Miss Underrated

Blogging, Entertainment, Popular Culture

Zero Dark Thirty,  The Hurt Locker, Point Break, K-19 Widowmaker all have a common thread running through them.  They would all be seen as quintessential moody dark thrillers that men love.

These films list off as the CV of Kathryn Bigleow. Quite possibly one of the best directors around today.  When it comes to thrillers few are better than Bigelow at it. You could argue the number would amount to less than one hand. There’s even a dispute at that.

Some directors play up the testerone, Macho style of their films to play to the mob like a Micheal Bay film.   Bigelow though take some a different tact. All her recent films down the years are male dominated, testosterone driven, Ego stand offs, bromances.

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The list can go, the point is Bigelow can bring in all characteristics of male culture. Unlike the likes of Bay and ex-husband Cameron, she isn’t loud when she does so.Her films are sophisticated and quite often are more ballsy than any male director would ever attempt or dream of making.

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The question then is why is she so underrated?  Quite often when high profile action thrillers or major blockbusters are made. The list is drawn up. Same names are drawn up despite their recent flops. Bigelow more often than not is left off this list.

Recently when studios went looking for directors for Wonder Woman. They turned to television to find female directors when Bigelow could have been a fascinating choice for the directors chair.

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A simple possibility could be that Bigelow may wish to keep a low profile and be picky about her projects.  Nevertheless Bigelow is a director that should be championed to wider audience.

Her CV shows that she is a director that can make a man’s film quite often better than her male colleagues.

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Jackson taking the same route as Lucas?

Entertainment, Film, Opinion, Popular Culture, Uncategorized

It is becoming increasingly obvious that Peter Jackson is beginning to take the same path as George Lucas had before him.

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Viggo mortensen in an interview with the Telegraph gives his spin on Peter Jackson’s dependance to technology. “In the first movie, yes, there’s Rivendell, and Mordor, but there’s sort of an organic quality to it, actors acting with each other, and real landscapes; it’s grittier. The second movie already started ballooning, for my taste, and then by the third one, there were a lot of special effects. It was grandiose, and all that, but whatever was subtle, in the first movie, gradually got lost in the second and third. Now with The Hobbit, one and two, it’s like that to the power of 10.”

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Mortensen is not wrong like gollum and his precious, Jackson similarly has fallen in love with technology to an extreme extent. There was a huge practical element to his Lord of the Rings series. Jackson like Ridley Scott at first was seen to be a world builder. Epic sets built for epic scale on the one hand.

On another hand, his original techniques were similar to Lucas. Many of his sets were this model scale. Little beautifully detailed scale models on a table. Then filmed and used practically for the film.

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It takes longer and much more manpower has to be invested in these projects. That is an obvious stumbling block. But Lucas and Jackson moved away from their practical pioneering roots to a more CGI driven future. The attraction was obvious to see. The payoff has not.

The similar storyline of Lucas starting with a franchise. Been held up as a pioneer. Only to tarnish his legacy by depending too much on CGI to prop up his films.

Why did Jackson make the same mistake?

The link between the two starts at Rick McCallum. He was the producer for Lucas originally before he lent his expertise to Peter Jackson. He showed him how the new prequel trilogy was made.

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Jackson similar to Lucas one could argue bought into the idea of being seen as a pioneer. As a result, could see themselves as the ones to push the boundaries and not the ones to lean on old practical values.

Jackson pushed for the higher frame rate of 48 fps. It helps builds beautiful worlds. But his characters end up lost. Similar to Lucas’s films.

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The world of green screen simply can’t replicate the practical reality. Consider Ridley Scott. Like Lucas he is a world builder for decades like Lucas. Yet he manages a balance between pratical and CGI. He is one of the few that still builds sets. They help a world actors can exist in instead of imagining in.

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Same can be said for J.J. Abrams. On his appointment of director of the Force Awakens, Abrams made clear he favoured a more balanced practical / CGI world for Star Wars. It was welcomed by fans and it paid off in the film.

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Special effects shouldn’t be dismissed. They offer many distinct advantages that clearly Jackson and Lucas could see. But it isn’t a one size fits all solution. A careful combination of special effects and practical effects should still be favoured.

