imagemdma asked:

The world is about to end and you are assigned to preserve only 10 films. You will place them in a special time capsule to show a new civilization in a thousand years what the possibilities of cinema were, as well as providing some history in its progression as an art form. Explain your selections.

The best question I have received so far! Here are my selections. Hope they are up to snuff.

  1. The Kiss (1896) - it’s one of the very first films ever shown and it caused such a ruckus at the time because of how it apparently crossed boundaries of decency. I think it shows how cinema’s beginnings were far from modest; a reminder that film can and should continue to push the envelope. 
  2. Modern Times (1936) - it goes without saying that Charlie Chaplin is one of the greats, and Modern Times is not only one of his best, but also one of his most thought-provoking pieces. It not only marks the advent of industrialization, which is a huge part of human history, but it does it with physical comedy that proves how dynamic cinema is as a medium.
  3. Disney’s Fantasia (1940) - a marvel of animation. Set the standard for cinema as art, animated film, use of music and sound… and it has no dialogue! I think we’ve all grown accustomed to movies and their use of dialogue to further a plot, but I think we forget that cinema is the art of the moving picture, and what better way to show that than with one of Disney’s finest?  
  4. Vertigo (1958) - Hitchcock was one of cinema’s pioneers, and it would be wrong to leave any of his film’s from this list. I feel that Vertigo balances story and technique really well, and Hitchcock’s use of the camera, color and music shows everything that cinema can do. It’s the perfect marriage of sight and sound, a great segueway from Fantasia, too,I think.  
  5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - what better way to tell the story of humanity than with a classic tale about the rise and fall of a man? Not only does Peter O’Toole give a brilliant performance, but the film offers one of the best showcases of breathtaking cinematography and editing. 
  6. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - from Chaplin’s physical comedy to the subtle satirical humor of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, film is a flexible medium. The Cold War is a big part of human history, and Dr. Strangelove tells that story with a sense of humor that shows the capacity of cinema for reflective storytelling.  
  7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Kubrick’s film is a masterpiece of technical innovation, fantastic use of sound design (especially silence), and is thought-provoking to boot. It is humanity in a nutshell, showcasing how our evolution has progressed, particularly in our use of tools. It’s basically an anthropological odyssey set to the Blue Danube.
  8. Jurassic Park (1993) - there’s a pattern to the films I’ve been choosing here, and if you haven’t picked up on it yet, the theme is basically hubris. And what better representation of that than a film about scientists who decide that playing god with a theme park full of dinosaurs is a good idea? This Steven Spielberg film completely changed the landscape of cinema by marrying practical with digital special effects and showing that there is room for both CGI and physical SFX (animatronics, miniatures, etc).
  9. Drunken Master 2 / The Legend of Drunken Master (1994) - the film has some of the best fight scenes ever filmed, and it also introduces a unique genre in cinema: drunken kung fu. Endlessly entertaining and such a showcase of physical action and comedy, it’s one of my personal favorites and a film that once again shows off how dynamic the medium is. I would have put Drunken Master, but I personally think the sequel is better, hence the choice.
  10. The Matrix (1999)- it goes without saying that the Wachowskis changed how movies would be made with this film. Not only was it ambitious in its storytelling, but the use of pioneering technology to achieve some of the iconic scenes in the film resulted in a wave of new developments that has had a huge impact on CGI. I had never seen anything like The Matrix before and it certainly opened up possibilities for many projects.

I’d like to open this up to my followers as well. What would your choices be?

imagemdma asked:

Name 5 songs that are impossible to separate from the films they appeared in. The songs cannot be created for the film. (Example: The Simple Minds - Don't You Forget About for The Breakfast Club, Brenda Lee - Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - Home Alone) ?

  1. Almost Famous - “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John
  2. Say Anything - “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
  3. Ghost - “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers
  4. Garden State - “New Slang” by The Shins
  5. Fight Club - “Where is My Mind?” by The Pixies


The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” is probably separable from Fight Club, so my runner up would be “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Urge Overkill from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

imagemdma asked:

favorite movie of all time?

Oh no! I’m being made to pick favorites. Alas. </3 I apologize, I am truly terrible at picking favorites. I’m highly indecisive. However, I can say that one of my all-time favorites [not sure if it is the one, though, but fairly close] is My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

imagemdma asked:

The reason there are so many reboots/remakes/sequels nowadays, are that film studios like having a built in audience and/or a formula for success. Cash is King, and its a safe investment. So, with the potential disasters of World-War Z & After Earth, do you think their will eventually be another renaissance period like we saw in the 1970's after Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate flop, which destroyed its studio (UA)? The 70's were dominated by auteurs because studios gave them freedom.

