Pacific Rim (2013)
I went fromm knowing nothing about this movie to being all about it. Seriously.
Back in October or November when the first trailer or teaser was released I wasn’t in on it, but all of my twitter stream were about it. Their lives had changed, they all had boners (I happen to follow a lot of dudes… why are their dicks the first thing to respond to stuff??) so I finally decided to watch it to see what the hubbub was was. My interest was piqued.
I liked G Gundam. It’s the only Gundam series I watched, but I’m cool with the idea of mecha anime so I was kind of jonsed for it, but as the release date rolled around I did what I always do, I didn’t look at anything. I’d kind of forgotten things. i wanted to see it because Idris Elba, mechas (jaeger) and giant monsters (kaiju). In the theater I fell in love with Mako Mori, Charlie Day got a resurgence of love from me, as did Burn Gorman (whose name I always forget. I want to call him Simon, was that his name in Torchwood? I just feel like his name should be Simon…) and Ron Perlman. I was cool with the lead white-dude (Charlie Hunnam), I have a new love for Clifton Collins Jr, but Idris has my fangirl heart is a death grip from his sympathetic squint - fantastic! Also, Black Dude as a lead hero in an action movie like this.
I feel like Ramin Djawadi did a great job with the score, and whoever mixed the music into the movie did a great job of not calling attention to it. One track sounded a little Iron Man-y, but I might have been too into the movie to notice that after a while, but I think it mostly had it’s own flavor as a score.
Going back to people of color, since a lot of this movie took place in Hong Kong I loved the global aspect to the cast. There were some Russians, Americans, a lot of English/GB/UK, Australian dudes and a lot of Asians. Many were nameless and filled in crowd scenes, I feel there could have been more women mechanics in those scenes (never enough women in movies but better than most). It fails the Bechdale test but the women are portrayed as being strong even when emotional. Mako has drive, she has her own motivation and agency. The Russian female, we don’t get to see her as much as it seems like some people online would have liked to have seen her, but she was also cool. I’ve heard a rumor that more was filmed and shown the Chinese and Russian pilots than ended up in the movie. I hope it’s true and that it ends up on the Blu-Ray/DVD. I also would have liked for there to have been more black people, but it’s a condition with me. I like gender and racial diversity.
Addressing the women in the movie, I liked that there’s never a glamour shot of them. Mako is shown as being emotional, enraged, confident, enthusiastic and shocked, but there’s never a slow pan of her in skimpy or sexual clothes. We get to see Charlie Hunnam like that - twice even - all shirtless and muscular. Fully suited or in their casual clothes Mako and the other woman (I forgot her name, she piloted the Russian Jaeger) aren’t reduced to being T&A for the audience. Hell, the movie has the thinnest whisper of a romantic element but it mostly focuses on the fact that these fucking kaiju are trying to tear shit up.
I’ve been looking at collateral damage in spectacle movies a bit more and paying attention to it more recently. Here the jaeger pilots initially seem to try to avoid fighting the kaiju in the cities and try to save as many lives as possible. I can’t imagine how much structural damage has happened over the extended timeline of the movie (there is one major time jump, but kind of 2 because the first 10 minutes set up everything else.) you’d think after battling the kaiju for about 10 years they’d stop building skyscrapers but you need to punch through a building and avoid a Newtons Cradle somewhere.
Some other stuff i liked: there’s not time spent explaining the jaegers, at all. The first one was built in 14 months and we’re told why they need 2 pilots. No time is extended to how they work, or the mechanics of them. There are some small - not quite throw away- lines about what they’re made of, but it’s kind of just there was the need and then they were. I don’t really care how they work, they exist and they have crazy-mecha magic-weapons. I’m happy at that.
I don’t remember who I saw comment on this but it’s true, there is more heart than I expected. It is about stopping the kaiju from destroying everything and taking over earth, but there is believable emotion baggage on the main dude, Mako and with Idris Elba. The support scientists played by Day and Gorman both get their moments to be right and wrong and support one another on their wacky side adventure. This movie is about teamwork and supporting people. Countries put aside ages old disputes to defend the planet from an intruder. Each jaeger is piloted by a team, then there are the numerous crews below them keeping them alive.
I think the last thing I’ll bring up that I loved it that there was humor. It wasn’t so much ‘ha ha irony!’ it was ‘this jaeger is being this kaiju with a ship’. There were some small visual gags, and some humorous quips but it wasn’t like Iron Man (especially 3) where they went out of their way to have levity. It was a bit wry, kind of like ‘this is our life and if we don’t try to laugh a little we’ll never stop crying because this is fucked’. I might be explaining it wrong, but I do want to see it again. There are things you pick up on during subsequent viewings of a movie, I want to see those things.
