Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Secret Lair Of...

Venusian Sorceress


Venusian [vɪˈnjuːzɪən]

adj
(Astronomy) of, occurring on, or relating to the planet Venus
n
(Astronomy) (in science fiction) an inhabitant of Venus
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


Sorceress (ˈsɔr sər ɪs)
n.
a woman who practices sorcery; witch.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Anglo-French sorceresse]
usage: See -ess.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Alien (1979) Review Ridley Scott

Alien (1979) Review Ridley Scott

                                                                          Figure 1


Alien is a Science-Fiction/ Horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The film has gone on to become one of the most famous in its genre and proceeded to have 3 sequels, two crossover films with Predator and a prequel. 

Alien is a classic horror due to its endless use of suspense and scenes with all sorts jumping out at the audience to really get them off they're feet. One way this suspense is created is the slow paced and long duration scenes that seem to go on for a lifetime. You find yourself following a character around the environment expecting something to jump out at any second, but nothing happens. As you carry on watching the scene unfold, the more the audience becomes on edge and finally Scott hits with the terrifying creature at the most unexpected moment. The director also uses audio to enhance this technique. You often find yourself in silent corridors and rooms with nothing but the occasional drip or the clinking of metal, this therefore heightens the terror when something does finally jumps out. Roger Ebert describes it that "One of the great strengths of "Alien" is its pacing. It takes its time. It waits. It allows silences." (Ebert, 2003)

                                                                           Figure 2

Lighting is also used very well in this film to create atmospheres. One scene in particular uses lighting very well and this is the scene when Ripley is racing to get to the escape shuttle as seen in Figure 3. In this scene we experience pipes smoking, alarms, count down to self destruction and flickering lights. The strobe lighting in this scene creates a very unstable and uncomfortable atmosphere for the audience. It also creates a sense of panic and makes the scene very fast paced due to ongoing flashes of light. "The scene is completely exhausting and frightening." (Milo, 2012)


                                                                          Figure 3

 Alien produces an added sense of terror by they way it makes you feel as though you are in the film. One example of this would be the One Point Perspective used in the scene with Dallas crawling through Nostromo's air shafts, seen in Figure 4. The perspective draws the eye only to Dallas who is confined to this tight space with nothing but dim lights to highlight the character; this really makes the audience feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. It has been said that Scott created "a sweaty little world on its own that responds ideally to his obsessive close-ups and restless, magnifying style." (Malcolm, 2009)
Scott also uses first person perspective in his film to really put the audience in the heat of the action; this can be seen in the Nostromo meltdown sequence again. The shaking camera puts you in the eyes of Ripley as she runs through the ship making every turn incredibly tense because of what could be lurking around the corner.
                                                                            Figure 4




Bilbliography

Ebert, R (2003)
Alien Film Review
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-alien-1979
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Milo, S (2012)
Alien Film Review
http://basedonnothing.net/2012/10/12/scene-discussion-alien/
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Malcolm, D (2009)
Alien Film Review
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/oct/13/derek-malcolm-alien-review
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)


Illustrations

Figure 1, 1979, Alien, Ridley Scott, Film Poster, United States/United Kingdom, Brandywine Productions
http://theshootening.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/alien-poster.jpeg
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Figure 2, 1979, Alien, Ridley Scott, Film Still, United States/United Kingdom, Brandywine Productions
http://www.avpuniverse.com/images/articles/1/114_brett.jpg
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Figure 3, 1979, Alien, Ridley Scott, Film Still, United States/United Kingdom, Brandywine Productions
http://basedonnothing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/alienscene-610x250.jpg
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Figure 4, 1979, Alien, Ridley Scott, Film Still, United States/United Kingdom, Brandywine Productions
http://cinetropolis.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Alien-Dallas-1024x576.png
(Accessed on 23/10/2013)

Monday, 21 October 2013

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Review Stanley Kubrick

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Review Stanley Kubrick

                                                            Figure 1

2001: A Space Odyssey is a Science-fiction film released in 1968 and directed by Stanley Kubrick. A Space Odyssey has become one of the most iconic science fiction films created today for many reasons and veers away from contemporary film making and creates what most people think as an unforgettable picture.

 A Space Odyssey is less about the storyline or the plot of the film, but more in creating beautiful scenes and landscapes that don't require any dialogue or action to entice the audience. Roger Ebert describes it as "This is the work of an artist so sublimely confident that he doesn't include a single shot simply to keep our attention. He reduces each scene to its essence, and leaves it on screen long enough for us to contemplate it, to inhabit it in our imaginations." (Ebert, 1997). When watching the film, you don't feel as though you are actually watching a film, you feel as though it is a work of art that should be playing on a loop in an art gallery.  