Honestly? No. I’m pretty cynical about the film business these days, and I don’t think that this flood of endless sequels/spin-offs/reboots will die down any time soon. I think studios wanting to invest in projects that are surefire cash cows is but one aspect of the larger problem. We may like to point fingers at the studios for making sequel after sequel, but the reason they continue to make money with these projects is because audiences flock to the theaters to watch these movies anyway. I have no idea why Disney still thinks Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is a good idea, but I am certain that if they release it, people will see it anyway. I think this whole thing is also reflective of the uncertain economic times we live in today. Hollywood is no longer the risk-taking machine it used to be. Instead of investing in projects that are edgy and different, with new talent and uncertain fates, Hollywood honchos instead go for the formulaic and the safe, not wanting to make any waves because it’s so easy to go out of business in these rough economic times.

The 70s was a unique time in film because after the 50s and 60s and the Golden Age of Hollywood, there was a hunger and a demand for something new and different, from both studios and audiences. We also have to take into account the political and economic climate around that time; Counterculture was on the rise, for example, which was instrumental in giving us auteur-led films. I don’t see the same revolution going on today. There’s a sense of complacency about movies that makes it difficult to really challenge the status quo. Also, sadly, shooting on film is going the way of the dinosaur and digital is becoming more and more the norm. While this results in a large volume of films getting made, only very few end up being really substantial.

While I am cynical about the state of the film biz these days, there are many young filmmakers who are exciting and full of potential; filmmakers who can really start that revolution. I think Derek Cianfrance is one such filmmaker, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij are an exceptional writing/directing team who continue to churn out really interesting projects, as well as Jeff Nichols and Andrew Domink, who are also ones to watch. 

imagemdma asked:

You win the Entertainment Powerball Lottery, totaling around 500 million dollars. But, in this lottery, there is a catch. You cannot keep any of the money. What you can do, is fund projects you'd like to see, get a dream idea off the ground, act as a producer to projects you want to get made, adapt a book, etc. Maybe you want Bioware to get back together, and make a Harry Potter RPG. Maybe you want Scorsese to make that Dean Martin bio. So, how would you use your money? Be detailed (cast, etc)

Since you mentioned Bioware, probably a TV show “prequel” of Mass Effect, featuring a female soldier going through the N7 program. Stories about female soldiers are virtually nonexistent, so I feel like this would be a really interesting story made much more exciting by a science fiction setting. In the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC, Admiral Anderson goes into detail about how grueling the N7 program is; how recruits are stranded on a remote planet with only oxygen and a few supplies and how they have to survive in order to make it into the program. I think it’s a fascinating premise and I’d like to see it explored in the Mass Effect universe but without all the baggage of Shepard’s story and the Normandy that would make it tedious for screenwriters to constantly match. Casting-wise, I think Upstream Color's Amy Seimetz would be perfect for a role like this. She's a fantastic actress with great range and I think she'd be able to deliver in a physically and emotionally demanding role like it.

As for movies, I don’t really have an opinion on specific book-to-screen adaptations because I would prefer original content over film adaptations. There are so many remakes, reboots and book-to-screen adaptations already that I feel like if I had a say in anything, it would be to place a top priority on funding original stories. But if I had to pick one film adaptation off the top of my head, I think it would be fun to see a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego movie franchise. Carmen Sandiego is an antiheroine, given her penchant for theft and constant evasion of authorities. So it would be pretty cool to see a female protagonist who isn’t afraid to break bad but who solves problems through wit and cunning instead of wielding automatic weapons. She’s also kind of brilliant, with her ability to gallivant from country to country accomplishing various heists. She’s sort of a Selina Kyle-Lara Croft hybrid, which I think is reason enough to adapt it for the screen. I think Firefly's Morena Baccarin would be fantastic in the role, or even fellow Firefly costar Gina Torres. To direct it…hmm I dunno maybe Luc Besson or hey, Joss Whedon.

That’s all I can think of right now! Great question, though!

imagemdma asked:

When dealing with film criticism, what are common critical terms that you find to be a lazy/annoying way in describing one's reaction to a movie? For example, "nothing happens", " style over substance", "overrated" and etc..

I’d have to say that proclaiming a film “unrealistic” is probably what I find to be the laziest/most annoying. Cinema is all about the suspension of disbelief, and I think that when you go into a movie theater, you’re entering into an agreement with the filmmaker that the world they are painting is something that can exist, and the characters who populate the screen are people that are as real as the buttery popcorn you are stuffing into your mouth. Cinema is a form of escapism, and it takes a particular kind of tool to complain about unrealism in a medium that celebrates the art of making believe. It takes an even more special kind of snowflake to complain about the lack of realism in genres that are inherently fantastical (e.g. science fiction, fantasy, action). 

