Warning: contains spoilers I’m sorry. but the hobbit is a movie that tries too hard to be The Lord of the Rings (aka LOTR). There are so many issues with this movie and I’m going to list as many as I can remember from a movie that’s so easy to forget: Too long for the material While watching each of the LOTR I...
Three days ago I watched Project Nim. It’s a remarkable story by the talented filmmaker who’s done Man On Wire. Three days ago I watched it, and the acid in my heart still bubbles. I was meant to write about this film right after I watched it, but my hands were trembling from sadness. Don’t get me wrong, the...
Every time I get a new prime lens I get a new world. Prime lenses are restrictive. They do not zoom in or out. They have a set angle of view which can not be changed, and that’s restrictive, just like my eye is restricting my brain. My eyes see the world from one angle of view and one point of view, then, my brain needs to do...
I love this world. It is so fucked up there are so many opportunities to do something good. Not that I mean to do any of this over here. Here I just write, share and show off.
Rafael Guetta – imdbRead More
Why The Hobbit Sucked
Warning: contains spoilers
but the hobbit is a movie that tries too hard to be The Lord of the Rings (aka LOTR). There are so many issues with this movie and I’m going to list as many as I can remember from a movie that’s so easy to forget:
Too long for the material
While watching each of the LOTR I thought it was long, but I wished it will never end. Each scene felt true and full of details which made it a document on life in middle earth. In comparison, the hobbit felt like a cartoon about middle earth. That’s because the Hobbit movie is based on a tiny book, shorter than each of the LOTR books. In that respect the Hobbit should have been a 2 hour movie for the entire book, but Mr. Jackson and Co. plan to give us 9 hours of film spread over three parts.
Too dark for the material
The hobbit is a cheerful book, well it is really a children book, but Mr. Jackson has decided to create a dark movie like the LOTR. This proved a fatal blow to the hobbit as we are forced to feel dread when there is nothing on the line. You see, in the LOTR the stakes were very high. Entire Middle Earth would be consumed by evil and death if the mission fails and we are getting visual cues to this dreaded outcome from the first time we see the black riders on blood dripping horses entering the shire and butcher hobbits in their way. The hobbit, on the other hand, has no stakes at all except for Bilbo’s life. Other than that, we are supposed to feel sympathy with the Dwarfs who lost their home a few decades back and trying to reclaim it. The problem with that is, one, most viewers don’t give enough shit about 13 homeless, adult male Dwarfs. If Mr. Jackson wanted us to care he should have spent more time with the Dwarf ‘Nation’ at the start of the movie, show us their family units, their little children, roaming middle earth without a home and exposed to murdering Orcs and other forces of evil. Alas, this is not the story of The Hobbit. The Hobbit is an adventure story about a comfort addict creature, Bilbo, which carries a deep yearning for an adventure. With that in mind, the entire movie seems a little too dark for the material at hand, and no matter how gloomy Sir Ian Gandalf tries to look at the most mundane scenes, it just doesn’t stick.
Antagonist too weak
The book doesn’t have an antagonist per say, the antagonist in the book is the world out there for a comfort addict hobbit, so Mr Jackson decided to summon an antagonist which doesn’t exist in The Hobbit book so we can have some fights. That would be fine if Mr. Jackson had summoned a worthy monster as the antagonist, but what we get is… wait for it… a white orc. Yes, I’ll say it again, a White – Orc. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen Orcs slashed by the LOTR protagonists left right and center. Orcs were the red shirts of Middle Earth, we were told to consider them stupid, useless, not the best fighters, and nothing to worry about really unless they appear in a massive group. But now comes Mr. Jackson and tells us: This Orc can stop 13 dwarfs and a wizard. Fear him! Common, seriously?
Too Easy of a Climax
The Hobbit has a very disappointing climax. After watching a 3 hours movie, our heroes are chased up the trees by a small group of Orc (seriously? Orcs?) and at the nick of time our heroes beat the unbeatable Orcs with… Pine cones. Yes, pine cones. No Epic fight, no smart maneuver to outsmart the dumb, but powerful Orc and no satisfaction guaranteed.
LOTR Deleted Scenes
There are really many more issues with this movie and most of them were covered by many film critics and blogs and if you want to read them just google ‘why the hobbit suck so bad’. I’ll just add what my good friend Sam Frazer told me the moment we left the cinema: ‘I felt like Jackson grabbed the unused shots and scenes from the LOTR and made a movie out of it.’ Then I told him there are 2 more movies like this to come, which to this he replied: ‘Meh, I’ll wait till they come out on DVD’. A sound advice.
Now, having said all this, The Hobbit is certainly a watchable film; a major disappointment, but watchable, and the young generation might even enjoy it. Just make sure you don’t pay over a DVD rental to entertain the entire family.
2 out of 5 stars.
Nim Is A Chimp Like Us
I was meant to write about this film right after I watched it, but my hands were trembling from sadness. Don’t get me wrong, the movie has no violence or torture of animals (nothing explicit). It is about Nim’s life from the perspective of all the caretakers and strangers, slash assholes, he spent time with throughout his life.
The filmmakers have done a wonderful job at restoring the archival videos and photos from the seventies, when Nim was born, and it looks so current it really opens up the world of Nim to you and to your heart.
