Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Maya Tutorial: Modelling 1: Digital Set- Alley Set

Fig 1: Alley Set


This is my finished scene for the Alley Set, while modelling and setting up the scene was quite easy, it was when I was at the lighting that I started having trouble. I'd like to do more about specular and bump mapping for textures as I haven't done those things before.

Also, I actually lost the file as I had to delete it as I had ran out of room on my memory stick for the What if? Metropolis project, luckily I was able to get the file back (and I have bought an external hard drive to stop this incident from repeating) and was able to get it done. In this incident I blame unorganisation on my part.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Maya Tutorials: Intro to Lighting

Fig 1: Midday Lighting

Fig 2: Sunset Lighting

Fig 3: Romantic Lighting

Fig 4: Night Lighting
Fig 5: Indoor Lighting



Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Personal Work- Great Aunt's House


As my Great Aunt and Uncle are very hard to buy for, this Christmas my Mum got me to draw their house to stick in a photo frame to give to them. So after a few sneaky trips round to take reference photos that made us look like we were scoping the place out to burgle it, and a few days drawing it out, I finally got it done to be printed just before the printing shop closed for the holidays :')
Ahh I hope she likes it...

Friday, 18 December 2015

Film Review: Only God Forgives

Fig 1: Film Poster of Only God Forgives

The 2013 film by the director of the film "Drive", Nicolas Winding Refn endeavour in the struggles of masculinity in a hostile environment of the drug scene in Bangkok.  Julian, a manager at a Bangkok fighting club to disguise his true career of drug smuggling, with his brother, Billy. Billy is brutally killed as punishment for the rape and murder of a young teenage prostitute by the hands of her father, ordered to by a cop who thrives on vengeance and justice. The ordeal starts off a string of events all for revenge as soon as Julien's mother, Crystal, and head of the operation arrives. The relationship of mother and son as well as the problems of masculinity and male aggression is explored through heavily gruesome scenes of violence and sexual themes. "Saying that Only God Forgives is violent is like saying that Hell is hot."(Jonathan Robbins, Film Comment, Blogspot)
Fig 2: Shot of Julian 
Starting in the fight club the two brothers own, Julian's older brother, Billy walks out into the street in a soured mood, smashing up strip clubs and raping and murder a teenaged prostitute. He is murdered for his actions by the girl's mourning father, who was forced to do the act by the police chef Chang.
After lamenting over his brother's death by going to a prostitute den, Julian and the rest of his gang go to find his brothers murderer, the man missing a forearm due to Chang cutting it off as punishment for allowing his daughter to sell herself for money. After listening to the man's story as to why he did what he did, Julian lets him go.
While this is happening, after finding out about her son's death,  the kingpin of the drugs operation and mother to the two men, Crystal arrives. She is disgusted when she hears that Julian let the murderer of her dead son go. She arranges a dinner with her last remaining son, scornful over the fact that it was Billy who died and not Julian, who brings along the prostitute Mai as his girlfriend. His mother sees though the ploy, berating her now only son with how inferior he is that he'd stoop so low. Julian seems to take all of the sour and hateful comments from his mother on the chin, but as they leave he turns on Mai making her stripe out of her dress outside in an alleyway. The matriarch then sends one of the members of the fight club as a hitman on the man who killed Billy. The police arrive at the fight club later on to enquire about the murder, Julian isn't seen as the culprit but he recognises Chang.
After the reveal that the police captain was involved, Crystal sets up a hit on him and his men. Following this, three bikers storm a cafe, when the police are having a meal, with guns ablaze. Chang survives the onslaught and starts to chase one of the men who abandons his bike, after shooting the other two dead. He hits the man across the head with a frying pan full of hot oil, and makes the man lead him to their leader, who is feeding his young disabled son. Chang kills the hitman as so that the boy isn't without a father, while getting a lead on a man close the Crystal, Bryon. They then go to a club where Bryon is said to be located, upon finding him Chang goes about slowly torturing him about the location of his boss in the most gruesome scene in the film.
Julian gets into contact with Chang, after watching him sing on stage, and asks him to come to the fight club for a match. The dramatic build up is for nothing as Chang is able to knock the man down, receiving barely any damage to himself. After the police chief leaves, Crystal comes up to the beaten Julian telling him that Chang knows that it was her who ordered the hit and that she wants her remaining son to go to his home to murder both him and his family, promising that the two of them will go back to America together as a family after this is all over.
As Julian and the hired hitman Charlie, arrive on seen at Chang's house and successful kill the family's nanny. Julian cant go through with killing the chief's daughter, shooting Charlie as he's about to pull the trigger. Meanwhile Chang goes to Crystal's hotel room. She blames Julian for everything that happened in the film, saying that he is deranged and not worth anyones time. Chang then slashes her throat, leaving her to bleed out against the window. Julian arrives to the scene, cutting into his mothers stomach and slowly inserts his hand in the incision. He is then left in a delusional state, ending up in a field with Chang and his group of officers who watch and the blade comes down on the disturbed young man.
The film ends with Chang, back in the club the police frequent, singing as the credits roll by.

