18 February 2012

The Woman in Black & The Woman in Front

The freedom of having a car is fantastic and something I took full advantage of this week when at the spur of the moment I suggested to Peter that we head to the cinema to see The Woman in Black. A story that has terrified me for a good while now, having seen the old ITV version and the stage play, I was pretty sure there would be points I'd find myself hiding from the screen in this new one. Unfortunately though I found myself hiding from something else entirely!

At the start of the trailers, the Woman in Front had her iPhone out texting. Fair enough I thought its only the trailers and she'll probably turn it off when the film starts.
I couldn't have been more wrong! All the way through the film she was either texting or updating her Facebook status. I eventually had enough and put my feet up on the seat in front and slouched down a bit in order to hide myself from the light of her phone, although she had kindly turned the brightness down before the film started, it really didn't make much of a difference!

This is something I've been experiencing more and more often and it really is getting beyond a joke. What is it with these people that they can't go 90 minutes without their phone or Facebook? Someone please tell me. Do they not think that the light will distract other movie goers? do they care? or do they even know?

I know I wasn't the only one distracted, so my question is would it be frowned upon if I had the guts to kindly tell her to turn it off as it is distracting? 
My other question is, where the hell did all the staff go? I remember cinemas always had an usher in to make sure there was no recording or noise. What happened to that? In the theatre its expected of me to 'Sssshh' people if they're making too much noise and to tell them to turn their phones off. Surely there is something cinema staff can do?

Normally if it's only one person with a phone I'm ok and can just about bear it, but when it comes to a movie like the Woman in Black that uses sound and silence to build up tension, having someone texting and gabbing to their mate about said text can ruin the whole moment!
The thing I don't understand the most is this.  The cinema can cost quite a bit now, so why do folk pay good money to go see a movie that they are going to ignore by playing with their phone?? Go home and watch telly!
Rant over!
The Woman in Black (1989 film)
Image via Wikipedia
As for the movie itself, it was pretty good. Different from the old one and the play and not quite as scary, but still enjoyable. And yes I did eventually end up hiding behind my knees... that bloody rocking chair!!  

Despite looking a bit young for the role,  Daniel Radcliffe did really well and I hope he does more roles like this as time goes on. Sound is used really well, making it feel like an old fashioned horror movie. It made me think of the original version of The Haunting which pretty much used sound and sound alone to scare the pants off the audience!!
So if you like a good scare then its worth seeing, just sit down the front so no one with a phone can shine it in your eyes!

If you want to see it, I'd recommend the 1989 version of the Woman in Black  too and if you ever get the chance to see the play, go for it and enjoy being scared!! (Just don't do what I did at work and sit at the back)

Had any bad cinema experiences lately or have you seen the movie yet? I'd love to hear your thoughts - please comment below or Tweet me

13 February 2012

My First Car

I finally did it. In January I finally passed my driving test and on Saturday I bought my first car!
With the help of my Dad I bought a 1997 1.0L Volkswagen Polo, ok so its not the Volkswagen Bus I've dreamed of, but it IS a Volkswagen and I love it!

My wee car

When I drove it (her? people keep telling me to name it a girls name) it felt amazing. Finally the freedom I knew I'd get when I owned a car. You couldn't wipe the grin of my and Peter's faces as we casually and freely drove to Tesco to get Petrol and an air freshener. It was a fantastic feeling!! 

Now... ROAD TRIP!!

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7 February 2012

Ode to Special FX and the Oscars

It's been a week or so since I watched the Oscar nominations being announced and for the first time I wasn't really interested.
I'll admit I haven't seen all the movies, but you could kind of tell what was going to be nominated. My main bug about them is the amount of nominations War Horse got. Now I loved the book and being a fan of Spielberg I was really looking forward to the movie. I was, however pretty disappointed and couldn't believe the press rated it so highly, but then if its Spielberg, Scorcese or Woody Allen they tend to love it no matter what.
War Horse was brilliantly shot, the cinematography was beautiful and Peter Mullen was subtly great as Alberts father, but it just felt a bit rushed and at two and a half hours I don't understand why. I didn't feel the connection to Joey and Albert that I had in the book or find myself caring too much about them finding each other. War Horse was good, but that's it and it's certainly not one of the best films released in the last year. I just hope the adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will be much better.