 Many scenes in the production leave the audience pondering and questioning what is happening and the meaning behind each scene. For example, the recurrence of the Monolith leaves us wondering upon the significance of what is happening in that scene. Fig. 2 

Figure 2

Throughout the film, we constantly view one point perspective scenes that encourages us to focus on what Kubrick wants our eyes to be drawn to. Also considering that man hadn't even walked on the moon when this film was created, further heightens the magnificence of the the special effects used for this film, in which the BBC agrees with this quote, "stark visual power that lends this piece of cinema its famous visionary qualities" (Haflidason, 2001). A lot of the scenes in this picture leave us with the question "how did they do that?" constantly popping into our heads, such as the air hostess simply walking on the ceiling wearing her 'grip shoes'. This type of special effects can be seen in a more modern film; Inception. A fight scene in particular that contained characters tumbling around a gravity shifting corridor makes the audience appreciate the technical achievement behind the scene. 

 Figure 3                                                                          Figure 4


Kubrick also makes this film a masterpiece using audio. On various occasions we encounter scenes with deadly silences and ear piercing ringing. This all helps to create a massive sense of suspense and "in essence returning cinema to its roots of pure audio/visual augmentation." (Humanick, 2007). Suspense and eeriness is also created using simply the sinister voice of Hal. This single voice creates an uncomfortable feeling to the scene leading to a strange atmosphere.
Figure 5




Bibliography

Ebert, R (1997)
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-2001-a-space-odyssey-1968
(Accessed on 21/10/2013)

Haflidason, A (2001)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2000/09/18/2001_review.shtml
(Accessed on 21/10/2013)

Humanick, R (2007)
http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/2001-a-space-odyssey
(Accessed on 21/10/2013) 


Images

Figure 1, 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, Film Poster, England, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
http://andygeddon.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/2001.jpg
(Accessed on 21/10/2013) 

Figure 2, 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, Film Still, England, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
http://filmgrab.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/6-monolith1.png
(Accessed on 21/10/2013) 

Figure 3, 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, Film Still, England, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_7J_WGI7Jygw/S45mKRAtU-I/AAAAAAAAEuU/9fjjLiftcgE/s320/2001+A+Space+Odyssey+Pic+040.jpg
(Accessed on 21/10/2013) 

Figure 4, 2010, Inception, Christopher Nolan, Film Still, USA, Warner Bros. 
http://www.empireonline.com/images/uploaded/inception-corridor-fight-scene.jpg
(Accessed on 21/10/2013)

Figure 5,  1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, Film Still, England, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120930175630/epicrapbattlesofhistory/images/9/9f/HAL_9000.jpg
(Accessed on 21/10/2013)
 




  

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

King Kong (1933) Review Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

King Kong (1933) Review
Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack


King Kong is a black and white adventure-fantasy film with hints of horror directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The film has been a classed as iconic and a must see to any film fanatic, since its original release in 1933 it has had two remakes made from the story, one in 1976 and the most recent in 2005. 

King Kong has been well renowned for its incredible use of special effects, both in the 1933 original and the 2005 remake. Willis O'Brien's use of special effects in the picture contributed largely to the films success, using a variety of methods such as live action, back projection, stop-motion animation, miniatures, models and matte paintings. A statement has been said that the film achieved "a sophistication and beauty that eclipsed anything that went before." (Ebert, 2002). 
The films set design also let the audience delve into worlds they had never seen before. Due to the fact that in 1933 much less holidays and visits were taken abroad than today, the films design of forests and jungles let the audience see what it is like in other countries. This film looked as though Skull Island had been based on an African tribe which today can be classed as very racist and stereotypical. 

Positives and negatives can be drawn from both the original King Kong and the 2005 remake of the classic. First of all, the advancement in technology let Peter Jackson create a much more realistic Kong with almost entirely CGI. This allowed the audience to feel emotions towards the creature, such as feeling sorry for Kong when he has been dragged to a place where he didn't belong. This was harder to achieve however in the 1933 original due to basic effects that were had hand.  
However the remake lacks the originality that the 1993 version has. After watching the original after the remake, Cooper and Schoedsack's version feels like an entirely different film due to its incredible use of effects compared to other films of its time. "The film endures because of the timelessness of its central story and the care that went into its creation." (Film 4, s.d.).

 
 
King Kong since its release is one of the great classics of all time and will be viewed by hundreds of generations to come due to its fantastic feat in special effects and all round enticing adventure story line. "King Kong is the father of "Jurassic Park," the "Alien" movies and countless other stories in which heroes are terrified by skillful special effects." (Ebert, 2002).


Bibliography

Ebert, R (2002) 
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-king-kong-1933 
(Accessed on 15/10/2013)

Film 4 (s.d.) 
http://www.film4.com/reviews/1933/king-kong
(Accessed on 15/10/2013)


Images 

1 - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f3/Kingkongposter.jpg
     (Accessed on (15/10/2013)

2 - http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/5-king-kong-1933-granger.jpg
     (Accessed on (15/10/2013)

3 - http://www.energyenhancement.org/King%2520Kong%25202005%25201-720028.jpg
     (Accessed on (15/10/2013)

4 - http://www.doblu.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/kingkong12203.jpg
     (Accessed on (15/10/2013)



Saturday, 5 October 2013

Digital Painting Scene 3

Scene 3





The third scene I have chosen to create is only mentioned in a small section of the excerpt I was given. The scene describes a "font of crystal water" inside of a huge cave. Although this set isn't described in high detail, it still gave me a lot of ideas to use for my thumbnails. I wanted to show a small platform only holding the font with just a stone bridge leading off from the platform. Along with this I created a "great central cave" in the background with various rocky hills and mounds, this all leading to the mouth of the cave where the bright light of day is shining through. Once again I added some trees into the scene to show the scale of the cave and increase the perspective.