Fig 3: Shot of Chang singing in a bar the police frequent


While it is a short film at only 90 minutes long, Only God Forgives, is able to show the struggles of being in the crime life, and off masculinity and how that life effects what being a man is. Through the nearly mute protagonist played by Ryan Gosling, who was also in Refn's other film Drive, who only had around 17 lines throughout. Most of his and Chang's actions are through their actions, resulting in gruesome and violent scenes that dominate the film.  The violence the two create are described repellent and seemingly violent just for the sake of it, resulting in gruelling and gruesome set pieces, balancing out the brutality through the set design (Jesse Cataldo, Slant Magazine)
Julian's mother, Crystal is probably one of the most interesting yet disgusting character in the movie, she implies incestual relations with her sons, commenting on how Billy was more endowed then Julian, and while she could just be talking about Billy's more leadership behaviour the fact that she words if in such a way makes it unnerving. However she is the only means to get context as to what Julian is as a character, and the fact that she's in charge of all these men results in her being an empowering feminine figurehead in this world of men. She is the only female in the film who isn't used as a sex object but instead she is a seductive maternal character in power up against the righteous law enforcer Chang, the "villain" of the film.

The film's set design is full of colour and details, embracing the Thai city surroundings, scenes in market places and of Chang's house are full of detail that makes it so that even if the film is making the viewer bored the backgrounds will keep them invested. As Damon Wise puts it, "Courtesy of cinematographer Larry Smith, who makes the neon sleaze of Bangkok both dangerous and beautiful, everything is bathed in disorientating primary colours,"
Examples of what a great job the cinematographer Larry Smith did, the insides of fancy night-clubs and strip clubs are illuminated by bright neon glows, the unrealistic lighting is realistic for the place but can also connote to how Julian isn't all there mentally after his brother's murder. Some colours feature prominently with some of the characters, Julian cover is a red fight club while Chang is usually shown in blues, like the bar where he sings, to the greens of nature like at the end of the film. Crystal's apartment is monochrome, make her death and blood stand out more against the white surroundings.

Overall Refn seems too have made this film with the point of it being, the struggles of masculinity, violence, and over saturated colours in the backgrounds, with multiple still shots just to show off these aspects.

Bibliography

Fig 1: http://www.yourfaceisa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/OnlyGodForgives.jpg

Fig 2: https://thecinematika.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/only-god-forgivesscene1.jpg

Fig 3: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xoKOxI-Y3PQ/UgbcAhIJbkI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/-ja1HV3oNrA/s1600/only+god+forgives+karaoke.jpg

Jonathan Robbins: http://www.filmcomment.com/blog/review-only-god-forgives-nicolas-winding-refn/

Damon Wise: http://www.empireonline.com/movies/god-forgives/review/

Jesse Cataldo: "The Violence is repellent and presented seemingly for its own sake, resulting in grueling, gruesome set pieces, sadistically couching its brutality within a high-style pictorialism that's both hard to watch and difficult to look away from."-http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/only-god-forgives

Film Review: Susperia

Fig 1: Film Poster for Susperia
Having a passion might become the worst thing possible, when a young american ballet student starts to attend a prestigious dance school in Europe. She gets swept up in a world of murder, bizarreness and of witchcraft. Susperia was created in 1977 by the Italian director Dario Argento, being the first part of his trilogy "Three Mothers". The set design of the film uses bright intoxicating colours, bold solid colours, primarily red, with some blues and greens. Every scene in the school are full of brilliant and unique patterns for each room. The unrealistic lighting breaks any sense of reality, making the school look fantastical and improbable when compared to the subtlety of the scenes at the university towards the climax of the film. A musical motive is played throughout as a sign to the gruesome or unnerving occurrences, first being played as the protagonist, Suzy Bannion, walks out the doors of the airport to travel to her new home for the duration of the film. A haunting theme, titled "Goblin", with chimes, drums and harsh chants that builds up as the action, whether it be murder or hints to the schools dark secrets take place.
"Eager to menace the audience from every sensory direction, Argento doesn't so much create and sustain an illusion of terror as invite you to marvel at his garish ingenuity, at the spectacle of a filmmaker who can't resist overstylizing and upstaging his material." (Gary Arnold, 1977, Washington Post)
Fig 2: Shot of the entrance of the Dance School
The film begins with Suzy leaving the airport while in the middle of a heavy storm, just as she's about to arrive at the school, she spots one of the students running through the forrest. The girl is panicked for some reason, running into her room where her roommate inquires what happened to her. The girl escapes to the bathroom for safety, however, the wind blows open the window. Has she goes to close the window, she is brutally attacked by a mysterious assailant. The unknown man drags her to the glass area of the roof that overlooks the main hall, where her friend is looking for her. The glass smashes, subsequently hanging the girl and stabbed her friend down below with a large shard of glass, a very gruesome sight.
Suzy comes back to the school the following day, after not being allowed access the previous day.  The head of the school, Madam Blanc, tours her around the facility. She is offered a place in the dorms but she refuses as she has a place with one of the third year girls. The next day, Suzy is struck with a case of anaemia in the middle of practise and is forced to move to the dorms in order to be treated with regular meals. A few days after that, an infestation of maggots leads to the evacuation of the second floor dorms, with the students having to sleep in one of the practise halls. Suzy's neighbour and friend Sarah wakes her up who recognises the snores behind the curtain as the school director's, due to the distinctive whistling. Her presence is odd as Sara reveals that the director of the school was not due to be there for a few more weeks.
After the incident with the maggots, the blind piano player, Daniel, is forced to leave the premises after it is revealed that his dog bit Madam Blanc's young nephew. Outraged, Daniel goes to the local german pub for a beer, but as they leave his dog starts to act up. Confuses as to why his dog is acting so strangely, the blind man tries to see if there is anyone out there before his dog leaps and starts to rip out his throat. Killing the man instantly, the beast begins to start eating its owner before being chased by some local police. Upon hearing the news, the teachers at the academy aren't so remorseful saying that the dog wasn't obedient and that Daniel had it coming.
The next day, Suzy recalls the words "Iris" and "Secret" that the girl she saw on her first day, running away in the storm said just before he demise. Later on when Suzy is swimming with Sarah in the school pool, Sara reveals her connections with the girl who died that day, named Pat. She was close friends with her but toward the end she started to act strange. Sarah then remembers that Pat had wrote notes about the strange goings ons on the school. When they are about to go to bed, the girls try to find the notes, but Suzy starts to get sleepy and upon hearing footsteps outside Sarah flees outside into the hallway and up to the attic, with the feeling of something following her. Locked in a small room, she makes a tower of suitcases to get her out the window before the assailant gets in. However she falls into a pit of barbed wired and slowly dies from the blood lose as the wires cut into her skin.
The next morning, Suzy inquires about the whereabouts of Sarah, only for Madam Blanc to say that she left the campus. Struck with a weird feeling, Suzy goes out to meet an associated of Sarah's, Frank Mandel, who explains about the premise of witches and the origins of the school and the founder Helena Markos who was believed to of been a witch. He passes her onto his colleague who says that when the queen is destroyed then so is the coven.
When she returns to the school, Suzy finds the place eerily abandoned as the other students have all gone off site to see a show at the theatre. She then over hears the same footprints Sarah heard and proceeds to follow them all the way to Madam Blanc's office. Looking at the floral decoration on the feature wall, she remembers what Pat said on that first night, and grabs hold of the iris flower, which turns out to be a door handle to a secret room. Suzy discovers that the teachers and other staff members are plotting for her death and she stumbles into a bedroom in fear. However the room houses the "Black Queen" Helena Markos who summons the corpse of Sarah to kill Suzy. Luckily, Suzy is able to stab the old hagged witch in the throat, killing her and makes for her escape as the school starts to collapse and be set ablaze all around her. She is able to escape and relieved she smiles at the downpour of rain above her and walks away from the cursed building as it slowly burns to the ground.
Fig 3: Shot of Suzy in the Room of the Witch in the climax point of the film.