As time goes on I've been less and less interested in the main categories and more interested in the ones that don't get shown in the UK broadcast. Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual FX, and the Animation awards.
I love seeing these categories as this is where films that get ignored for the big awards get recognition for their skills and these are the folk that really make movies special!
I studied animation in uni and did a bit of Special FX so I understand (a bit) how certain effects are done, but I am still amazed by the things I see in films now. Nominated this year for Best Visual FX are Hugo, Real Steel, Transformers, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and of course Harry Potter. I've seen all but Hugo and think the effects were brilliant. Harry Potter's visuals have come so far since the 1st film which is fantastic, same with Transformers. Real Steel was a huge surprise - I knew that I'd like it, but I was surprised as to how enjoyable it really was. Planet of the Apes was a given as I loved the original, but again surprised at how much I enjoyed it and the explanation to how it all kicked off was brilliant. The effects just enhance the stories and really immerse real life with imagination!
Now I have heard the words "the special FX are rubbish" (with reference to Transformers) escape the mouth of an animator, among others and I have to say this really winds me up.
Now I understand that action/sci fi/giant robots/wizards and apes taking over the world might not be you're thing, fair enough, but at lest give the FX guys and gals some credit! They make the impossible possible and believable. The integration and compositing is just incredible! Muchos credit to the sound teams too - every punch Atom took in Real Steel made me wince.

I know some folk don't believe it or agree, but what effects artists do takes skill and talent and they work long, hard hours in front of a screen constantly getting every detail spot on.
Special FX and animation have come a long way since Windsor McKay and Orson Welles and we should embrace the evolution of film making. I honestly don't worry about old methods being forgotten and lost as I truly believe that they won't be. People like Georges MélièsRay Harryhausen and the wonderful Stan Winston made movies great and their magic will be remembered and treasured forever!

Thought I'd share this funny video too, it doesn't just apply to VFX folk, living with an animator has proved that! Do it myself sometimes when working with Illustrator. Enjoy :D Beware - there is some swearing!!

I'd love to know how you feel about Special FX or what your favourite movie is. Please leave a comment or Tweet Me

5 February 2012

The Boys Are Back In Town

Or should I say birds...
I heard a lovely sound this morning - birds singing. Winter is over and Spring is on the way. Although someone really should tell the weather in Scotland!

This means that the dark evenings are coming to an end and my over active imagination can stop freaking out about the zombie horde or werewolf that could possibly come crashing through the creepy bushes beside the bus stop as I wait for a driver to (possibly) pick me up. Yes, these things do cross my mind and I believe it was an over exposure to horror movies when I was a child! Michael Jackson & John Landis are mainly to blame for these fears!  Can you guess why??

Michael JacksonMichael Jackson (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

This time of year always brings thoughts of travel to my mind and I long for any one of the number of places I'd love to see, South Africa, Budapest, Vancouver, Disney World, the steps that Rocky runs up in Philadelphia!

Budapest - The most beautiful city I have ever seen!
In true movie lover fashion, most of my dream destinations have been influenced by my favourite films. - Disney and the Lion King are fully responsible for my love of Africa and I know I'll get there someday, but I thought I'd share a different travel dream with you today.

It came out of a conversation between my other half and I. Both of us would like to go to San Francisco to visit Pixar and thought it would be cool to see Alcatraz too and then we got talking about a certain Michael Bay film.  Now I should point out that we are both big fans of Mr Bay and action movies in general and are openly mocked for this by quite a few people, but we are proud of our movie nerd status' and continue watching our mindless, but amazingly shot action films all the same!
 Anywhoo, one of the best action movies of all time, in my opinion, is The Rock . As Peter and I got to know each other, we discovered a joint love of Nic Cage, Michael Bay movies, the music of Hans Zimmer and the film itself, so it's kind of a personal movie for us and therefore would make a brilliant theme to our dream trip to the West Coast of America.

The RockThe Rock (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)

We would visit the Palace of Arts, the Fairmont Hotel, The Golden Gate Bridge and of course Alcatraz. We'd also visit Pixar in Emmeryville and possibly swing by LA in a quick homage to Die Hard too!

After that, we'd come home and start planning our Die Hard With a Vengence/Rocky trip of the East Coast!

This is all in our dreams of course and we're going to have to wait a good while until we could ever afford a trip to San Francisco, I think a lottery win would definitely come in handy!

So with that I would like to wish all you lucky people making travel plans - Happy Trails and Yippe Kai Yay!

Would love to hear of anyone's amazing trips around the world. Leave a comment or Tweet me.

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3 February 2012

Sketchbook - Fun & Potatos

I thought I'd share a quick doodle I did last night!

Was feeling a bit blue this week and needed some cheering up. After reading 2 inspiring posts by fellow bloggers Gisele and Leanne, I picked myself up, found a funny post on my other half's Rival Animation Facebook group and drew this.

I have to say, I've not been happier with one of my own creations for a while. I've been happy with commissions, but not my personal work. I find this amazing, that something so daft and silly can make me a happy bunny again!

Happy bunnyHappy bunny (Photo credit: charenton)

Any ideas on what I could do with my new potato character? Leave a comment or Tweet me.
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