Friday, 12 April 2013

Playground Review

There is an art to misdirection in film. It has been done on numerous occasions and with varying amounts of success in this film genre. M Night Shyamalan is one of the best examples of both the way to do it and the way not to depending on which of his movies you look into. Films like Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense do it very well, whereas films like Signs don’t necessary do it very well, or the misdirection doesn’t lead to a satisfying conclusion for many of the audience members. I know I had issues with it and many other people I know were not happy with it.

When it is done properly, it is really great, but when it is not done properly, it can sometimes ruin what up until the end can be a great film. Thankfully, Playground is on the side of misdirection done properly. The main character plays upon a lot of the ideas we have about people. As we go along in this film, we make certain assumptions about who he is and the way he live his life. His back story makes you think he is not the best person in the world. That he may be involved in some kind of criminal activity and is getting away with it. Enter the co-star, a young woman who again plays upon how we think about the realities of a young woman that is out at night. With these types of genre, most people have come to expect a twist of some kind. Film entertainment consumers have seen enough movies to know on some level that something is coming. But the mark of a good filmmaker today is in the ability of the filmmaker to keep the audience engaged in the story being told in the moment instead of waiting for the twist.

For Playground, I believe that the filmmaker Mark Kuczewski managed to do that. It is a very well written and shot film with an understanding of the material that it is trying to portray, I look forward to seeing more from them.

Check it out below or more from a lot of filmmakers at Film Annex.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Garden of Fetish Review

Art is a strange subject these days. People have this idea of the art world and what it should be. However no one seems to have the same idea of what that is. The concept of art, as most people will tell you can be a very subjective thing. What is good for some people is bad art to another. Many people take that to mean that whatever you create with the intention of making art is by extension, itself art. There is a lot of validity in making such an argument. Some of the best art out there today was at one time seen to be strange and disturbing is praised in today’s art scene as classic.

But filmmaking is a different animal, art for the sake of making art, which is an idea held by many filmmakers today, is not necessarily the best approach because not everyone gets art for the sake of art. Many people are put off by it at first and that can be a troubling thing. You can’t wait for an audience to take the time to grow with you and appreciate your art over time in the way that a painting can be seen multiple times and appreciated more over time.

Film is an instant gratification medium in a lot of ways. You have to grab your audience emotionally in the first few minutes or you will lose them for the rest. In short films this is an even shorter period and on the web where most film is going you have seconds because of the volume of content that is out there. So art for the sake of art has trouble attracting an audience if not giving something for the audience to latch onto immediately. The Garden of Fetish attempts to be a commentary on this type of art.

Much like a lot of film entertainment today, it attempts to buck the trend of online film and storytelling by being art for the sake of art. There are definitely a lot of symbolic elements to the story that is attempting to be woven into the film that plays to that but I worry that this type of film does not give an audience what they are looking for emotionally to keep them entertained long term in today’s online entertainment driven culture. It’s a nice little film about the state of the art world today, but I am not entirely sure the filmmaker understands the art world today to speak about it that way.

Still, it is an interesting film and you should check it out if you have a chance. You can also check out more on Film Annex.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Attack of the Giant Vegetable Monsters Review

The thing about the horror films of today is that it preys upon certain basic ideas we have about humanity. When you watch a horror film, particularly a scary horror film (because there are some that are not), you have to remember that what you are seeing is a reflection of us, the kinds of fears that we live with today on a daily basis. However, classic horror films tend to be about something else. They tend to be a reflection of a fear that we used to have once upon a time. A time long since passed even though there are many who lived in that time. Making movies today of those types of genre requires an understanding of that concept and the ability to carry it out. A parody can sometimes go either way. The idea can be to reflect a current fear and do it in classic horror film style to evoke the nostalgia for that era, or it can be an attempt to do the opposite and use current horror film style with a classic fear to make fun of it. Either can be pretty effective if done well.

In the case of Attack of the Giant Vegetable Monsters, I am not entirely sure which they were going for. I am not even entirely sure what it is that the fear is trying to evoke. But in classic parody format they clearly understand the film genre they are making fun of. They understand the monster movie and they understand the kind of film genre that exists out there, and often times in a parody that can be more important than anything else. Because of that, I really liked the film in question. I thought it was one of the more entertaining movies that I have seen on the site and it had some great elements.

The animation was very simple but that goes with the setting and the era they are trying to invoke. Plus the little twist at the end, which I can say I was not really expecting definitely had me liking it even more. I say check it out below or find more on Film Annex.