The use of colour in Susperia as well as set design are the stand out part of the film. While the acting and story is subpar and basic. The acting isn't the best and the audio is barely audible under the movie's loud soundtrack that Argento proudly has playing at every important moment in the film to the point were probably the best way to watch the film is with subtitles turned on. It is obvious that he took a lot more care into how the film looks, over the quality of the plot, example being the very first murder which full of clever rigging and a great set up from the visuals to the sound effects of the thunderstorm, making the killing of the 2 girls impactful for the rest of the movie. "Thunderstorms and extraordinarily grotesque murders pile up as Argento happily abandons plot mechanics to provide a bravura display of his technical skill." (Scott Meek, Timeout London)

The set design makes this film memorable just for how bold it is, it's not like other films of the same genre and type, It doesn't rely on common horror sets, which are usually dark and dismal, instead utilising bold patterns and colours through out the film up until the secret hallway and the witches room instead the dance school which use more muted golds and blacks. The scenes shot outside the school such as pub Daniel's in after being fired and the university Suzy goes to visit Frank Mandal, use a more realistic colour scheme then the more fantastical colour scheme of the school. A key colour of the school is red, the colour accommodating the song "Goblin" as Suzy leaves the airport, is red. "Argento works so hard for his effects—throwing around shock cuts, colored lights, and peculiar camera angles—that it would be impolite not to be a little frightened." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader)


Bibliography

Fig 1: http://www.film.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/suspiria.jpg

Fig 2: https://espacedeguiguillaume.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/url1.jpg

Fig 3: http://www.movementmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/suspiria-photo-de-presse_4_.jpg

Gary Arnold: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1977/08/24/suspiria-upstaged-terror-gone-wild/5d1e5c74-2c59-4f80-9209-1e22101f5951/

Dave Kehr: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/suspiria/Film?oid=1151181

Scott Meek: http://www.timeout.com/london/film/suspiria

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Maya Tutorial: 1,2, and 3 Point Lighting

Fig 1: 1 Point Lighting

Fig 2: 2 Point Lighting

Fig 3: 3 Point Lighting




Fig 4: 3 Point Lighting with Kicker Light Underneath

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Maya Tutorials: UV Layout

Fig 1: Final Render of the Set of Blocks

Fig 2: The UV Layout and the model side by side

Fig 3: Model of Block

Fig 4: Render of blocks without smoothing the models first

While the tutorial made the process of UV mapping look quite simple, with the sides being a square shape when cut and unfolded, when I did it there were slight distortions with two of my sides which seemed to neaten out a little when I unfolded it again. When sorting out the models and smoothing it as well, maya wouldn't let me smooth the object at first but when I performed the action again they did indeed smooth out. While I did have some minor hindrances, I found this tutorial to be interesting and I feel as if I understand the process a lot more.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Film Review: The Shining

