Tag Archive: media


There Will Be Blood and The Golden Compass show that religion is a touchy subject in film. The religious and parental banning of books and films has been a constant battle against artistic integrity. There really is no art without politics.blbig.jpg

There Will Be Blood features an outstanding performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as an pioneer oilman in the 1920s. The film assimilates Daniel’s growing business to the budding career of a fanatical televangelist-like preacher, Eli. I think this article got the message half right. It pits Eli and Plainview on opposite ends of the spectrum, one a self-serving atheist and the other a radical Christian. A few characters, like Plainview’s son H.W. , manage a middle road of virtue.

The movie upset a small percentage of movie-goers because of its negative display of Eli as a religious figure. Essentially the message is that evil exists on both sides of the spectrum. H.W. and his wife are morally sound people who chose to live a moderate life. The couple are involved in a church which appears from the short clip of their wedding to be Catholic.

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Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series and an “outspoken British atheist”, is accused of being “anti-God, anti-religion, or anti-Christians”. The story, The Golden Compass, follows a young girl, Lyra Belzqua, as she attempts to save her kidnapped friend and unravels the corruption of the Magistrium. The movie did not fare too well in theaters, which Christian fundamentalist like to take credit for. The protest centered around the idea that children may not have the cognitive capacity to recognize the difference between the corrupt “Magistrate” and its connection with the Vatican leaders.

Critics feared the possibility of a sequel because the last install The Amber Spyglass evidently kills a character named God. The author claimed the intention was to show the corruption of religious groups when they gain absolute political control. The character God in the book is supposed to represent a false deity.

I love this quote from comedian Jim Gaffigan, “Have you ever read a book that changed your life? -Neither have I.” Movies have the same idea.

The point of film is to see a new perspective of an issue, not completely change everyone’s mind. If a person’s opinion can be swayed by a two hour presentation, namely a film, it was not that important to them in the first place.

Edit: A lot of readers seem to be looking for Daniel Day-Lewis’s personal religion. He was born Jewish according to this thorough biography. I am not sure if that is merely his heritage or his religion. There was no mention of whether he practiced the faith or not. He lives quite a turbulent life with a diverse dating record and a avid hatred of the press.

I decided to further investigate into his life and religious affiliation in an updated post, Daniel Day-Lewis On Religion.

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There has been striking moments on television recently where celebrities have lashed out at the media. The irony is not lost here. Honestly how can you destroy the soapbox you are standing on?

The most recent example I saw was Montell Williams. There was a lot of controversy over this because the network decided to end his show after he went on the news. He was being interviewed about Heath Ledger’s death. I am not sure why he would be a good speaker on the subject when he never met Heath. Although Heath Ledger’s death was a tragedy, I completely agree it should not top the nightly news discussion everyday. I think that news had become stale at that point. If there is no updates and it has come down to speculation there has to be some more important things going on in the world.

Lewis Black also had a quite funny spaz attack when he did an interview. He demanded CNN remove the crawl (computer banners, and news ticklers). He had a point. Our attention spans have gone to shit. Nickelodeon does not have any shot last more than two seconds. That does not even that into account that most people are multitasking while watching TV. He actually got some response for the network. They pulled all of the images from his interview after he started his rant.

Meet the Spartans is a perfect example of why there are no new ideas in the media or entertainment industry. Even the most innovative ideas have some source. Creatures from horror movies, romantic comedies and twist endings may seem new but are only modernized classics. It is no surprise that there is now an entire chain of movies that relies on that concept.

Most people over the age of 13 think that spoofs are a bad concept. They have a few “ha” moments, if they get lucky, but taking something a lot of people have seen and tearing it apart only appeals to a select few. Why would I have any interest in watching 300, to begin with, if I am just going to watch a spoof? Not every movie has to be intellectually stimulating or some timeless classic but nobody is going to sit through a movie if it isn’t appealing or entertaining.

Meet the Spartans

The latest installment of the spoof genre, Meet the Spartans, is no exception. Its predecessors, Scary Movie, Date Movie and Epic Movie, became a competition to see which filmmaker can be more obscene. There were no attempts at scriptwriting, with the movie being a word-for-word copy of 300 with a stupid gay joke, sexual reference or celebrity appearance added every third line.

I really don’t think I need to state much evidence to my argument that spoofs are social commentary at its worse. They pretty much speak for themselves. As a society, we indulge in a lot of silly obsessions: celebrity watching and a cruel sense of humor including dick and fart jokes. I am not saying those don’t have their place, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith has made quite an entertaining career out of the latter, but I am saying these jokes are more enjoyable with some kind of plot behind the movie, even to a twelve-year old boy. Half an hour or more of dick and fart jokes is painful for any self-respecting person to sit through.

