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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Framed Cities: Cultural Citizenship & Urban Spatiality

Philosopher Alain de Botton stated at the 2013 CDI (or the City of Ideas International Festival), that “the media is the teacher…once you’ve left school and university, or in other words for most of your life, you will not be educated in a classroom, but by the media.” The accompanying and profound implications of citing media as the ultimate signifier and shaper of society and identity has led me to diagnose the contemporary main driving model of media consumption – namely the on-demand binge culture subtitled the ‘Netflix Effect’ – and how this…new experiential frame of consumption in turn re-frames urban culture. The methodological significance of studying the currently dominant formats of mass consumption and popular media, in conjunction with its influence on cultural identity, is what I would argue a post-human integration of technically separate but intrinsically co-existing schools of cinema studies and cultural sociology: namely the cinematic city’s integration with the urban experience and Charles Taylor’s concept of the ‘social imaginary’.

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Ghibli in the Cinemas: Totoro Premiere & The Story of the Hoarder

I’m actually not sure how I should tell this story for you. Is this just a collection of conventional thoughts on films, or am I supposed to frame this more as another one of my Tale Time entries? (Haven’t done one those in a while huh…)

Going to the cinema and watching a film works in conjunction when it comes to me recalling experiences for a blog post. Experiences never exist in voids, they meld and influence each other. Perhaps this is why I find it so difficult to write straight up film or TV series reviews, whether I watched it alone at home, or with a group of people. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that half the fun of watching a Summer blockbuster copy-and-paste explosion fest is the environment of a filled-out cinema, with some 400 people reacting to the same things you are.

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Artistry of Translation | Accenting Localisations (& A ‘Loveless’ Language?)

To properly articulate translation, is to essentially define it as a genre of artistry.

‘Artistry’ implies subjectivity. It confirms uncertainty, the lack of objectivity and exact science in translation as a craft and process. But translation as a craft also evokes a desire to understand; to render the unfamiliar so it may become familiar, if one were to paraphrase Hayden White (1978). This relationship of translation certainly reads like a process of linkage; a transportation railway that delivers meaning from one isolated frame of context (could be as vast as a country, or as mundane as an imperial/metric system transfer) to another. However, as I will be discussing here, such a reading on the art of translation would utterly erase the accents of such processes which give the newly translated entity its unique existence. Nothing exists as merely a ‘substitute’ for another.

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Ghost in the Shell & The Post-World Human | Identity & Self in a Cyber-Network

Duality: a simple but demonstratively cardinal term. The expressionistic properties of ‘duality’ alone can already form the metaphorical backbone of the most impressionable citings of physics, philosophy, mythology and visual arts in human history. Balance in its purest form constitutes two opposing beings; physical or otherwise, keeping each other in check. Gravity and mass, good and evil, light and dark. Man and machine.

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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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The Sound of Christmas | The Music, The Spirit and the Magnificent

You know that time of the year, when suddenly jingle bells (the actual thing…and that damn song) started appearing in every shopping mall you visit? The television channels starts to air cheesy Christmas-themed comedies and cartoons every 7pm (I think this is the 9th year in a row I remember seeing Elf staring Will Ferrell getting a re-airing on TV), and you start to overhear Michael Bublé-performed Christmas carols being played in car radios as you strolled along your home street.

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