Fig 1: Poster of The Shining, featuring an iconic shot of Jack Torrance bursting thought the bathroom door

Directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1980 and based loosely on the Steven King book of the same name, The Shining demonstrates the doesn't to madness of an already unhinged man, trapped in an hotel with his family up in the snowy mountain side of Colorado. While King himself stated that he hated the film as an adaptation of his book for being unfaithful to the original source material, the film is a settlement of popular culture, alongside other Kubrick films like 2001: A Space Odyessey. The use of colour, the nonsensical environment of "The Overlook Hotel", how some events in the film just don't make sense yet somehow fit in with the madness that takes over the mind of Jack Torrance throughout the film. While being classed as a horror, The Shining, is completely different from other horror movies of its time. The Overlook Hotel is bright, colourful, and vast, geometric shapes frame the carpets and walls and the setting dwarves characters which gives a sense of menace."The image is a harmless one, and still Kubrick makes it chilling." (Janet Maslin)The use of bright reds connotes violence, danger and power, which relates to Jack and his decent to madness. Sickly greens and yellows are also used prominately throughout the film, giving off a sickly and disturbing feel and the courtyard of the hotel in the climax of the film is lit with a mellow blue light, its cool nature contrasting to the warm and bloody insides of the hotel's interior. These uses of bright and bold colours, are the complete opposite of what is expected of other horror films, lacking the cold, dark colour palette other films of the same genre possess. The sleek gloss on the warm walls give a sense of The Overlook being a living being. None of the architecture of The Overlook makes any sense, windows are in places they shouldn't be, hallways overlap to different rooms (such as in Danny's third tricycle ride around the first floor). Some scenes are seemingly placed in the film at random, the bear man giving another man a blow job is not explained and neither are the hallucinations of the blood filled hallway and as to why Jack in in the photo at the end of the film. Kubrick doesn't bother given an explanation to these scenes, leading to more confusion for the viewer and questioning over whether or not everything in the film was from the point of madness. Instead focusing on whats in the scene, how it is formed over explaining why he featured it in the first place. 
"...themes and plot, as with many Kubrick films, are in service of the filmic form, not vice versa. In other worlds, themes in The Shining arise due to Kubrick's almost fastidious concentration on form" (Eric Henderson)

The film starts with an establishing shot tracking a yellow car as it goes through the country side until it reaches the Overlook Hotel in the mountains. Transitioning to the inside of the hotel, writer Jack Torrance waits for his interview with Ullman, the hotel's manager, to talk about the position he wants of winter caretaker. He gets the job and proceeds to tell his wife, Wendy, about the good news. Their son, Danny says that he doesn't want to go to the hotel and when his mother inquires into the reason why he feels like this due to a premonition he had (because of his psychic abilities that are manifested in his "imaginary friend", Tony) earlier of blood pouring into one of the hallways of the mansion terrifying him of what might happen if they go.
Despite Danny's concerns, the family goes to the Overlook anyway, and are given a tour of the facility before being given the key to the place. The Jack and Wendy, tour the hotel with Ullman telling them about the history of the place, being built on Native American land and about the case of Charles Grady, a previous caretaker to the hotel who went mad and butchered his family before taking his own life. Danny, who is staying in the game room playing darts, turns to see twins staring at him wanting to play, until Wendy distracts him by calling him over to tour.


Fig 2: Movie cap of the twin sisters were murdered by their father a year before the events of the film 

Wendy and Danny tour the kitchen with head chef Richard Halloran. Danny comments as to how the man somehow knows of his nickname "Doc", to which Richard explains that he knows of the boys psychic abilities of seeing into the future as he too has a similar thing that he has come to know "The Shining". Before he leaves, Halloran also warns Danny about the room 237, saying that the room is a bad influence due to the history it has been through.
At the start of the family's time living in the Overlook, everything is relatively normal. Jack starts on his novel, Wendy keeps the place in working condition by cooking and maintaining the radio and boiler functions, and Danny spends his days rolling around in the hallways on his tricycle. One day when he goes around upper floor he turns into a yellow corridor and sees the two twins from before
As time goes by, cabin fever sets in for Jack as he becomes bored and irritable, not being able to leave the hotel's grounds due to a heavy snow storm that cut of the phone line. He stares blankly out the window to Wendy and Danny playing in and around the maze, before the scene cuts to black.
Later on Danny is playing with a few toy trucks something catching his attention, leading him into room 237. Wendy finds him later on with a red mark around his neck. She confronts Jack about it, to which is says that he didn't hurt Danny. Annoyed at his wife's accusations, Jack stumbles upon the Gold Room lounge area and asks for a drink from the bartender Lloyd.


