Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Shining (1980) Film Review Stanley Kubrick

The Shining (1980) Film Review Stanley Kubrick

Figure 1    

The Shining is a psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1980. The story follows a fathers decline into total insanity after being left to look after a huge hotel that had been closed for the winter. 
When watching the film, all sorts of ideas occur to how Jack, our main character, loses his sanity. One of these would be due the massive isolation that the whole family experiences. As soon as the film starts we are shown vast landscapes with not a single piece of human existence in sight, we hear that when Jack comes for an interview with the hotel owner that he made the trip in 3 and a half hours. These elements show the audience how far away from civilization the family are. The sense of isolation is then worsened when the hotel is struck by a snow storm, leaving the family stranded in the wilderness. It is said that "Kubrick gives us the eerie, colossal, brilliantly lit spaces of the Overlook Hotel" (Bradshaw, 2012). This quote can be backed up with an example, such as a strange shot that overlooks the hotels maze (Fig. 2). As the camera zooms out from the center of the maze, the paths seem to go on and on without us ever seeing the exit to the maze. This could perhaps represent the entrapment Jack's body feels; there is no way out. 

Figure 2  

The strangeness and twisted feel of the film is also achieved through the incredibly set shots. We are constantly shown images of symmetry and patterns. By these scenes of symmetry being shown so often it starts to create a twisted atmosphere; everything in the hotel seems too perfect and straight however the mind of Jack is the complete opposite. Examples of this would be the maze, the patterned carpet seen throughout the hotel (Fig. 3) and the famous line "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." repeated thousands of times on page after page of Jacks 'work'. Kubrick also uses his trademark way of shooting scenes using one point perspective. All these straight shots down corridors and enormous rooms once again create a strange and peculiar atmosphere to the hotel. "The clarity of the photography and the weird perspectives constantly alluding to Torrance's twisted state of mind." (Nathan, s.d.).


Figure 3  

The Shining has been a massive influence on the world of film and is widely renowned as one of the great classic horror films. Kubrick's "superlative horror puzzle-box still spooks and spellbinds after all these years." (Clark, 2012). The film has influenced many other creations seen all over the world today, ranging from music videos such as 30 Seconds to Mars' 'The Kill', to homages seen in television series such as Hannibal and The Simpsons, seen in Figure 4 and 5 below. 


Figure 4 & 5    



Bibliography

Bradshaw, P (2012) The Shining (1980) The Shining Review, In: The Guardian [online], At:http://www.theguardian.com/film/2012/nov/01/the-shining-review (Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Nathan, I (s.d.) The Shining Film Review, http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132700
(Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Clark, A (2012) The Shining Review, http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/theatrical-reviews/the-shining-22374  (Accessed on 28/11/2013)


Illustrations 

Figure 1, The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick [Film Poster] UK/USA, Warner Bros, http://images.moviefanatic.com/iu/v1364991695/the-shining-poster.jpg (Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Figure 2, The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] UK/USA, Warner Bros, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8ncbdnKcYbE/UTQJwhTNORI/AAAAAAAAQpA/Sn57si_bobo/s1600/Shiningmaze.jpg (Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Figure 3, The Shining (1980) Stanley Kubrick [Film Still] UK/USA, Warner Bros, http://files.tested.com/photos/2013/08/16/52187-622609-shining_bike.jpg (Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Figure 4, The Simpsons - Treehouse of Horror V (1994) Matt Groening [Television Still] USA, 20th Century Fox Television, http://25.media.tumblr.com/84275172468256cb0a01f5f85caba9e7/tumblr_mkz1osvS1H1r64jflo3_250.jpg (Accessed on 28/11/2013)

Figure 5, Hannibal (2013) Bryan Fuller [Television Still] USA, Dino De Laurentiis Company, http://24.media.tumblr.com/c44c920248f6480fec6f98db0db12882/tumblr_mo5dbuAMAp1qki57ko1_500.jpg (Accessed on 28/11/2013)


 
 


