Coming This Month: August 2014

Well, July went by in a blur. My movie log for the month wasn’t as impressive I had thought, mostly consisting of repeats of children’s films. Sure, I’ve been able to tick off some other films from the 1001 list through early mornings and borrowed DVDs.

As I approach senior year, I have to focus my time and effort on my senior project. I’m revising my proposal as well as working on pre-production for it. Storyboards, scheduling, writing treatments, contacting people, compositing, editing, all in four months. It should be 90% finished by late November. I can always polish it in the spring.

That said, my posts will be less frequent. If I do review a film, odds are it will be for our film club or something for the 1001 Movies Club. Otherwise, it’ll be some reflections as a supplement to my project.

Please Stop Talking

I don’t like loud noises. I’m not the first person to say this, nor will I be the last. I become mentally drained after continuous exposure to loud noises, which makes events like art openings and sporting events a problem (movies are another issue).

I’m not a loud person. I was raised in a house where silence only exists in sleep. Whatever you’re doing can be heard through the walls and floors. That said, I learned that silence can be golden. So whenever someone new shows up at our house and is louder than normal, I get agitated because it goes above the normal threshold.

This week, I have loud company staying at our place. Needless to say, I’ve been itching to seek solitude. If it was in a larger space that could accommodate the volume, like a gym or a park, then I’d be fine because it’s sometimes necessary to have a louder voice. But no, I hear each foot hit the hardwood floor like a fallen piano and screeching.

I’ve had moments where I would mutter the phrase “please stop talking” under my breath or in my head because the sound would be too much. In a futile attempt to drown out the sound, I sometimes slip on some earbuds and crank out some Pink Floyd. It’s fighting loud public sound with loud private sound; either way, both parties lose.

In large settings, like a baseball game or an art opening, I shut down entirely. I don’t become upset because I don’t want to make a scene. Instead, I retreat to my inner thoughts and plan the following week. I’ll go about and interact with people if the opportunity arises, but odds are that I’m not going to be as grounded as I’d like to be.

The obvious option would be to remove myself from the situation. That’s not always possible. I’ll step out from time to time and fiddle with some spools that a good friend of mine gave me. Other than that, I have to stay through the whole thing because I didn’t drive to the event in the first place.

I’m planning on getting some noise-canceling headphones for my birthday. At the same time, I know that I’ll need those kind of headphones for my senior project for acoustic reasons. For now, I have to grin and bear it. What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, I guess.

Sync or Swim: Videodrome is Human After All

videodrome sync

 

NOTE: This was originally featured on caragale’s Silver Screen Serenade as part of the Blogiversary Bash. This post is published on my blog for archival purposes. You can find the original here.

During my first viewing of Videodrome, I noticed the helmet looked like a prototype for a Daft Punk costume. The next day, I found an “alternate soundtrack” to the Criterion Collection print on YouTube (definitely needs some work in my opinion). But then I recalled that Daft Punk once had an album with a television screen on the front, Human After All. I put the two together and it worked. You can stream this live on moviessynced.com. Fair warning, the film was R to begin with so it’s not exactly for the kiddies.

Credit for the composite image belongs to me.

Start the album when the Universal logo appears. The album will play exactly twice.

Points of Interest

  • The aforementioned helmet was what led me to the sync.
  • The music video for “Technologic” features a robot child watching television and receives instructions.
  • The covers for the singles of “Human After All”, “The Prime Time of Your Life”, “Robot Rock”, and “Technologic” all have televisions.

Act I

Human After All

  • It looks like the television is talking, saying that “we are human after all.”
  • Max peruses through some nude shots, satisfying some base need.
  • Max looks for some new programming for the channel, something sensational. It is only human to be curious about the unknown.

The Prime Time of Your Life

  • “Primetime” as one word refers to an evening time slot on television.
  • The satellite dish creaks like the electronic sounds heard in the song.
  • The music starts to speed up when Max sees Videodrome for the first time.

Robot Rock

  • Nicki is at a radio station.

Steam Machine

  • The song starts as the television screen flickers.
  • Max and Nicki engage in some steamy interaction, even if the world transforms into something else.

Make Love

  • In the restaurant, Max and Marsha talk about what Videodrome really is. Marsha has ties to the porn community. I think I’ll leave you to make the connection.

The Brainwasher

  • Max visits O’Blivion’s mission where people meet to get their fix of television. Is whatever they’re watching brainwashing them?

On/Off

  • We hear different audio clips as someone changes channels.

Television Rules the Nation

  • Max meets Bianca, O’Blivion’s daughter, who runs the mission.
  • It turns out that the goal of the mission is to have television become a major part of everyday life. In other words, “television rules the nation”.

Technologic

  • The robotic mantra that plays throughout the song is mouthed by O’Blivion on tape.
  • Take a look at the official music video for the song. The robot child watches himself on television, receiving instructions. This is similar to how O’Blivion tells Max about Videodrome.

Emotion

  • Max tries to come to terms with what he saw.
  • After a while, the word “emotion” starts to sound like “emulsion”, like film emulsion.