Fig 3: Movie cap of Danny riding around the Overlook

Later on, Wendy tells Jack of a woman that Danny saw in room 237 and how she thinks that they should remove their son from the building. Jack goes to investigate the room only to stumble upon a nude lady having a bath who proceeds to kiss him only to reveal that the young woman is actually a waterlogged old lady. Jack stumbles out of the room and tells Wendy that there was nothing to worry about in that room despite her concerns over their son's safety. Annoyed and frustrated at his wife and son, Jack heads to the Gold Room again requesting a drink. There he bumps into Gaudy, the previous caretaker of the Overlook, who is dress as a waiter and accidentally spills drink down Jack's clothes. Leading him into the connected red bathroom, Gaudy starts to clean jack up while also explaining that he needs to correct his wife and son just like he did to his daughters and wife.
Wendy, wandering in the main hall where Jack does his writing, takes a peek of his work so far, only to find dozens and dozens of lines upon pages on the phrase "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". From the sheer amount of pages it seems as tho he has been feeling this way long before the drama with Danny and room 237 happened. As she continues to read in shock at her husband's decline in sanity, she doesn't notice Jack entering the room. Wendy pleads with him that the Overlook isn't the right thing for them to which Jack refuses getting more and more hostile and unhinged as the scene goes on. Forcibly backing up the stairs in an attempted to get away from her husband, Wendy, who is absolutely terrified, starts swinging a baseball bat she picked up at Jack, until she hits him over the head, flinging him down the stairs unconscious. She then locks him in the Food Storage and plans for her's and Danny's escape, however Jack has sabotaged any means of them contacting the outside through the two way radio and the snow mobile, effectively trapping them inside.
Later on, Jack escapes with the help of Gaudy, while Danny, who lets Tony take over, writes the words REDRUM on the door in the family's assigned room. Wendy looks at the mirror in horror to see that when read backwards, REDRUM is MURDER. Jack turns up with an axe and starts to break down the entrance to the room. Wendy and Danny flee into the bathroom, opening the window, Wendy gets her son out of there but is unable to escape herself. Trapped in the bathroom, Wendy is trembling in fear and Jack makes his way over and starts hacking at the bathroom door. With the knife she took from the kitchen, she slashes at Jack just as he makes his way into the bathroom, he backs off and leaves the room, hunting for Danny.
On his way to out of the hotel, Jack comes across Halloran, who came to the Overlook, through a thick and dangerous snow storm due to being concerned over the family. Jack quickly puts an end to the chef, hitting him in the chest with his axe, and continues to stagger outside to the maze. Danny runs into the maze with Jack quickly on his trail thanks to the footsteps the boy leaves behind. When he reaches the middle of the maze, Danny realises how his Father is about to follow him so fast due to how clear his footprints are in the snow. To counteract this, he covers up his prints so that when Jack arrives, it looks as though Danny just disappeared while the boy is able to escape out of the maze to his mother. The two take Halloran's car and drive away from the hotel, leaving Jack stranded, bloodied, injured and frostbitten inside the maze, where he ends up freezing to death.
The last scene of the film, is a slow zoom into a photo taken inside the Gold Room, full of guests and workers, Jack Torrance is in the middle holding a sign saying "July 4th 1921".


Fig 4: Final shot of the film questioning Jack's true identity and relation to the hotel

The acting in the film is phenomenal, all of the main characters act realistically to the trauma they go through, perhaps due to Kubrick demanding scenes to be done over and over to get that perfection he desired even if it was tiring on the actors. Most notable in this was his treatment of Wendy's actress, Shelley Duvall, as he was much more critical of her acting scared for her life in the ending scenes. Through this harshness in directing her performance stands out as being the most real of all the characters, especially for the scenes were Wendy is being chased by a crazed Jack. As stated here by Roger Ebert in his review,"Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease. There is one take involving Scatman Crothers that Kubrick famously repeated 160 times. Was that "perfectionism," or was it a mind game designed to convince the actors they were trapped in the hotel with another madman, their director? Did Kubrick sense that their dismay would be absorbed into their performances?" Kubrick  repeated every shot to ridiculous extremes, resulting in the actors being tired enough to let their raw emotions come through their performance.


Bibliography:
Janet Maslin- http://www.nytimes.com/library/film/060880kubrick-shining.html
Eric Henderson- http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/the-shining
Roger Ebert- http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-the-shining-1980
Fig 1- http://baldmove.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/the-shining-original.jpg
Fig 2- https://horrorpediadotcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/the-shining-movie-the-grady-twins.jpg Fig 3- http://www.urian.co.il/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/415a9e88e5f8d923dabe21b9093cb360.jpg
Fig 4- http://radioactive-studios.com/biohazard-films/files/2015/03/KShining-2-20-27-WidescreenPhoto-e1427776144665.jpg

Film Review: Replusion

Fig 1: Poster of Repulsion which features the main character Carol, played by Catherine Deneuve

"Roman Polanski's first film in English (1965) is still his scariest and most disturbing—not only for its evocations of sexual panic, but also because his masterful employment of sound puts the audience's imagination to work in numerous ways." (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader)

Fearing anything can make a person feel trapped in a cracked existence, especially if it is a fear relating to sex as show in the 1965 film Repulsion directed by Roman Polanski and art directed by Seamus Flannery. A central part of the film is the apartment the French main character, Carol, lives in along with her older sister, Helen. It serves as a representation of her mind as she slowly begins to break down over, starting with walls cracking to male, hairy hands bursting out of the soft fleshy walls of the hallway. The way Carol and the apartment change during the film, through visuals, sound and of odd camera tricks, makes the viewer connect with her in the worst way possible, it gets under your skin, it's unnerving to the point where you feel the same way she is. No gore or sexual act is directly shown through out the film, there are only mentions of dead bodies are through characters reactions, making it much more scary then just having the body on display to the camera. It makes it seem as the the body was too gruesome, too disturbing and too disgusting to be shown. Same with the sex scenes, the first implication of sex is between Helen and her boyfriend, Michael, is of the erotic noises that is heard through the walls of Carol's bedroom as she tries to sleep, resorting to throwing her head under a pillow in an attempt to muffle out the sounds. The hallucinations of Carol's attacker are also obscured, with no sound and the camera focus in of the two bodies as they move together, flesh on flesh without showing the characters faces, the ways that these shots are filmed connotes the disturbing and unnatural nature of unwanted sex. Carol, being physically and mentally repulsed by men and especially being intimate with men is what drives the film.