Monday, 25 November 2013

Repulsion (1965) Film Review Roman Polanski

Repulsion (1965) Film Review Roman Polanski 

Figure 1

Repulsion is a British psychological horror film created in 1965 by Roman Polanski. The plot of the film follows the deterioration into madness of the main character, Carole, mainly revolving around men. There are many theories too the meaning behind the film and why Carole turns to insanity. One of these is the idea that Carole was abused sexually as a child. This would then connect to the fear and revulsion towards men Carole shows throughout the film, for example, the furious brushing of teeth and washing of her face after she kisses a persistent male follower. This almost seems like Carole is trying to "rid herself of some dread disease transmitted by men." (Viola, 2008) As we progress through the film we find ourselves being shown multiple horrific rape scenes by faceless men, this could relate to the flashbacks of child abuse experienced as a child. We also see Carole putting on lipstick and dressing up before we see another scene of abuse, this then suggests that the abuse was so common that she eventually started to prepare herself for the horror that was about to take place.
At the end of the film we also see a family picture showing Carole as a child. The image shows the girl in a way that she is completely separated from the normal world. We can see fear and disturbance in the eyes of the poor young girl. (Figure 2)


Figure 2

Polanski also makes each scene of abuse so much more painful through the use of sound. He uses continuous repetitive sounds to make the scene so uncomfortable and almost awkward, for example, one scene of rape is "played out to the amplified ticking clock" (Bradshaw, 2013). This makes the scene feel so much more endless and leaves the audience wanting the scene to be over. Polanski also uses silence in many scenes, this then creates a sense that the scene seems to be dragging on for a lifetime. The whole film is made to make the audience to feel uncomfortable, its not meant to make you want to watch it over and over again, but to make you want the end to come. This could be to try and put the viewer in the shoes of the abused Carole; constantly wanting the pain to be over.

Figure 3

The main theme of the film is to show Carole's deterioration into insanity and so Polanski achieves this by using the set and environment shown in each scene. We first encounter hints of this when we see cracks appearing in the street and in the apartment. As we progress through the film, these cracks become more and more common as Carole's brain develops into madness, as seen in Figure 4. This can then represent the splits and tears in the sanity and mind of the poor abused french girl. It was also said that "Small cracks in the walls of the apartment flow into crunching indicators of the heroine's crumbling mind" (Crowther, 1965). Towards the end of the film we also see the apartment turning into a nightmare of distortion, perhaps to represent the warped cage that the main characters mind is so horribly trapped in. 

Figure 4




Bibliography

Viola, M (2008) Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965) http://notesofafilmfanatic.com/?p=18 (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Bradshaw, P (2013) Repulsion (1965) Repulsion Review, In: The Guardian [online], At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jan/03/repulsion-review (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Crowther, B (1965) Repulsion (1965) Repulsion Review, In: The New York Times [online], At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF1739E471BC4C53DFB667838E679EDE (Accessed on 25/11/2013)


Illustrations

Figure 1, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Poster] UK, Compton Films, http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Nq5VyQnjpbY/Tjh5TqGfGaI/AAAAAAAAAEM/sOSUoO_G5Jc/s1600/Poster-Repulsion2.jpg (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 2, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Xh8OsdXukAM/TQE_ugl11oI/AAAAAAAAAh4/vOvtpJWZ8H8/s1600/repulsion+photo.jpg (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 3, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, http://ilarge.listal.com/image/833405/968full-repulsion-screenshot.jpg (Accessed on 25/11/2013)

Figure 2, Repulsion (1965) Roman Polanski [Film Still] UK, Compton Films, http://www.horrordvds.com/reviews/n-z/repulsion/repulsion_shot25l.jpg (Accessed on 25/11/2013)


Feedback Needed - Final Concept Colour Ideas





After receiving feedback from my OGR, I needed to make my scene look more alien crafted and feminine. I also needed to add in some more otherworldly colours and so these are some of the results I came up with. I'd appreciate any feedback about these ideas and any other ideas put forward.

