The Woman in Black

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 Release Date: 3 February 2012
Director: James Watkins
Writer(s): Jane Goldman (screenplay), Susan Hill (novel)
Budget: $ 15 Million
Gross Revenue: $ 121,706,104 (as of 12 April 2012)

 The Woman in Black (2012) is a film set in what appears to be early 1900s England, about a lawyer that travels to a small village to do paperwork on a home with a haunted spirit. Daniel Radcliffe plays the protagonist in the film, which is the primary reason why I wanted to watch it. Another reason being I find some sort of thrill in horror films, regardless of how terrible they tend to turn out. In this instance, however, I was just simply disappointed.

My opinion of the film is extraordinarily grim at the moment, so I have to sleep on it. Maybe I’ll be less relentless in the morning.

Engineering Presentation Photos

http://reserve.cas.msu.edu/home.php

Engineering Video Presentation

First film I ever made for my major, during study abroad in Japan. It has 28,854 hits on YouTube, currently. Was challenging to edit and work on the script with group mate while in separate countries.

Video I made of the Communication Arts Building for a class. The audio was given to us, and I had to share a camera, so some of the footage is not the best.

Video that is 100% mine from start to finish, and I am satisfied with. Made for the same class. It’s footage of the professor’s dog.

Short film I made for class last semester with a group of four people that did not want to work hard to make a perfect product. Still, the end result was not bad, but could use much improvement.

Juno

Release Date: 25 December 2007
Director: Jason Reitman
Writer(s): Diablo Cody
Budget: $ 7 Million
Gross Revenue: $ 231,411,584

I’ve of course seen Juno previously, back when it was “all the rage,” but having the film fresh in my mind is necessary for a proper review. Let me start off by saying  that the humor in the film is brilliant. The writer did a wonderful job incorporating silly teenage lingo–that adults look back on and roll their eyes in remembrance–but at the same time the film can be enjoyed and understood by a wide range of age groups. The film also did a tremendous job of portraying Ellen Page as a 16-year-old girl, and although she had the ability to connect with and relate to adults, I don’t think they made her character overly mature or too wise.

The entire high school experience was more accurately portrayed than any other high school-related film I have seen. One important thing they did to achieve this was avoid too many scenes within the high school in the first place. They also avoided heavily stereotyped cliques, bullies, and substance abuse. I appreciated that these aspects were present in the film, because high school does have these dramatics, but the film made the appropriate choice by not displaying them in excess or heavily emphasizing them.

In my film class last year, we talked about the color schemes in Juno, and the mood associated with each. Juno’s house displayed warm color tones and lots of clutter within the house, whereas the adoptive parents’ house displayed cold color tones and tons of space. I think it’s important to acknowledge the differences in each house, and to also point out that this doesn’t mean it’s good family vs. bad family, or any similar conclusion one might draw. Rather, it’s one living arrangement or lifestyle vs. another. Both houses were loving environments, yet one was more traditional and aesthetically pleasing than the other. Within the adoptive parents’ home were rooms that belonged to the husband, or housed his things, and those rooms in particular had warm colors and a cluttered atmosphere, similar to Juno’s house. I believe this was meant to display the husband’s discomfort with his own lifestyle, and to show the connection between Juno and the adoptive father. The film could have also have been making a statement on personal image and how it can conceal imperfections, which is a conclusion I most definitely draw.

Finally, the film addressed a weighted question that I have asked myself my whole life: Can two people stay together for life and remain significantly happy for the duration? And the conclusion the film comes to is a very solid one and I agree wholeheartedly, which I find comforting.

Tron: Legacy

Release Date: 17 December 2010
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer(s): Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal, Steven Lisberger, Bonnie MacBird
Budget: $ 170 Million
Gross Revenue: $ 246,784,368 (as of January 2011)

Tron: Legacy is a sequel to the 1982 film Tron. In it, the inventor of Tron, Kevin Flynn disappears, and 15-20 years later his son discovers a way into “the grid.” I won’t spoil much more of the film from there, since I don’t like to know much about the films I watch before I watch them.

The best thing about the film by far was the cinematography and the special effects. The “Tron world” was stunning and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the film. The storyline, however, was lacking. The obstacles the protagonists had to face were elementary at best, which really took away from the intensity of the film, regardless of how good the effects were. Besides the obstacles being simple, some of the characters could have used more depth as well. The story of the last isotope and the isotopes in general were explained very quickly and didn’t satisfy my curiosities. A possible addition to the film I would have enjoyed could be a reenactment of how the last isotope was saved, along with some shots of Clu and Tron going about taking down the isotope population. The character Tron himself was hardly developed, and having not watched the 1982 Tron, as I assume many blockbuster fanatics have not, I’ve probably missed the proper back-story on him. Regardless, Tron has a sudden change of heart at the end, which was completely out of the blue and without any relevant reason. A large mishap of bad scripting overall for Tron: Legacy, if I were to make the call.

The Pink Panther (2006)

Release Date: 10 February 2006
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer(s): Len Blum, Steve Martin, Michael Saltzman, Maurice Richlin, Blake Edwards
Budget: $ 80 Million
Gross Revenue: $ 182,071,965

Unless you’re under 12 years old, don’t waste your time.

The Bourne Identity

Release Date: 14 June 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Writer(s): Tony Gilroy, William Blake Herron, and Robert Ludlum (novel)
Budget: $ 60 Million
U.S. Gross Revenue: $ 121,468,960

The Bourne Identity is a film about an amnesiac who struggles to stay alive in the midst of trying to discover who he is, or was for that matter. My first reaction to the film was question its budget. I really have no clue if $60 million is low for a 2002 action film–I must compare it to other popular action films of the time now–but I don’t suspect it’s too low. That being said, I was disappointed in the special effects and cinematography, especially since I had gotten so much of the You haven’t seen The Bourne Identity?! hype. But hype can ruin movies in that way.

