very large adding comedic effect to the scene.
  4. School Staffroom: A woman appears to be monologuing to herself with exaggerated gestures in a staffroom until the camera reveals she is not alone

Friday, 23 September 2016

'12 Monkeys 1995' Twelve Monkey's, Two Mental Patients and a Lone Time Traveler, Walk into a Bar... 23/09/2016

Figure 1: 'Twelve Monkeys (1995)' Film Introduction
This film review will focus on the film 'Twelve Monkeys (1995)', the story is set in the year 2035, where humanity has been brought to the edge of extinction by a deadly virus of unknown origin. With a team of scientists and our main character, James Cole is sent into the past to gather information. However James and his companion Kathryn Railly soon discover that what they set out to do cannot be changed.

The film was released in 1995, was directed by Terry Gilliam and produced by Charles Roven. The cinematography was done by Roger Pratt and the score for 'Twelve Monkeys (1995)' was created by Paul Buckmaster. This film was based heavily on another film made in 1962 called 'La Jetee', the logic being the same which is that a man is sent into the past to stop a great catastrophe from happening. The method used to send James into the past is via severe drugging and neuroscience, same as La Jetee.

La Jetee was also reviewed on this blog a while back, the response from the film was that "The film works as a film, however, due to the way it has been made you would think that this film was made by a college student with an extremely limited budget and very little time." Whilst some decisions on the film artistically and symbolically were very good, it still seemed like it was somewhat of a shadow of something else it 'could' be, and that is what 'Twelve Monkeys' really is in a nutshell.

You can really see how La Jetee influenced this film, Terry Gilliam makes no secret of this and references the film in the opening sequence stating "Inspired by the film 'La Jetee' written by Chris Marker." (Twelve Monkeys. 1995)

It almost took the film of La Jettee, fixed it up, gave it a bit of color, sound, symbolism, and acting, and the film played out decently, almost what La Jettee should have been. "Terry Gilliam may be the most gifted cinematic surrealist since Luis Buñuel and, while his newest film fits more squarely into the category of science fiction than that of fantasy, his quirky, disquieting, and thoroughly unique vision is on full display once again." (M Savlov. 1996)

Figure 2: The outside world
The art design for the film mainly in the beginning is super strong and really shows what has not only happened to humanity but how everyone has had to adapt to their narrative challenge in a short space of time. The suit that James wears is designed to be protective, but at the same time show how he is very vulnerable. The outside plastic layer of the suit allowing you to see into the actual undersuit, which even then we see layers upon layers being put onto a single man before embarking outside still feels not fully protected, almost like someone with Mysophobia.

James fears of contamination are conveyed through the suit really well, the design choices for a sort of hybrid between Sci-Fi and Steampunk slapped together technology works quite well and is quite nice to look at.

Right from the start of the film some of the symbolism in the set designs are really quite genius, the most significant of all of them are the monkey cages and the interrogation room. The monkey cages (or prison cells) portray the humans almost as animals, like some sort of mass animal farm. The prisoners act very aggressively when inside the cages almost giving the whole area a maddened atmosphere, which sets the stage pretty much for the whole film.

The second set, the interrogation room is themed about being bizarre. There is the huge spherical contraption which looks like it came from another world and behind it is six mysterious scientists dressed in pure white labcoats. The whole first sequence of the film is pretty much an animal testing lab, but instead of using monkeys, rats or rabbits, they use humans. It really shows at the very start how the scientists are playing gods, giving a feeling of intimidation, fear and being a part of something greater.

The snowy landscape of the abandoned city also is really good at making the viewer think about what happened here which made the city so desolate. It is mentioned at the start of the film that "5 Billion people will die from a deadly virus in 1997, the survivors will abandon the surface of the planet, once again animals will rule the world". 

Most weapons of destruction would be associated with bombs, bullets, and blades, so for there to be some sort of weapon that destroys all humans without creating any kind of trace that it even existed is quite terrifying. A weapon that has the same destructive properties as the meteorite that wiped out
the dinosaurs millions of years ago, but it cannot even be seen by the naked eye.

Figure 3: James Cole & Jeffery Goines
The music for twelve monkeys is probably one of the film's highlights, composed by Paul Buckmaster the main theme for the film is something unique, really selling the insanity of the film. The soundtrack, unfortunately, makes one of the film most glaring problems much more apparent, the story's plot. From a narrative perspective, there isn't anything wrong with the film but the plot is a bit jumbled, which is much more apparent when paired with the soundtrack, because the soundtrack almost compliments the film's jumbledness. The plot of the story is a little hard to understand unless you've taken some time to understand it but it doesn't really kill the film, but makes you struggle to immersive yourself in this insane world.

The characters in the film are very well executed, Bruce Willis as James Cole and Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines, in particular are extremely well done. Bruce's character James Cole is sold really well as someone who is genuinely freaked out by what's happening to him, having this edgy, mad side to James makes him seem almost mental with a slight amount of sanity inside him. He may also be the main character of the film but the focus is not always on him, events are set in motion by him and that translates over really well into all of the characters.

Brad Pitt, on the other hand, gets to play as the mental patient Jeffery Goines, and is absolutely exceptional, literally acting like he's seriously mental. "Brad Pitt plays Jeffrey, and he is excellent. His star power undimmed by a bad haircut and jittery mannerisms, he manages to infuse his character with a weirdly charismatic charm, even when Jeffrey sounds most like an ecological terrorist. Better still, Pitt's attention-grabbing talent for mesmerizing through wild-eyed ranting is used here to nicely ambiguous effect." (J Leydon. 1996). 

His character has an unpredictability factor to him which makes him not only hilarious to watch but really quite terrifying. Being awkwardly close to people and just acting generally obsessive in most situations makes Jeffery turn from mental patient from the start of the film into the films terrifying wild card by the end of it, and although the plot twist may not have let Jeffery's character shine as much as was expected of him, his character is the perfect diversion for the film's real villain.

Figure 4: Madeline Stowe
Madeleine Stowes character Kathryn Railly is the only real character who has some glaring problems, the main issue being is the relationship build-up with James Cole. From the very start her character is very strong, but then as the story begins to pick up for no reason she turns from the strong female character into a stereotypical clingy damsel in distress with a hint of madness. It's quite hard to understand how Kathryn goes from these two states with the short amount of time she spends with one man. It's a shame because her character was built so strongly from the start but just collapsed towards the end.

Overall this film is a very good watch, but should definitely be seen after you have seen 'La Jettee' for some seriously nice comparisons. To see how a film can directly influence new media is super interesting to watch and is an experience that no-one should really miss out on. "The movie is not, however, a straightforward action thriller."( R Ebert. 1996) Whilst the film can be confusing it has super interesting characters, brilliant set design, and a soundtrack which can't really be forgotten. This film is an old generation remade for a modern audience and it shines very well despite its flaws.



Bibliography

Leydon, J. (1996) ‘Monkey shines’.
At: http://www.houstonpress.com/film/monkey-shines-6571964
(Accessed on 23 September 2016)

Savlov, M. (1996) Film review: Twelve monkeys. 
(Accessed on 23 September 2016)

Ebert, R (1996) 12 Monkeys
At: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/12-monkeys-1996
(Accessed on 23 September 2016)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Maya Tutorials: Model Posing 22/09/2016

Just practicing some of my posing skills in Maya, it got updated so everything seems a little out of place but nothing that can't be memorized.

Monday, 12 September 2016

@ Phil: Group Project 12/09/2016


Our second year of university is about to start, we've had about three or four months of chill time so I'm raring to get started whatever mysteries and adventures we're all about to embark on.

I'm happy to announce that our group 'Stride Animation' is up and running.



We're still doing some stuff with the branding and blog but expect to see those in their full glory in the future.

Really looking forward to being back and working with the rest of the team to get some rad results for this Christmas!


http://strideanimation.blogspot.co.uk/