Texturing Part 2 - UV Maps Tutorial

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Black Narcissus (1947) Film Review Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Black Narcissus (1947) Film Review Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Figure 1  


Black Narcissus is a 1947 psychological drama film directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. This film was adapted from the novel written by Rumer Godden in 1939. 
As soon as we enter the Himilayas in this classic film we are confronted already by incredible landscapes. We see endless views over mountain peaks and sharp cliff faces, however these were not filmed on an extravagant set location but just the amazing use of matte paintings. These paintings can create an otherworldly feel to the whole picture without even using CGI. The landscapes were created by blowing up black and white photos and then coloring them with pastel chalks. This then allowed Alfred Junge (Art Director) to conjur up all sorts of landscapes. For example, he was able to create a freezing cold scene by simply using colour in the amazing backdrops. Peter Bradshaw explains that "The studio sets and backdrops are superbly and still convincingly rendered" (Bradshaw, 2005). These backdrops where also used to create vertigo ridden camera shots to give new and original perspective views to the film, seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2    


As we move the through the film you see and feel a change in mood in every scene; this could be due to the changes in lighting. When the film opens, each scene is shown in bright daylight with virtually not a grey cloud in sight, and so we consider that there is nothing peculiar about the film at all and everything is completely normal. However, as the film continues, especially towards the end, the scenes seem to be getting very dark and gloomy. There are scenes of blood red sunsets and dark black night time as we move "towards the film's almost Gothic climax." (Mirasol, 2010) The changes in lighting in this film help to create an ever changing atmosphere around the set and possibly to represent the deterioration into Sister Ruth's madness. It is common that evil can be represented by using dark and black colours.    

Also, as we are finally confronted by the "sexually charged ambience that wreaks mental and metaphysical havoc on the frenzied Sister Ruth" (Uhlich, 2012), we notice a change in appearance of the nun. Sister Ruth is now wearing a dark red dress accompanied by blood red lipstick; this could have also been used to show the decendency into madness using these colours. It also could have been used as a symbol of rebellion. The film shows Sister Ruth releasing her vows and quit being a nun due to falling in love with Mr Dean; this could be considered as a rebellion against the convent. Another word that is related to rebellion is 'Anarchy', furthermore the symbol for this word is majorly seen using the colour red, much like the colour of Sister Ruth's dress and lips. 

Figure 3  

 Links can be made from Sister Ruth's appearance to modern cinema, such as Inglorious Basterds directed by Quentin Tarantino.  Towards the end of the film we see a main character (Shosanna), dressed in a red dress and lipstick (Figure 4) commit an extreme act of rebellion in which she slaughters many Nazi leaders. The colour she is wearing could have been used to represent anarchy.

Figure 4    



Bibliography 

Bradshaw, P (2005) Black Narcissus (1947) Black Narcissus Review, In: The Guardian [online], At: http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2005/aug/05/3 (Accessed on 13/11/2013) 

Mirasol, M (2010) "Black Narcissus," which electrified Scorsese, http://www.rogerebert.com/far-flung-correspondents/black-narcissus-which-electrified-scorsese (Accessed on 13/11/2013)
 
Uhlich, K (2012) Black Narcissus Film Review, http://www.timeout.com/us/film/black-narcissus-3 (Accessed on 13/11/2013)


Illustrations

Figure 1, Black Narcissus (1947) Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger [Film Poster] UK, Archers, http://drfreex.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/blacknarcissuslobby3.jpg (Accessed on 13/11/2013)

Figure 2, Black Narcissus (1947) Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger [Film Still] UK, Archers, http://www.shadowlocked.com/images/stories/LISTS/50_best_matte_paintings/Black_Narcissus_LARGE.jpg (Accessed on 13/11/2013)

Figure 3, Black Narcissus (1947) Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger [Film Still] UK, Archers, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_96uP6vDZMT8/Sli0cbpyHnI/AAAAAAAABpk/1CPB5sb6rRk/s400/BLACK+NARCISSUS1.jpg (Accessed on 13/11/2013)
 