I am not saying it is wrong to make fun of trends or celebrities. Britney, K Fed and Paris all deserve some heckling. It isn’t smart to give them more attention than the opening line on late night show, however.

Speaking of spoofs, I read this article on censorship and thought it was quite entertaining.

Movies may need to boost their effects in order to keep up with changing displays. The movie The Bucket List opened to mixed reviews. The movie had fine acting, a sentimental yet comedic, tearjerker plot, and an underdeveloped look into the struggle of cancer patients. The message was good and I don’t believe there is a critic that can argue that.

There was a bigger problem than the script for me. I watched the film in a theater with Digital projection. The biggest difference is there are no scratches, or burns. Generally it make for a slightly improved experience. It is just an overall clearer picture. A simplistic technical explaination is a movie can either come on a film reel or a harddrive.

Green Screen

The Bucket List used superimposed backgrounds in a lot of its scenes or green/blue screen. Essentially two images are combined or layered to look like one scene. I have come to associate this with campy television or reporting. The effect looked horrible. I am looking for responses from DV-Forums to see how the new formats change their output. I am really interested in what can be improved and what effects if anything are being abandoned.

 

The best example I could find

This image of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson from The Bucket List is the best example I could find. This is an attempt to make it look like Nicholson and Freeman are sitting atop a desert pyramid in Egypt. There are much more blantant examples of flaws in the actual film. The director tried to cram in a bunch of backgrounds to look like Nicholson and Freeman traveled the world but the settings looked cheap.

Maybe the technology is not to blame here by how this one film utilized it. I am not against the tool it has been used many times and worked well. I am saying if the technology is skewing it, it maybe time to upgrade.

Jessica Alba

I’ll start off with something recent The Eye. Sydney played by Jessica Alba receives a more than miraculous corona transplant that allows her to see the spiritual realm. I have no problem with them bringing up corneal transplants, often referred to as corneal graphs. That is real procedure, uncommon because most patients are better suited with custom contact lens.

The first thing that began to bother me was the recovery time. After a few weeks of bloodshot eyes and blurred vision Sydney was seeing crystal clear. According to a studyThe healing process following transplant is long, often taking and year or longer. The time from surgery to the removal of the stitches is commonly 6 to 17 months“.
There was one line that really killed my guest and myself. Sidney stated that she rejected the first graft she received when she was a child. Again according to Troutman and Lawless, that is not completely unbelievable, nearly 11% of patients have this problem with one or both eyes.

The psychiatrist played that off responding that stem cells had made it now possible. I am really surprised that line made it past writers, editors and directors all naive enough to let that appear on screen further misinforming the public in lieu of good storytelling. “Recent scientific developments have shown promise for people suffering from corneal blindness and transplant failure. The advent of artificial and bioengineered corneas may open the world of vision to many struggling to cope without sight.” I still have a problem with this, laws on stem cells limit the number and testing; the truth being testing is way behind this miracle transplant presented to be viable.

2006-NOV-10: U.S./UK: Major breakthrough in overcoming blindness: A joint Anglo-American medical team at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, England has successfully transplanted adult stem cells from the eyes of normal mouse fetuses into the eyes of blind mice. The stem cells developed into mature photoreceptors in the retina and transmitted signals to the brain. The scientists believe that clinical trials on blind people could start in ten years. Scientists hope that they will eventually be able to use embryonic stem cells or adult stem cells from within the person’s eye and avoid the problem of tissue rejection.

We are still at least eight years from this procedure having any possiblity in the real world.

Movie Kisses

After some deep consideration I decided to reboot my efforts to make a half interesting blog. That being said I realized the plights of my social and academic life interest only myself and a select handful of my good friends. I do live in a world saturated by the ever changing media world. I am a viewer, a distributor (that might be a stretch in some people’s eyes) and a student with high hopes of some kind of career dealing with the media.

Although my job 99% of the time is full time babysitter to a bunch of sixteen year olds , I am required to be an articulate critic and manage some promotional material. I find a lot of the time I can notice something in a movie, play, song, etc that others don’t and I have wanted a platform where I can make my arguments.

I am not a history buff pointing of the number of historical inaccuracies in The Patriot, to which there are a lot. I am not arguing that the movie industry has to be correct about every fact, it’s entertainment, not a history or science classroom. I just know when something doesn’t feel right.