Fig 2: Movie cap of one of the many times in the film where Carol travels from her work to her apartment
Carol, a French beautician working in London, she lives her life in a daze, not paying attention to clients at work, wandering home not aware of her surroundings. A man, Colin, flirts with her, trying to get her to go on a date with him, but she continues to reject him. Upon returning home, she sees that Helen, her older sister, is preparing rabbit for her boyfriend, Michael. Helen mentions, as she puts the cooked body of rabbit in the fridge that she will be going on holiday to Rome with Michael. Carol comments on a crack in the kitchen go unnoticed by her sister as her boyfriend enters and they discuss the trip, leaving the rabbit out on the side as Michael returns to his wife. The following day Carol attempts to sleep through the Helen's moans as she and her boyfriend have sex in the next room. The day of the Rome trip arrives and Helen leaves Carol to look after the apartment and to give their rent money to the landlord. She takes out the rabbit from the fridge and places it on the telephone table in the living room, then leaves for work. Carol's health continues to deteriorate over the coming days, at work she acts sluggish and day dreams much more often, which concerns her manager and other co-workers. After spending 3 day away from work, Carol returns to the Beauty Parlour, she is confronted by her manager who is concerned about her behaviour after she accidentally rips a customers fingernail. She is asked to go home, an as she gets changed while talking about the cinema with a co-worker, as Carol pulls up her bag, her fellow employee is shocked and horrified at the sight of the decayed severed rabbit head inside.
Carol stays inside the apartment from then on, her hallucinations grow stronger as she fantasised an sexual attack on her by a mysterious assailant. The food left out on the side rots away as she laying around an apartment that seems like it is changing all around her, with the walls getting soft and damp, cracks start emerging more predominantly.
After purposely missing calls from Colin, who calls out of his concern for her. He arrives at the apartment, banging on the door. Carol, who starts to panic, starts pacing around the hallway, and grabs a candlestick before Colin barges in the door. He tries to calm her down, to understand why she didn't reply to him. When he has his back turned however, Carol strike him on the back of the head, killing him instantly. When the sense of panic subsides, she drags his body into the bathroom, and into the overflown bath, locking the door behind her.
She gets continuously worse after the murder, more dazed and out of it, she wakes up on the floor, and pulls out the telephone after receiving a vicious call. She receives a postcard from her sister in Italy mentioning if she's paid the rent yet. The Landlord knocks on the door, trying to use his master key to gain assess before realising that the door is open, just barricaded a wooden plank Carol put there. Upon entering, he notices how unkept everything inside is, commenting on Carol's night gown and about the headless rotten rabbit on the table in the living room where the unplugged telephone used to be situated. He makes Carol sit down while he goes to give her a glass of water. The Landlord comments on the family photo residing on the side before he begins to get to close for comfort with the woman, saying that if she gave him what he wanted that she could forget about the rent money. He gets sexually aggressive with Carol, grabby her and forcefully kissing her, before Carol uses Michael's razor to stab at him until he dies on the sofa. Carol flips the sofa, with the body over and falls asleep on the armchair just 2 metres away from the murder. When she wakes up, she irons her night gown with an unplugged iron and puts on some lipstick before going to bed. She lies wide awake, smiling to herself before being attacked, again by a mysterious molester. Her lipstick wipes off against the bedsheets and the lamp falls as she struggles against the male figure.
The following day she scribbles on the window before exploring the apartment for the last time. As she enters the hallway, she is grabbed and groped by numerous male hands as she tries to progress to her room, upon arriving there she watches as the ceiling seems like it is caving in on top of her.
the scene cuts to Helen and Michael arriving back from their trip. Immediately they realise that something is wrong and their see the dead bodies in the bath and in the living room. Helen starts to panic, as Michael calls for help. Neighbours come in to see whats wrong and witness a catatonic Carol lying under the bed. Michael picks her up and takes her outside despite the arguments the neighbours make about leaving her where she is. The film ends with a slow zoom in onto the family photo, focusing on a young Carol staring off into the distance.

Fig 3: Movie cap a scene towards the end of the film showing outstretched hands piercing through the hallway walls as Carol's mind becomes completely unstable
The film centres around Carol's disgust at the male sex, and of sexual aggression. The men she sees throughout the film threaten her sense of self even if, in reality, they are a kind and caring man like Colin. Containing many mentions of decay and sex, Repulsion is a movie of the decaying mind of a young lady who was exposed to a constant threat of male intimacy. Male company is forced upon her through out, whether or not that company is bad or good. "She always sees men as a threat, and eventually takes a knife to the guilty – her bullying landlord – and innocent – her nice would-be boyfriend – alike." (Kim Newman, Empire Online)
The apartment also changes as the film goes on, starting off as just an ordinary flat, as the film goes on and Carol's mentality declines the apartment starts to change, become more waterlogged, damp and organic. Cracks appear on the walls, getting deep and more severe, towards the end of the film in the hallway the walls are soft and malleable as masculine hands burst through in a seemingly sexual manner. As well as this, in scenes where Carol wanders around the apartment the camera is zoomed out from her and has a strange fish-bowl effect which makes the rooms she travel too look huge and vast. All of these events that happen to the apartment are a direct and visual way of showing how Carol's mindset has changed for the worse "Distortions in the rooms of the apartment tacitly reveal her mental state. Phantom arms that punch through the walls and seize her visualize her nightmare insanity. And with sound, too, Mr. Polanski weaves a fabric of tremendous effects." (Bosley Crowther, The New York Times)