I was so into this movie that when the theater got dark and it got going I was leaning forward the entire time. I didn’t need anything to keep my hands entertained, which happens if things feel slow for me. I laughed I cheered, I felt my heart race with the drama and action. I was game for it all. I even told someone to put away their phone and was prepared to fight about it, but he acquiescenced and I was able to just enjoy the movie.
Was it perfect, of course not, but it was really damn good. And I want to see it again. I’m glad I have the art book because the kaiju and jaeger designs are amazing and I just want to look at them and love the people who worked to make them look so fucking cool.
Film Noir (from the French meaning Black Film) is a genre of cinema that emerged during the early 1940s and continued until the late 1950s. It is characterised by it’s distintive stylisation of cinematography and it’s focus on crime, mystery and sex. Taking many cues from early German expressionism, Film Noir offered an immersive thematic experience that was very different to that of other contemporary melodramas. Several techniques and plot devices came to define the genre, including voiceovers, the inventive use of light and shadow, the protagonist’s need to seek out some truth, and the famed ‘femme fatale’ figure.
Fantastic NYTimes infographics showing how “how scenes from five of the nine best picture nominees were reassembled to promote the films.”
If you look closely, there’s a line for shots that aren’t actually in the film, which immediately made me think of the trailers for the The Master, which featured a lot of cutting room floor footage that PT Anderson left out…
These infographics also remind me a lot of of the graphics picking apart famous speeches in Nancy Duarte’s Resonate.
Pre-Code Hollywood refers to the era in the American film industry between the introduction of sound in the late 1920s and the enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code (usually labeled, albeit inaccurately after 1934, as the “Hays Code”) censorship guidelines. Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1, 1934. Before that date, movie content was restricted more by local laws, negotiations between the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) and the major studios, and popular opinion than strict adherence to the Hays Code, which was often ignored by Hollywood filmmakers.
As a result, films in the late 1920s and early 1930s included sexual innuendo, miscegenation, profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, intense violence and homosexuality.
A Pre-code Primer with Pictures!
This is the best.
In a previous life I was a model-builder.
I would have liked to be one in this life too, but, yannow.
Photos like theses will be lost. I love movie models and seeing old school practical effects. My love of practicals know no bounds. Miniature cities and small versions of things to be destroyed, I love it and I love seeing behind the curtain.
Directors Martin Scorsese and James Cameron have different ideas about the use of CGI in film:
“My big concern is that the image, ultimately, with CGI, I don’t know if our younger generation is believing anything anymore on screen. It’s not real.” - Martin Scorsese
“When was it ever real? There was kind of a wall there and nothing over there. There are 30 people standing around. There’s a guy with a boom mic, there’s another guy up on a ladder with his ass crack hanging out. There’s fake rain. Your ‘street, night exterior New York’ was a ‘day, interior Burbank’. What was ever real?” - James Cameron
the thing is, James Cameron, you are wrong. what Scorsese means, is like how Spielberg used animatronic dinosaurs aka SOMETHING TANGIBLE and then enhanced them with CGI, so they could do more than the puppets could actually do. that way, you had something REAL at the core of the image, enhanced by the CGI and that is why the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park still look so much better than anything that has been done solely on the computer.
I agree with Oldfilmsflicker, i like the tangibility of practical effects, they’re something the actors play against and respond to as opposed it all being done in post. Amazing things can be done in post and I have a huge amount of respect for CGI effects studios but it isn’t and doesn’t feel the same.
…what? I might be leaving my apartment this weekend…by ‘might’ I mean ‘I will’
In 1915, the Biograph Company gave comedian Bert Williams authority to produce, write, direct, and star in two films for them (1915’s A Natural Born Gambler and 1916’s Fish)—making him the first African-American to 1. Have complete control over his films and 2. Produce his films for mainstream audiences.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.” ― Jim Jarmusch (born January 22nd, 1953)
Episode 43- Year End Wrap Up 2012 Part 1: An Unexpected Journey
Holy crap! This is our epic Year End Wrap Up of 2012 and boy is it EPIC. So epic that we have decided to break it into 3 parts. Dave and I (Scott) are joined by past guests DC Pierson (DERRICK Comedy), Zack Pearlman (The Inbetweeners) and Codi Fischer (Web Soup) and we share our thoughts on the year in movies including our Top Movies of 2012 lists. In part one we discuss our biggest disappointments of the year and wonder why Guy Pearce was in Prometheus.
Click the link above to listen or subscribe in iTunes. You can also now find us on StitcherRadio! Please rate and review if you have a moment.
Theme song by March Fourth Marching Band and Robin Jackson.