I will say, however, that there is a difference between proclaiming something “unrealistic” and saying that a situation or a performance is unbelievable. The former is usually a complaint about the way situations are created, while the latter is a reaction to someone’s conviction as a performer. For example, “I can’t believe that in Les Misérables, Marius falls in love with Cosette at first sight when he knew Éponine better!” This argument, to me, is irritating because it’s someone applying their personal sensibilities to a character, disregarding everything about the circumstances surrounding the film. It is important to Marius’ character arc that he fall in love with Cosette at first glance, because it feeds into this epic story of unrequited romance during the French Revolution in Les Mis. The funny thing is that people always say that love at first sight only happens in the movies, and yet when it does happen in the movies we scoff at it. Isn’t that odd? I doubt that anyone would want to see twelve years of courtship unfold onscreen just to prove to audiences that this is a legitimate romance. On the other hand, saying something like “I just couldn’t believe John Cusack was Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven. He may have looked the part, but I didn’t believe the character.” That statement is a criticism of an actor’s ability to give a convincing performance, and a script’s weakness in illustrating his character on screen. 

The short answer is: if you’re going to watch a movie, immerse yourself in it. Accept that there is a place called Narnia where lions talk and witches are dressed in white (not the traditional black), and don’t disparage a film for not conforming to your personal preferences. Celebrate unrealism because making believe at the movies is the most fun you can have while sitting down.

imagemdma asked:

Why do you like film? As a medium, what draws you to it more than others? And at what age, or if possible, what film, gave you that "feeling" that this method of storytelling was going to capture your attention for the rest of your life?

I feel like film as a medium can play with ambiguity a lot more compared to, say, literature or music, and as such that structure allows for creativity to really flow because you can create meaning not only through the use of moving images but through employing sound, music, editing, camera work, acting, etc. When I watch movies, I’m always amazed at how the people involved are able to figure out the best ways of translating the written word (a screenplay, or adapted novel) for the screen and use the many tools that are at their disposal in order to create meaning. For instance, I love that in film you can defer to a rousing score or a muted color palette in order to set a mood. Being able to replace what would have been twelve pages of internal character conflict in a book with the simple use of a well-composed score in film is impressive to me. Movies are all about how filmmakers choose to juxtapose different elements in order to create meaning. Every film, then, is a testament to how fluid the medium is.

The first film that convinced me that this was a medium that would transfix me for life was Disney’s Fantasia. You can read my Ode to Cinema for more on why that is. 

imagemdma asked:

What horror films scarred you as a child?

Definitely Stephen King’s It, Child’s Play and The Exorcist. It scared the bejeezus out of me and pretty much ruined clowns for me to this day. Child’s Play mortified me as a kid, but I can watch it now as an adult with no trouble. I think that when you grow up playing with dolls, barbies, G.I. Joes, Chucky just ruins all that for you. And finally, The Exorcist. I was way too young when I watched this film. I had actually read the book when I was twelve, and it definitely wasn’t kiddie fare. I’ve always read books that weren’t exactly age appropriate so I thought I could handle The Exorcist, but boy that was absolutely frightening for a kid, especially since I grew up Catholic and in a very religious culture.

imagemdma asked:

Not a question.... I'm surprised you like Son's of Anarchy. It seems like such a watered down product. Compared to FX's best series (The Shield), it really comes off as this USA soap opera set to the backdrop of a biker gang. They always play really terrible crap rock during "action" sequences. I dunno, I lasted a season. The end bit was far better than most of season 1, but I really was expecting more from a network that had The Shield.

I’m surprised that you consider it watered down. I think there’s a fine line between exploitative and daring, and I think the show toes that line really well. I think it manages to be provocative without being sensational, which is especially commendable for a show revolving around a “biker gang”. I think it’s easy to get distracted by the idea that it is about a group of guys who ride bikes, and some audiences never get past that so they barely last a whole season, but as the seasons progress you find that their “gang” resembles more of a dysfunctional family, the same ones we see on different shows every day, and the same ones we may have ourselves. I don’t know if you knew this, but the show is a modern take on Hamlet, and I think they’ve pulled this off in a really creative way without being too literal. With regards to the crap rock, well, I think the use of it points more to the absurdity of the way these guys live more than anything. The idea that these guys can go home to their families at the end of the day after spending an afternoon shooting at people is inherently absurd, and I personally think it’s this self awareness that makes the show unique and enjoyable. 

It’s certainly easy to compare it to The Shield; Sons is, after all, the brain child of the same twisted and brilliant mind, Kurt Sutter. While thematically they are very similar, I think Sons has a cast of characters that sets it apart from any other show I’ve seen. There’s also a unique vibe to this show that I really enjoy, and one that sets it apart from The Shield. It’s sort of a modern epic vibe that is, as you mentioned, set against the backdrop of a biker gang (although I think they prefer the term “motorcycle club” haha). I think it’s fine to make comparisons, but I personally enjoyed both shows and appreciate the opposing perspectives.