Project Nim made me realize that watching animal’s solemness drenched in naive hope is no less concerning than watching it manifested in a human. That is no real surprise as chimps are as social and compassionate as we are. But we just love fucking with them, don’t we.
We are not evil. We’re just very talented at ignoring evil. We have a great capacity to feel for a starving child and a greater capacity to forget him five minutes after he gets out of sight. What is it in us that makes us so temporal in our emotion capacity? How can we forget the people or ‘pets’ that only a year ago were like family to us?
In a good week, if I get a massage, I judge its quality by how many days afterward I still feel like I’m “after a massage”. When I watch a movie I do the same thing: If, for a few days, it feels like I just watched that movie, than it’s good. Most times I stop thinking about a movie ten to twenty minutes after it’s done, but sometime a good one comes a long, gets stuck in my mind and refuses to get washed out by the daily routine and the mundane, fights the torrent of bullshit that engulfs it and manages to hold on. It is an unsettling feeling, as there is a forign object in your mind now, and you have to get used to to being slightly ‘more’ than you used to be.
‘Project Nim’ did that to me.
4.5 out of 5
New Lens On Life
Every time I get a new prime lens I get a new world.
Prime lenses are restrictive. They do not zoom in or out. They have a set angle of view which can not be changed, and that’s restrictive, just like my eye is restricting my brain. My eyes see the world from one angle of view and one point of view, then, my brain needs to do all the hard work of imaging and imagining in order to develop the final image.
Prime lens are liberating. They do not zoom in and out. Their set angle of view can not be changed and that’s liberating me from all the technicalities the zoom lens brings into a shoot. It allow me to focus on content, composition and exposure. It invites me to look at a new world, under new rules of light fall off and distortion. It is a limiting freedom.
On the 22 of June I turned one year older, and decided it’ll be a nice excuse to purchase the lens I’ve been eyeing for a while now: the Samyang 35mm f/1.4. I got a copy off an Asian dude who needed the money to fund his brand new D800, and immediately went to my friend Aaron J March to film the little docu, ‘A day in an actor’s life’ (working title): a typical day in a professional actor’s life.
I placed the new 35mm 1.4 on my 5D2, and left the Canon 50mm 1.4, Nikon 24mm 2.8 and Samyang 14mm 2.8 to sleep in my bag for the rest of the day. I thought the 35mm will be a wonderful docu lens as it is wide enough to give context to the subjects I film and it should beat the darkness senseless with its glorious f/1.4 max aperture. Well, boys and girls, the 35mm did not fail to impress. Why you ask?
A. 35mm is the perfect length to be personal with my characters, without distorting them and with enough background to capture their environment.
B. The focus wheel on the lens is Smooth! Butter smooth and also very wide, so it is truly a joy to use.
C. The focus wheel has long travel and hard stops and this makes it easier to focus.
D. I shot mainly at f/2 and had enough light to see in extremely dim galleries, theaters and basement parties. (ISO was mainly at 1600 and 3200 with rare occasions at 4000)
E. The image seemed very sharp and clean. This is judging from looking at the LCD screen. I’ll know better when I’ll edit the footage.
I ended up using the 35mm exlusivly throught the day. I did take out my 50mm at one point, only to put it back in the bag five minutes later as the Samyang 35mm was so much fun.
The footage came out very interesting and I’m aching to get some free time and edit it into something presentable. Till then, I’ll leave you with some screen grabs from various clips. The first few taken while paying the clips in quicktime (unsaturated, uncontrasy look) and the last one taken while playing it in quicktime (Over saturated, contrasy).
From Quicktime (click on the image for full size view):
From Windows Media Player:Read More
Django Unchained – The Script
A few days ago I read the last draft of Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming movie ‘Django Unchained’ and was quite happy. Then I saw the trailer and was quite disappointed. In a nutshell, the script tells a grim and dark story of a bounty hunter helping a slave get his freedom and find his salve wife. The way it’s told felt like a mind blowing period piece with horrifically violent scenes which unlike the Kill Bill stylized blood terror, felt factual and reflective. Slavery, did actually happen, and even though the script had signature Tarantino dialogues and set pieces, it was a true reminder to the evil that resided in men just a century and a half ago (Not to claim that men are not evil any more, oh yes they are, only in a more professional manner).
The story line is satisfying but turns into a classic complimented by the pain you feel for and with the African slaves. And then I saw the Trailer…
Django Unchained – The Trailer
The trailer started with a Johnny Cash song that placed me exactly at the same mood I felt when I read the majestically written first ten pages of the script. A group of shackled slaves being led through unforgiving terrain. The Johnny Cash song is quickly replaced by an up bit song that will fit perfectly in a Guy Richie trailer than in a slavery revenge epic; and from here on the trailer is a fun, sassy depiction of a light and comedic journey of Django revenging his past. Oh well…
I don’t really believe trailers; just as I don’t believe buying Nike will make me happier and socially successful. A trailer is practically an advertisement for the movie and as such it aims for the lowest common denominator in order to bring as many people as possible to see the movie at the cinema.
Trailers in recent years have become a ZERO Percent representation of the movie they are ‘trailing’, just as a group of sexy people jumping off a giant floaty into the ocean is a representation for drinking Coke. So, considering this, I still have hopes Django Unchained – The Movie will be a more sincere representation of that great script.