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Heir to the throne

Blogging, Entertainment, Film, Opinion, Popular Culture

Meryl Steep is undeniably the undisputed Queen of Hollywood. Arguably the greatest actress of all time. At least of her generation. Helen Mirren and Judi Dench are outstanding actress but few have the resume of Meryl Steep.

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Could anyone ever achieve the same heights as Streep? Maintain her consistency decade after decade.  It’s possible. There are many actresses capable now.  Powerhouses like Julia Roberts and Cate Blanchett could be brought into the conversation along with Nicole Kidman.

There are others like Kate Winslet who had to rake up several nominations before she eventually got her Oscar. Winslet one could argue who could reach the heights of Streep. She would be an obvious candidate.

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Natalie Portman could be in line for her second Oscar next year with her performance in Jackie. Another candidate could be Amy Adams. Adams has not yet achieved an Oscar win. She has captured two Golden globes. She has 5 Oscar and Bafta nominations. To her name. Few today could rival such a resume.

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Adams has worked with Streep and worked well together on the film Doubt. It earned Adams a second Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. Her first nomination Junebug was the performance that launched her career. In addition, her performance was voted 6th best performance of the decade in Paste Magazine.

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5 nominations and no wins is a frustrating streak to have. Winslet endured the same fate and a former co star Leo Dicaprio endured the same fate. Nevertheless, it shows she is in good company. Will she win an Oscar soon? Consider her work rate and film choices. It is highly likely she will join DiCaprio and Winslet in breaking her streak.

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In the bigger picture, though unlike many of her peers her age. She is a lot more prolific than many other actresses her age. One could debate that is down to her chasing her first Oscar win.  However, many actors/actresses as they get older work less and take far less roles.

Adams is the opposite. She works constantly delivering film after film. Nocturnal Animals and Arrival will surely once again put her in the frame for an Oscar. Few actresses have her range from sweet innocence of Catch if you can to musical voice in Enchanted. Move to dominating roles like the Master. She more than rivalled Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the film. She duly got an nomination for it.  Add in her darker roles like Nocturnal animals.  She has the range, work rate, savvy in film choices to put herself in the frame to repeat Streep’s legacy.

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The man with the mic.

Entertainment, Film, Opinion

Nobody probably saw it coming. But Nick Cannon in a bizarre twist in the #Oscarssowhite madness came across as the voice of reason in not wanting Chris Rock to step aside. He rightly pointed “Hell yeah I’m going to watch that ceremony where they let a black man be a master for at least two hours. Don’t waste your voice.”

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Cannon used his talents. Instead of simply releasing a statement. He released a critical poem online. He stood out amongst a crowded field of dissenting voices. He used his skillset to the best of his ability and called on Chris Rock to do likewise.  Others like Tyrese Gibson and 50 Cent rashly called for Chris Rock to boycott the Oscars.  It was wise to ignore Gibson’s request. How many times has a black man overseen the Oscars?

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One could probably count it on one hand. A black man with a microphone and the world as his audience at a critical moment in film history. Last two black men who had that power were Barack Obama and Martin Luther King. Their voices were definitely heard and listened to.

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At a critical moment in the academy’s history and black acting community are both blessed that Chris Rock is taking the stage for the all-important night. For the academy they managed to get one of the sharpest comedians alive. For the black acting community, they got one of the most respected black comedians hold the microphone. Rock is a win-win for all parties involved.

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Rumours are rife that Rock has thrown out his original monologue and is rewriting it. That may be true or not. But what is true is Chris Rock is in rare company. There are very few comedians like Chris Rock.

Rock can make you laugh but get manage to get you to think. Rock won’t simply rant on the night, but will address the issues that plague the system but manage to present the issues in a manner very few can replicate.

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Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart along with Steve Colbert, Louis. C.K and Larry Whitmore would be some of an elite few that can do what Rock does. But again very few of that group again are black.

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Therefore, it is truly baffling Tyrese Gibson would call on Rock to step aside. At this critical moment, you truly couldn’t ask for a more suited individual to step onto the world stage and tackle the major issue at hand.  Add in that Rock has presented at the awards before. He has been there and done it. He is used to the pressure. He knows how it works. There won’t be first time jitters. Nobody is better suited than Chris Rock to step up at this moment. The world is watching.

 

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