Certain characters just bothered me and felt out of place, such as Julia Roberts’ character, Nicolette, which was very static and the scripting for her was blah, and Gabriel Mann’s character, Zorn, who’s face looked way too young for his supposed job with the CIA. The chemistry between Matt Damon’s character, Jason, and Franka Potente’s character, Marie, could have been better, but it wasn’t terrible.

Overall, I was disappointed by the film. But I will admit to not giving it my full attention due to fatigue. I’ll probably give it one more chance and watch it again for the sake of so many who would be upset should they read my critical reaction to the film.

Rabbit Proof Fence

Movie poster of Rabbit Proof Fence

Release Date: 21 February 2002
Director: Phillip Noyce
Writer(s): Christine Olsen and Doris Pilkington (novel)
Budget: $ 6 Million
U. S. Gross Revenue: $ 6,165,429

Sunday I watched the 2002 Australian film Rabbit Proof Fence, a dramatic true story about three “half-cast” Aboriginal girls who refused to conform to the oppressive demands of the British. The film, originally a novel written by Doris Pilkington Garimara, was directed by Phillip Noyce. The film received a score of 87% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an 80 out of 100 on Metacritic.

Personally, I thought the story was very profound, yet difficult to adapt to the big screen. Seeing as it was a film about three young girls trekking through the deserts of Australia, primarily against a rabbit-proof fence, many of the scenes seemed to drag on. And if I had been told prior that it was a film about three girls walking 1500 miles in the desert, I could have pretty accurately predicted the events that unfolded. So regardless of the wonderful production quality, spot-on performances, and telling story, the film lacked the element of excitement and was too predictable. However, because of the film, I have been brought to light about this old issue surrounding native Australians, and was excited to hear about these ladies and their stories. More than anything, I enjoyed this film as a sort of creative reenactment of a true and educational story.

Film Review Blog

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This blog has officially transitioned from a study abroad experience in Japan, to a movie/film rant and review. I’m pretty simple minded and I generally gravitate toward films that are creative/imaginative yet strive to portray real human interaction; in essence, true people in extraordinary situations. I’ll often make comments during films to the effect of, “Nobody says that” or “No person who doesn’t know the certainty of their future would make those actions.” I want films to make me think, but I need to be able to relate/connect to the characters in order to truly enjoy the story. That being said, I love comedies, satires, spoofs, thrillers, and horror films for quite the opposite reason–I don’t want to think, I don’t want to connect with the characters, and I don’t require a good plot necessarily. There’s something about expendable characters, destined for doom or tragedy, given an animated, unique personality that’s difficult to relate to, expressing themselves in naive or overly clever manners that I just can’t get enough of. Regardless of my taste in movies, I will be reviewing every different sort of film imaginable, especially since one of my best friends enjoys the complete opposite types of movies I enjoy.

Any suggestions on what rating format I should use? I’m most comfortable with the 5 star system, but if I utilize that format, I will probably include half stars, since whole stars only is not enough flexibility for me.

Tech Review – Battle Stadium D.O.N.

With the success of Nintendo and Sony in the technological and densely populated country of Japan, there are many games that are made completely exclusive to the country. One game in particular I became envious of its Japan-only playability was Battle Stadium D.O.N. The abbreviated characters stand for three very popular animes, Dragon Ball Z, Once Piece, and Naruto. These animes are popular in America as well, which is why I am perplexed as to why Japan isn’t sharing its title. I learned about the game during a company visit to Q-Entertainment, which happens to be one of the two developers of the game, along with 8ing. The game was released July 20, 2006 for Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2, and received a game rating of 28/40 from Weekly Famitsu.

Front cover of the game.

Battle Stadium D.O.N. is primarily a multiplayer game, but it also has single player components as well. The multiplayer gameplay of Battle Stadium D.O.N. is very similar to the concept of Super Smash Bros.–a series of games in which popular Nintendo characters duke it out with combat styles mimicking their characters’ abilities in their host game. Each character in Battle Stadium D.O.N. has special abilities specific to that character, including the ability to morph a character into a new form, or transforming for a short period of time. The main difference between the two games though is the health gauge in Battle Stadium D.O.N. Unlike health gauges in traditional combat games where the opponents health must be reduced to zero to win, this game has a combined health meter, which means in order to win, the player must make the health of their character take up the entire gauge. In this way, the players can gain health back by reducing the health of the other players. This type of gameplay has the ability to create matches that never end, which is why time limits are an available setting. The multiplayer mode can have from two to four players during gameplay.

Single player mode is not much different from multiplayer mode. The player fights against a computer, only this time, the player has missions to complete during combat, beside just defeating the opponent. The number of missions given depends on the difficulty chosen. The reward for completing the missions is a quantity of coins. The coins are then used in a slot machine which has the ability to unlock certain aspects of the game.

The game appeals to me because it is so similar to Super Smash Bros. Melee, which was an immensely popular game when the GameCube was first released. It even utilizes the many of the same battle animations and combat items. It is as if they took the exact same game, replaced the Nintendo characters with anime characters, and added a couple new concepts, such as the health gauge. Another aspect of Battle Stadium D.O.N. I enjoy is how much more animated the gameplay is. It’s very colorful, fast-paced, and has silly voices that sound like the characters. Certain moments can be very intense, unlike Super Smash Bros. Melee, when characters perform super moves which halt the battle action momentarily to focus on a specific character’s intense moment of potential energy about to surge from their inner being, unleashing an attack that just about consumes all other battle animation for a short period on the screen. Animes tend to be extremely expressive hand-drawn cartoons, and the video game does a good job of mimicking that overall atmosphere and behavior of the characters.