Bibliography:

http://www.filmposters.com/images/posters/13831.jpg

https://4thact.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/repulsion.jpg?w=1934&h=1088&crop=1

https://vinnieh.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/catherine-deneuve-in-repulsion.jpg

Jonathan Rosenbaum- http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/repulsion/Film?oid=3130149

Kim Newman- http://www.empireonline.com/movies/repulsion/review/

Bosley Crowther- http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF1739E471BC4C53DFB667838E679EDE&partner=Rotten%2520Tomatoes

Monday, 7 December 2015

Film Review: Black Narcissus (1947)

Fig 1: Poster for Black Narcissus displaying the cast and the mansion where the majority of the film takes place.


Black Narcissus is a 1947 film directed by Micheal Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It deals with female sexuality, and the struggle of censorship of sexual desire because of religious believes. A key factor of the film is the difference between Sister Clodagh and Sister Ruth as Clodagh keeps to her believes even tho the temptation of her past haunts her as she continues to live in the house, Ruth looks back on her pledge to God and becomes wrapped up in lust and sexual desire for the British Government Agent, Mr Dean."What better theatre in which to explore desire, hysteria, temptation and sexuality than a remote convent high up in the Indian Himalayas? And theatre this Michael Powell film most certainly is, as stressed by the gothic melodrama of the story and the acting, the studio setting with its beautiful backdrops and vivid colours and the most deliberate of characters and events."- (Dave Calhoun, Website,Timeout)
Depictions of Female sexuality is present through out the film, in the set design to the characters clothing and actions, men in the film are objectified or are used as a love device to spin of conflict between the more dominating presences of the female characters. The use of colour gives the viewer a visual cue of the distortion and corruption the Nuns, especially Sister Ruth, are experiencing as they continue their work in the used to be brothel they are working from. Colours slowly gain more hue and saturation as the film goes on, shadows get heavier and the cool tones of blue distort to a more vibrant reddish hue, as they abandon their Virgin Mary like status and fall deeper into a sexual lust. "Black Narcissus is a coldly intellectual morality drama tinged with a cynicism which has the effect of casting, as it were, a gratuitous reflection upon those who, regardless of sect, have forsaken worldly pleasures out of sheer religious devotion. This is so because the two dominant characters are basically frustrated women who seek solace in religion after unhappy romances." (Thomas M Pryer, Website, The New York Times)
Historically, 1947 was the year that India gained independence from Britain. The final scenes of the film could then be interpreted by British viewers, as the nuns leave the Himalayas as symbolism to the English leaving India and to their Empire. The film follows the book to a reasonable standard, though it does divulge at points, with a scene and a potential character cut out. Despite this, the english made film features only one Indian casted actor, as the Prince. The rest of the native characters are white actors and actresses in blackface.

Fig 2: Movie cap of the film displaying the use of matte painting to give a sense of how big the drop of the cliff is.
 The film centres around a group of nuns as they try to spread Christianity and the word of the Lord to a isolated civilisation in the Himalayas. They live in a what used to be brothel at the peak of the mountain over looking the people below, using a bell to signal the morning and the begins of lesson for the village girls and young children. The news of these lessons piqued the interest of the Prince of the village who asks Clodagh if he too could be taught due to his interest in education. Why there he meets a young girl who started to live with the nuns as a way to discipline her from her sexual ways, which ends up being ineffective as she falls for the prince's looks and starts to romance him.
As the film progresses, the influence the building's history has on the nuns starts to take it toll, not helped by Mr. Dean's flirtatious ways. Leading to the nuns questioning their faithfulness to the Lord, first through small things like growing flowers instead of vegetables to the deterioration of Sister Ruth who leaves the religious organisation, seductively puts on red lipstick and tight fitting clothes and goes off to find Mr Dean. She goes from the ex-brothel establishment down into the village and to the Dean's house, breaking in and attempting to force herself onto him before her vision goes a bright red and she collaspes. When she wakes up, she finds that she is back in the ex-Brothel. As Sister Clodagh rings the bells signalling the morning classes, Ruth pushes her of this cliff, but Clodagh is able to cling to the bell's rope. After a tousle Clodagh throws Ruth off of her, straight down the mountain leading to her untimely death. The Nuns decide to leave the manor, the tension they felt up there growing too strong with the death of Ruth being the final straw. The film ends with a panning out shot of the Sisters going back down the mountain, Sister Clodagh telling Mr. Dean to look after the gravesite for her.

Fig 3: Movie cap of Sister Ruth, the potential villain of the film as she snaps due to the sexual lust she has for Mr Dean.