Act II

Human After All

  • Max leaves for Spectacular Optical Corporation.
  • The video message relayed by Barry Convex looks like he says “human after all”.

The Prime Time of Your Life

  • Max dons the Daft Punk prototype helmet.
  • The helmet scans in time with the electronic sounds in the beginning.
  • The helmet records Max’s hallucinations so that they can be aired later, possibly “primetime”.
  • The music speeds up once Max receives the whip in the Videodrome studio.
  • The music becomes frenzied once he sees the bound woman in his bed.

Robot Rock

Steam Machine

  • Max is reprogrammed by Barry, making him a machine of sorts.
  • The end of the song sounds like the eponymous machine is running out of steam, much like Max as he crawls away to catch his breath.

Make Love

  • Max tries to destroy everyone at CIVIC-TV, going against the statement “make love, not war”.

The Brainwasher

  • Max is reprogrammed (or brainwashed, whatever you choose) to take down Videodrome.

On/Off

  • Max is “on” a mission to “off” Videodrome.

Television Rules the Nation

  • Max wants to make sure that the song title does not happen.

Technologic

  • Max walks in time to the beat after Barry dies.

Emotion

  • Max seems to lack emotion as he is told to end it all.

While the album is not one of Daft Punk’s best, I’ll admit that my hunch produced some interesting, albeit mixed results. The lyrics don’t offer much in terms of narrative, so the connections are sparse as the movie goes on. Nonetheless, I’m proud to claim it as my second official sync.

Sync grade: B

The Lux Quartet

What started as a simple one-film project has turned into something more. I’ve found sometimes that light is something stationary and utilitarian. With this quartet, I gave it the leading role.

 

 

This was intended to be one-and-done. It was simply keying out the night sky and compiling the footage into one piece while putting it to music. After featuring it in some school exhibitions as well as here, I felt like there was more that could be done.

 

 

While the light in Pacem in Lucem was originally stationary in real life (streetlamps on an Ohio road), I wanted something more spontaneous. By using fireworks, I found that the light had no set direction other than “up”. Even then, some go in different directions, uncertain of where to go.

 

 

Here, I find that when you slow things down, the medium becomes more meditative. The music in question is nothing more than a string sample and a keyboard sample slowed down several times. The lights like to dance to the music. Instead of the usual techno-heavy spectacle from the original footage, I give them time to shine before their big finale.

 

 

I figured that the best way to finish the series would be to combine efforts. I found that Norman McClaren did the same thing and made a third film out of Horizontal and Vertical. Unfortunately, the file size was far too large for me to upload so the overall piece is shorter than the original form by a minute. If I do get the resources to do so, then it’ll happen.

The color is removed from the light so as to keep it pure. At the same time, I did not want music for this piece. I took a cue from Stan Brakhage and omitted sound entirely. I realize that when I submit this particular film that I need to add a note requesting that there should be no music when it is screened.

Presently, I’m prepping for senior project as well as some other small experiments with fractal noise, color correction, and lighting. I would like to some of these screened at other festivals, in part or as a whole. This means I have to look outside northeastern Indiana.

Movie Review: The Nutty Professor

 

I found this on the list and figured it would be a while before I could find a copy. The remake was available in most stores I visited but the original was not to be found; that is until this past weekend. One copy on tape for fifty cents, couldn’t pass it up considering the scarcity.

A totally inept chemistry professor goes from Jekyll to Hyde in order to woo a student.

This was my first Jerry Lewis film. All I knew about him was that he was a comedian, he has a telethon every Labor Day, and the idea that the French find him hilarious; whether the last part is true, I don’t know. Once he started talking, my heart sank as the voice grated on my ears.

I never liked obnoxious comedic voices or crossed eyes for the sake of getting a laugh. Seeing Jerry as the professor, I cringed. I started to question the inclusion of this film on the list, thinking they needed at least one of his films. I found out afterwards that this was one of three.

But then I found a shot where his back was toward the camera. It dawned on me that I looked like that (in the back). The diction, the mannerisms, his introverted nature, it was me. Remove the whine in the voice, correct the eyes, thicken the frames on the glasses, close the mouth, and it’s me. I was surprised because of this connection.

Do I have moments where I wish I wasn’t socially awkward or was suave and sophisticated? Sure, but I wouldn’t put Buddy Love as the paragon of “cool”. But in the world of opposites, he is in every way the Hyde whether we like it or not.

During the scene where they talk about the senior prom, I got confused. For most of the movie, I assumed that this was college solely because of the title “professor”. But when the term “senior prom” was mentioned, I became uncomfortable as it turned into high school. After some rationalizing and a few more minutes with the film, it turned out to be college. Do they still throw senior proms in college or was that something only done back then?

Aside from the acting, I liked the use of color, especially for the Purple Pit. Even though I saw this on tape, it still looked vibrant.

Did I like this film? Somewhat. Even with the strange connection, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud. I make it a point to watch the original version of a film first before the remake, just to understand what the remake might do better or worse. This is one of the few where I wonder if the remake improves upon the original. That remains to be seen.

6/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection