Ben-Hur: An Audio-Visual Study | CinemaScope, Ancient Rome and the Film Music Golden Age

Before Cinerama and CinemaScope, the movies contented audiences with screens whose dimensions averaged 20 feet by 16 feet. With the wide-screen technologies and formats of the 1950s, the movies engulfed their audiences, wrapping images as great as 64 by 24 feet around them (Belton, 2013, pg. 185). Belton went on to observe, that ‘The wide-screen revolution represented a dramatic shift in the film industry’s notion of the product that it was supplying to the public…shifting its primary function of providing entertainment to the public to include another function as well – that of recreation’ (pg. 186). The movie experience as mandated by the studios’ attempt to reverse the dropping audience attendance rate with spectacles of epic proportion, engaged their audiences through sheer illusory immersion, not only through giant images, but revolutionary multi-track stereo sound as well. Such an audio-visual effect was utilised to its zenith by a subset of gigantic productions during this period: historical epics.

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Funomenal Rear-view Contemplation: Best of Film & Game Music 2019

If I were to think back to where I was in 2009, as a reference point for the decade that has just gone by…time REALLY didn’t go by THAT quickly huh?

This year’s contemplation came a few weeks late, because of the seriously bipolar weather suffered by Australia: bushfires in December/January quickly gave away to thunderstorms and flash flooding, which promptly knocked out our broadband.

A lot has happened. A lot of stories I got to witness and tell. A lot of triumphs and a lot of bullshit. Music enjoyment-wise as a fan of film music and soundtracks, the gold plunder is evermore deep, and I always relished in finding new names making it big in the spotlight.

2019 was also a year of goodbyes, as multiple years-long franchises close their curtains on a bygone era. How To Train Your Dragon. The MCU. Star Wars.

In continuing one of this blog’s last longstanding traditions, I present to you: the best in soundtracks of 2019.

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Film Analysis: People Will Talk (1951) | Mankiewicz’s Critique of Groupthink & McCarthyism

While People Will Talk, starring Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain, was billed under the romantic comedy genre with tinges of domestic drama surrounding pregnancy out of wedlock, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s production was evidently driven by such dense additional narrative circumstances that at times it would seem decidedly unfitting. While the two central plot threads presented by People Will Talk – namely Grant’s character Noah Praetorius’ misconduct scandal and Crain’s Deborah Higgins’ attempted suicide upon discovery of her unwanted pregnancy – are certainly far less elegantly interwoven during the film’s runtime as one might like, the title People Will Talk alludes to the grander ideals preached by what was ultimately a parable of moral decency and the shackles of social expectation, which the two outlined narratives both explore in blatant and elusively satirical ways.

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Japanese Film Festival 2019 (+ Kore-eda’s The Truth) | Reflections: Part I

Continuing on with the format I established with the SFF earlier this year, I will be sharing some thoughts I had watching a new roster of Japanese cinema, in the midst of a unusually busy season of films for me (last I checked, I had 11 movie tickets already lined up for November and December).

Regular readers many already be familiar with how my lineups usually look, and while I am always looking for opportunities to inch beyond my tendencies and preferred genres, I believe that this comfort zone of mine is at least diverse enough for surprises, while also satisfying my own tailored love for cinema.

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Sydney Film Festival 2019 | Reflections

As I look for ways to keep my writing brain well-oiled, I will be trying out a more ‘modular’ approach to blog posts: rather than dedicating each post to a singular theme that I hammer out mostly in one sitting, I’m taking a few pages from my old seasonal anime list posts, and compile short capsule reviews that I write throughout the week(s). In this instance, I have given myself a pretty decent schedule for the upcoming fortnight of movies that are screening at the annual Sydney Film Festival, and will be reflecting on each title I watch, before publishing it at its conclusion.

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Inner Life of Character | Helen Garner’s ‘Postcards from Surfers’

A self-invented definition for ‘character’ I always liked is ‘a personality, an expressive potential’ that can be harnessed through prose. A character’s effectiveness in narrative is defined by their expression of inner dimension. The layering of character would thus draw one’s attention to how a personality is molded through prose.

The inner life of a character.

And it is precisely this potential of personified liveliness that helps the story develop alongside the organic expansion of the character’s crafted persona. There is after all, a very favourable difference between an authentic character and a vehicle of plot that has lines of dialogue and scripts of action already predetermined within a story, at least according to Noah Lukeman when he wrote about characterisation. Lukeman stressed that the internal sense of self an author crafts for a character should act as the catalyst for the story. Their instinctual, compulsions and internal thought processes are just some ingredients that guides a character’s distinct liveliness.