Digital Painting Scene 2


Scene 2
The second scene I have chosen to use for my digital painting is set viewing the city left in ruins as it just comes into view. For my first thumbnail I tried to create a temple/palace to be the main focus of the image and also included the large stone columns that are mentioned throughout this chapter of the novel. I then wanted to create a more detailed interpretation of the scene. To do this I extended the temple/palace into some rocky mountains; this could be the entrance to the caves and tunnels. Furthermore, I added some trees to the scene, this was to help create a sense of scale.

Digital Painting Scene 1

Scene 1


 The first scene I chose to base one of my digital paintings on is set inside the small tunnels and caves where the group are confronted by the bright fires and thunderous noises. My thumbnails below show thick columns of rock in various distances from the camera almost creating a maze of caves. After drawing the simple thumbnail seen on the left I decided to expand this into a more detail sketch seen on the right.. I added in shading in to show where the fire was coming from, in this case, the left of the scene. I also added a sharp cliff face to the scene to create some more sense of depth.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Metropolis (1927) Review Fritz Lang

Metropolis (1927) Review
Fritz Lang



Metropolis is a silent German expressionistic film directed by Fritz Lang and is considered to be one of the first true Science Fiction films to be created.  The basis of the film is set in a futuristic city where two classes of people are separated by the ground level; the rich upper class living above ground compared to the poor workers living underground. The story involves the son of the city's creator falling in love of with a working class social worker whilst those living underground are planning an uprising against the upper class.

Lang created an incredible masterpiece city which makes it seem that the film is way ahead of its time. "Above ground, it has spires and towers, elevated highways, an Olympian stadium and Pleasure Gardens." (Roger Ebert, 2010) The audience of the film would expect a stunning use of set design considering the immense amount of money spent on the production, "Metropolis consumed resources that would have yielded upwards of 20 conventional features, more than half the studio's entire annual production budget." (Bruce Eder, Date Unknown) Metropolis created the template for many future films for the classic futuristic city and landscapes. When watching the film, certain scenes produce hints of inspiration possibly used by most recent pictures. For example I noticed a large correlation between the Metropolis city and the city planet of Coruscant seen in the Star Wars Saga. (Figure 1).

Figure 1.
                                  (1)                                                                    (2)

Lang also uses a strong sense of cultural diversity ranging from set design to character costumes. The first hint of this would be the scene where Joh Frederson hallucinates and pictures one of the workers machines as huge monster that consumes the workers, "Freder has a vision in which the machinery turns into an obscene, devouring monster" (Roger Ebert, 2010). The monster in this scene reminded me of the Sphinx statues seen in Egypt (3). Another form of culture that may have inspired Lang with his creation is that of Asia. The scene I am referring to is where the robot Maria is dancing and celebrating with the workers. In this scene Maria is wearing a dress and headdress, with a very Asian quality, whilst dancing upon a statue made up of what looks like dragons and other mythical creature which play a part in the Asian culture (4).


                                     (3)                                                                                 (4)

 Once again, Metropolis has made the benchmark for modern cinema and television. Other links to today's pictures revolve around the robot created by the mad scientist, Rotwang. From this character we can draw direct links to the Cybermen used in Doctor Who (5) and the friendly robot servant, C3PO, seen in the Star Wars films (6).
                                              (6)                                   (5)

Bibliography:

1. (Roger Ebert, 2010)
 http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-metropolis-2010-restoration-1927
Accessed 3 October 2013
2. (Bruce Eder, Date Unknown) 
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1013775-metropolis/
Accessed 3 October 2013
3. (Roger Ebert, 2010)
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-metropolis-2010-restoration-1927
Accessed 3 October 2013

Illustrations:

(1) - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/28/Metropolis-new-tower-of-babel.png
        Accessed 3 October 2013
(2) - http://images.wikia.com/swfans/images/f/f5/Coruscant.JPG
        Accessed 3 October 2013
(3) - http://thefilmcricket.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/metropolis-2.jpg
        Accessed 3 October 2013
(4) - http://www.fact.co.uk/media/674269/metropolis_3.jpg
        Accessed 3 October 2013
(5) - http://celebsview.info/wp-content/uploads/tumblr_m4uti8ujT41qa4wx0o2_400.jpg
       Accessed 3 October 2013
(6) - http://images.wikia.com/epicrapbattlesofhistory/images/b/b3/200px-C3PO.jpg
       Accessed 3 October 2013