Figure 4, Inglorious Basterds (2009) Quentin Tarantino [Film Still] USA, Universal Pictures, http://www.ouchpress.com/melanie-laurent/images/422843.html (Accessed on 13/11/2013)


Friday, 8 November 2013

Edward Scissorhands (1990) Review Tim Burton

Edward Scissorhands (1990) Review Tim Burton

Figure 1  

                          
Edward Scissorhand is a romantic fantasy film directed by Tim Burton in 1990, starring Johnny Depp. The scene for the film is set in an unnatural suburb with a grey mountain on which sits a Gothic mansion in which Edward lives. The suburban enclave seems completely fake due to its bright pastel coloured houses and every thing seeming to be too perfect (Fig. 2). Janet Maslin describes the suburb "where the houses huddle together like a candy-colored wagon train" (Maslin, 1990). The setting of the film feels so small and makes it seem to the audience that there is nothing outside of the suburb and that it really is a specially built set for a film. The audience is never shown anything else in the world except from the mansion and the suburban enclave, this therefore creates a strange atmosphere around the setting. This is then twinned with the people that live in this area as the majority of the residents don't seem to be completely sane, "Everyone in this film is stylized and peculiar" (Ebert, 1990).

Figure 2   


When we first encounter the setting of the film we immediately cast assumptions about the area. We usually consider bright, clean colours to represent good and happy, whereas dark, sharp colours usually represent evil; and this is what Burton wanted to lead us to believe. However as the film unfolds, this turns out to be quite the opposite. We find out that the darkly clothed Edward who "is denounced as a freak, a fake, a demon" (Travers, 1990) is a completely innocent character who only wants to help the community. Where in fact, the suburb community turns out to be the only evil in the area. This was possibly used a a message to the audience to not judge something by its appearance, but by its personality and story.

Throughout the film, we are constantly reminded that we are watching a Tim Burton film. His style seems to resonate through the majority of his films almost making each piece seem as though it is part of a series. Links can be made to the appearance of Edward and Beetlejuice, both shown with out of control hair and pale complexion. (Fig. 3) 
Figure 3   

There is also a large similarity between the attic of the mansion seen in Edward Scissorhands and the barber shop seen in the Sweeney Todd film, also directed by Tim Burton. (Fig. 4,5) 

Figure 4   
Figure 5   



Bibliography

Maslin, J 
(1990) 
Edward Scissorhands (1990)Review/Film; And So Handy Around The Garden
In: The New York Times
[online]

At: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C0CE2D81338F934A35751C1A966958260&partner=Rotten%2520Tomatoes
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Ebert, R (1990)
Edward Scissorhands Film Review
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/edward-scissorhands-1990
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Travers, P (1990)
Edward Scissorhands Film Review
http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/edward-scissorhands-19901214
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)


Illustrations

Figure 1
Edward Scissorhands
(1990)
Tim Burton, [Film Poster], USA, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Xy4Hk-k00c8/UQwpKkYxFvI/AAAAAAAAGJo/h2RZ1uFt5Ao/s1600/1990-edward-scissorhands-poster1.jpg
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Figure 2
Edward Scissorhands
(1990)
Tim Burton, [Film Still], USA, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
http://www.imcdb.org/i029148.jpg
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Figure 3
Beetlejuice
(1988)
Tim Burton, [Film Still], USA, Geffen Company
http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23800000/-Beetlejuice-beetlejuice-the-movie-23838745-1360-768.jpg
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Figure 4 
Edward Scissorhands
(1990)
Tim Burton, [Film Still], USA, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
http://dispatchmag.com/wp-content/uploads/Edward-Scissorhands-the-attic-resembles-sweeney-todd.png
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Figure 5
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
(2007)
Tim Burton, [Film Still], USA/UK, Warner Bros.
http://www.dvdactive.com/images/reviews/screenshot/2008/4/st.jpg
(Accessed on 8/11/2013)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hero Prop Idea/Draft - Venusian Sorceress

 Just a quick draft of an idea I had for a hero prop. Welcoming any feedback/other ideas.