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Funomenal Rear-view Contemplation: Best of Film & Game Music 2017

You know…I went into starting this post with snippets of ideas for the intro: something snappy, a humorously depressing comment on 2017, and end it with a cheesy flavour of hope. But instead…I ended up with this.

I think I’ve sampled more albums than I ever did in 2017: more varieties of artists both old favourites and new discoveries, an increasingly diverse set of classical repertoires, genres and origins. That comes with good news and bad news, and I think the good news is kinda obvious already. But the bad news: I’ve listened to less albums COMPLETELY than the past two years, since there’s always something I want to jump onto prematurely.

Nevertheless, I think it’s best I keep up this tradition of massive yearly reviews, where I get to highlight the world of background music, and to continue bastardising this idiotic concept that such music ‘shouldn’t be noticed’.

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Funomenal Rear-view Contemplation: Best of Film & Game Music 2016

And to think I don’t have to write any more words about film music for the rest of my life…”You’ve written more than enough“, some might say.

NOPE.

Like I always say, there’s something inherently magical about film music. I wouldn’t miss it for all the unoriginality (I prefer the word ‘homage’) that it so proudly displays at every glorious turn or twist. So. Let us have our 7 minutes and 38 seconds of pure bliss, away from the politics, away from 2017. Let’s go back to 2016 for just another few moments.

(Yes. You can pretty much guess my winners from just reading the above paragraph.)

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A Melodic Comparison: Film Music’s Many Invaluable Personalities | Joe Hisaishi, John Powell

(Page numbers are below the ‘related articles’ section. Please excuse its odd placing, as WordPress doesn’t allow me to alter its position.)

Note: this publication is a highly extensive and lengthy endeavour that invite readers to refer back to for analytical ideas. In other words, it is written with a sea of wiki-style links to additional readings, clips and videos, endless subject matters, tangents and covers a lot of ideas. I recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference, whenever you feel the need for some creative writing ideas, or just some music-based observations you find difficulty in analysing or putting your ideas into words. I hope my efforts help you in that regard.

A few months ago, I went on a tweeting rampage:

(You can find the entire tweet thread by clicking the time & date stamp.)

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For the Love of Art: Creativity and Technology | Charlie Chaplin, Aaron Koblin

As active documenters and expressive anchors for their respective time periods, artists and creative practitioners all demonstrated engagements to the mechanics and characteristics of their time, which are in turn reflected by how they build upon their works, through utilizing tools and technologies of their time. As a result, significant advancements in human technological capabilities are readily reflected upon by artists, who finds new frames of perceptions for their audiences to experience their artworks, and find meaning through and from new mediums of expressions and sensual cues.

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Valentine’s Day: Tale Time Special | Deadpool Discussion, Uncensored

deadpool-movie-2016-international-poster[1]Warning: Against my conventional tendencies, a considerably increased amount of cursing will be circulating around this particular publication, and won’t be censored. Naturally, reader discretion is advised.

It’s impossible, really, when it comes to determining what you loved more, after walking out of an opening day Deadpool showing: the film’s disregard for superficial rules, Deadpool being the biggest asshole, the crowd who laughed because you laughed at a joke that only you got (well…that WAS the hope), or when you laughed in an instinctive response to the audience’s laughter: attending film viewings with huge crowds can be the most amazing thing, if you somehow managed to find a balance between an audience with lively and responsive dispositions but also a crowd that’s respecting and understanding about NOT BEING A FUCKING LOUD AND DISTRACTING ASSHOLE. Sydney crowds do a generally good job with that…well, at least with my measuring balance being American crowds, as narrated by Youtube film critics.

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Tale Time: Re-Awakening the Force Within Me

The thing about choosing home cities and time zones: The mere fact that you live 12 hours in the future of most U.S. release dates (which for some reason, are all the important ones for Pop culture), means that sometimes, you get to be part of a worldwide Funomenon (shameless plug haw haw haw): being among the first in the world to watch the newest Star Wars film. Interestingly enough, the most bizarre thing about this entire adventure saga for me personally, actually came from the ticket booking incidents. Sure, I will talk about my thoughts on the movie (FYI it was good, so no worries!), but being the ranter that I am, I need to start from the beginning: how a Star Wars casual scum suddenly decided to supposedly fight teeth and bones to watch the film on the 17th of December, a day ahead the rest of the world?

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