Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Rants and Rages

Submitted by Martyn Finn

Ripping Slasher Flicks

I recently went to view the spectacle that is Freddy vs. Jason. Not having seen many of the predecessors, I wasn’t much bothered as I knew it would pretty much be a stand alone film. Sadly the only bright spark in the entire film was the opening, and then sadly the ending, for which I had to wait far too long for it to arrive. In between was some ridiculously condescending filmmaking from a classic sequence of slash horror movies. Whereas Nigthmare on Elm Street and the original Friday the 13th previously found cult success in simplistic gore and blood bathing beauties, today it seems abandoning that theme altogether would be the way to go to in the search for a new audience. How wrong this is, how very wrong. Trying to palm off some sort of intellectual intrigue by getting into the minds of the killers does nothing to attract the more advanced moviegoer, when from every scene has more blood and more gore than the one before. Why not be honest about the film you’re making? This is a film about death, violence, and topping the previous death scene. Why then would you try to flog us into believing it is something it is not? It’s hard work to watch and even harder to accept that this is anything but a fading franchise. With only one bright spark coming from the news that perhaps a prequel to Nightmare on Elm Street is in the works, this film promises nothing whatsoever. Yet such a bad film is light years ahead of anything the British film industry could ever dream of churning out, but that’s another article. I hope you enjoyed reading my vented frustration, and if you think I’m exaggerating, please be my guest, and go and bore yourself to death.

The State of the British Film Industry

Here’s a little tip for aspiring young British filmmakers. First, realize that Britain is a crap place to make films. No one likes the fact that you have a camera, and unlike Americans, hardly anyone wants to be on camera. People hardly ever let you film, even if you ask them. Lastly the weather is crap as are the available locations. I’ve seen the work of many amateur filmmakers, and their films all look terrible, simply because of the locations and weather. For God’s sake, if your interested in this sort of thing as a career at least care about the places that you shoot. Go out and take pictures of every angle. If it’s not right scrap it and move on. Make it look like a place only a movie would portray. For God’s sake think about lighting. That’s what sets us apart from the Americans these days. If the weather is crap then don’t shoot, wait for a nice day, because that's what puts people off watching British movies. They look dull and miserable so people won’t watch them, because we know what it’s like to be dull and miserable. We have windows. What we want to see is a glamorous view of Britain, America does it, why shouldn’t we? Why is it that we always make films about the poverty of Britain, or the crime, or the hatred of Britain? The reason, it’s easy. It’s easy to do because it’s easy to show something as it really is. The difficult thing, the thing we don’t want to do is try and make something its not. We all know how fake Hollywood is, that’s because they make the effort to create the sets and lighting to make us believe what is not really there. So pull your finger out Britain and make something worth watching, not something to slit your wrists over. To be honest, I haven’t even really started on the British film industry. I haven’t even begun to talk about acting, so look out for more tongue lashings from me.

Willy Opened My Eyes

It’s difficult to believe you can walk away from a Bruce Willis film these days and have something worthwhile to debate. Possible exceptions being his collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan. Coming out of Tears of the Sun recently with family by my side, a fierce deconstruction of the fabric of the last two hours began to churn. Looking at events all but abandoned in film these days, Tears of the Sun went on to graphically and gruesomely tell the story of what the world is really like today. Of course, the film also had elements of cheese and the hero factor was thrown in for all the die hard Willis fans. For someone less prone to tears of his own during a screening, I found myself charged with emotion when quite vividly the subject matter at times spelt out just how awful this world can be at times. This is just a quick note to thank Tears of the Sun for doing what so many other films should do. Tears of the Sun tackled difficult subject matter and themes and explored a number of issues that needed to be highlighted. After all, isn’t that what film is partly meant to do?

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