Monday, 11 February 2013

DiD Review

Mental illness is a very real problem in society today. Diagnosis of the problems people have is on the rise, although many question the validity of some of the more recent claims psychologists make about the human condition. One of the biggest controversies is over DiD (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or Multiple Personality Disorder. While there are some documented cases, the vast majority have been found to be false claims. Something that criminals sometimes use to try and get out of responsibility for the crimes they commit. If they were not in control, they can not be held responsible.

Which is why it is so controversial. It is extremely hard to prove as existing and only happens in rare cases. And that makes it an interesting case for filmmakers to use. Interesting but like the disorder itself, hard to truly pull off. More often then not filmmakers use a green screen to make it work. The ability to use green screen and use a single person for multiple personalities is an effective technique when the story calls for a split in a character's moral code. You just have to give the audience something to distinguish between the two sides of the character's conflict.

More recently there have been a number of shows which try to use that technique to talk about DiD and it can be very effective when used properly. Unfortunately, I don't think that DiD really uses it properly. The motivations of the differing personalities is somewhat unclear. One is angry at their mother, one does not speak and the other is trying to honor their mother's memory. But the question is why?

That is never full explored in this film. Something happened to them, that much is obvious and they are conflicted about how to deal with it. But why? The fact that they are able to use green screen towards the end of this film suggests that they had the ability to do something more difficult and knew enough to make it work but they did not.

More dialogue between the differing personalities would have make it work much better in my opinion. The description explains more about what is happening in the film then the film itself. If you came to it completely blind without the description you would be very much confused as to what is going on.

Even still, it is a very ambitious film, both from a film and script perspective. I just think with a little more work it would have been even better.

Agree? Disagree? Find out below:

You can also find more like this at Film Annex.

Grosse Pläne Review

Animation is a hard thing to get right. It requires a lot of work and effort on the part of anyone who undertakes it. Stop motion animation is particularly difficult but one of the newest ways to get people talking about you if you manage to pull it off. But you can not simply make it about anything you want. Stop motion has a particular style that lends itself to a particular type of content.

Which is not to say that you can not use it for anything, only that it is a bad idea. People see stop motion animation they tend to think of Wallace and Gromit. A family show aimed at a young audience. They think Chicken Run, again aimed at a young audience but made for families. These are the kind of things that are in people's minds. Going against that takes a great risk.

So when you do a stop motion animated short like Grosse Pläne, you have to know what you are doing. Thankfully, Irmgard Walthert appears to know this. The film is based on a childhood memory of theirs and a very cute one at that. It is a simple idea with simple intentions and that's the way it should be. Reaching an audience of younger viewers needs simplicity.

But simplicity does not mean that it is not smart, animated films like Monsters Inc and Shrek prove that. And I think this is where Grosse Pläne fails. It has many good elements and has insight into something smarter and more complicated but does not fully develop them.

Of course, 4 minutes is not a lot of time to develop an idea but that is where script becomes so important. Knowing the point you are trying to make from the get go informs the way the script develops. Even in a film with no dialogue, script is key. I am not certain that enough script development is what they have done.

It comes off more like a scene from a memory. Which it is, but that is not really a film. At least in my opinion.

Agree? Disagree? Find out below:

You can also find more at Film Annex.

Kyle Review

Relationships are never easy to figure out. There is almost no one you can talk to who can give you perfect advice on the subject. They are confusing. Partly because you have trouble really understanding the other person. Mainly because they are not you. Nowhere is this more difficult to figure out than in school.

Not only do you have the task of learning all sorts of information and figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, but you have the added stress of trying to figure out people. School is a proving ground for more than just test scores and knowledge. It is a proving ground for life.

Which is why it is so difficult. It is why there are so many films about the school, and particularly the high school experience. Juggling the two can be hell. Doing it on film can be even harder to figure out. You have to find a way to compress a story of what is most often a romance into an incredibly short period of time. Anyone who has attempted it knows it is a lot harder than it seems.

So I applaud Amy Hill for making the attempt. Although I am not entirely sure that she pulled it off. She appears to have fallen into a trap that many have in their attempts. I have fallen pray to it myself. The idea of having a particular scene in mind and writing to that. In this case it is a scene of two young school chums walking home together.

What the film lacks is a progression of character and dialogue. From the get go it is unclear as to what each character is doing and why they are there. The implication at one point is that they had made plans to walk home together or that the young girl has agreed to be walked home. This has not really been set up properly and thus we run into problems.

There are certain elements to the characters which are interesting. Their family lives and what they plan on doing when they grow up, but it feels like this has not entirely been thought out and the characters are designed to find reasons to talk rather than to actually attract the audience and keep them engaged for the full 12 minutes.

Still, the concept is pretty cute and worth looking at. I look forward to seeing what else the filmmaking has out there. To see what I am talking about, check it out below:

You can also check out more content at Film Annex.

Pinhead Review

Corporate culture is a strange thing to deal with. Anyone who has had any kind of job in an office environment stressful or not. People are prone to doing strange things in retaliation. Like steal office supplies, slack off or take longer lunches to avoid working in what can sometimes be a mundane activity. At the very least it can be a repetitive activity which over a long enough period of time can push a person past their limits. Never is there more tension then between an employee and their boss.

Reaching the limits of tension is part of the premise of Pinhead. An assistant working late at night for his boss tries to let off some steam, much to the chagrin of his boss who wants him to stay focused. To keep him that way, the boss has gone to extremes. The type of extremes that involve black magic and voodoo. Unorthodox, yes, but clearly effective.

I am not one to generally watch silent films, I generally prefer the kinds of films which attack as many senses as possible and that usually requires dialogue. On occasion though, you get one that manages to grab my attention. Pinhead is one such film. The animated film has enough energy and cool visuals to keep me interested and the characters evolve in such a cool way that it is worth seeing what will end up happening to them.

Who will win? Who will lose? Check out the film below and find out.

You can also check out more content like this at Film Annex.