While the film isn't that strong plot wise, it makes up for it in it's staging and set design. Made solely in the UK, through the use of miniatures and matte painting, Black Narcissus, is able to incapture the landscape of the Himalayas. The escalation of the colours used through out getting bolder and more noticeable as the Sisters continue their stay in the mansion. Starting with soft washed-out cold colours including a pastel blue room, the film progresses into a amber and red hue as the effect of the people and the surroundings start to take their hold on the Nuns. As the plot deepens so do the shadows, darkening the scenes and bringing out even more colour. This is especially present with Sister Ruth and the colour red. At the beginning of the film she stumbles into Sister Clodagh and Mr Dean, cover in bright blood and later on she puts on red lipstick as she drops her pledge to God and is absorbed by her lust for Mr Dean. "Without leaving England, Powell and Pressburger created a rapturous landscape whose colors seem to spill over onto the nuns’ off-white habits. This is a landmark of Hollywood-on-Thames trompe-l’oeil." (Michael Sragow, The New Yorker)

Bibliograph:

Fig 1: http://www.jigsawlounge.co.uk/film/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Narc11.jpg
Fig 2: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ZctRn3MDHEQ/U3Hk3woIjOI/AAAAAAAAAvw/rm2NlUOenpA/s1600/Black+Narcissus+the+abyss.jpg
Fig 3: http://theredlist.com/media/database/settings/cinema/1940-1950/the-black-narcissus/040-the-black-narcissus-theredlist.jpg
Dave Calhoun- http://www.timeout.com/london/film/black-narcissus
Thomas M Pryer- http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=EE05E7DF173CE261BC4C52DFBE66838C659EDE
Micheal Sragow- http://www.newyorker.com/goings-on-about-town/movies/black-narcissus

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Life Drawing 9

Fig 1: 20 Minute Study

Fig 2: 3 Minute Studies about Foreshortening

Fig 3: 30 Minute Study
This week we did a bit of foreshortening with a new male model, Alan. I'd like to do some more foreshortening exercises in the future as its a good way to get out of a comfort zone.

Life Drawing 7 and 8


Week 7:


Fig 1: 20 Minute Study


Fig 2: 2-5 Minute Posing Sketches

Fig 3: 3 Minute Sketches 





Week 8:

Fig 4: 20 Minute Study with Pencil and Ink

Fig 5: 3 Minute Sketches

Fig 6: 20 Minute Study

For these two weeks I tried to mix things up with shading, by using lines and colours to demonstrate the lighting. I plan on working more on using inks and start combining that with pens just so that the lines I make can be seen more clearer on the paper.

@Simon @Alan Maya Issues


Fig 1

Today when I opened Maya, whenever I click on an object, numbers appear over the polygons. It really clutters up the workspace and I was wondering of a way to get rid of it. It was fine the other day, apart from being a bit lagging and flashing whenever I did anything to an object, so I have no idea why Maya started doing this now. Also I work on mac at home but i don't know if that effects anything here or??
Fig 2: Its so cluttered that I have no idea whats even there now


Friday, 4 December 2015

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Production Art: Additional Building Layouts

Fig 1: Square Two Floor Building Layout Drafts

Fig 2: Square Building Layout Drafts


These are some more production art drafts/layout designs for the remaining two of my five buildings for my digital set, before I use the best ones to make orthographs out off.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Film Review: Edward Scissorhands

Fig 1: Film Poster for "Edward Scissorhands"
Edward Scissorhands was a Tim Burton film made in 1990. Considered one of Burton's greatest films, it stars Johnny Depp as the titular character and Winona Ryder as Kim, the daughter of the suburban family that take Edward in. The film is a deconstruction of the "American Dream", of how consummerism offers a sense of individuality by making everyone follow the same rules and trends. The opposition of the common movie stereotype of white is good, black is evil is flipped in the film, with the gothic mansion on a hill where Edward lives quite happily before the events of the film and the suburburn town below being a source of evil due to consummerism and the lust of indivituality the townspeople have towards Edward.
"Certainly, Burton's modern fairytale has an almost palpably personal feel: it is told gently, subtly and with infinite sympathy for an outsider who charms the locals but then inadvertently arouses their baser instincts."- (Marc Lee, The Telegraph, ref: 30/11) Here Lee describes the emotive reasons for Edward and the locals of the Suburbs and how it changes from an innocent interest of the newcomer only to change to greed when they realise how they can use him to their own advantages. 


At the start of the film, it shows a snowy scene, around christmas time of the main town, before the camera leads into a bedroom of a young girl and her grandma who begins to tell a story of Edward Scissorhands.
From there the story shifts to Edward, an innocent and unique man, who is forced to live in a community in the Suburbs when the make up specialist, Peg Boggs, goes to the mansion on the hill just outside of the Community below looking for new clients for her products. Upon finding Edward she decides that it is for the best that she takes him with her, and while its all fine and well at the beginning due to Edwards hands being intriging to the fellow neighbours of the Boggs' household. They then progress to turn on him after consuming his talents in sculpting through their hedges, dogs and their hair. As the year goes by, Edward goes from rags to riches, being a guest on a tv show from all his work in the sub-urbs, to starting to run his own hair salon. However, before the salon is open for business, Edward is forced along with Kim, her boyfriend, Jim, and their friends to steal from Jim's parent's house. Edward's scissor like hands being able to lock pick the door giving the thieves easy access. An alarm is tripped, trapping Edward inside while the others flee despite Kim's protests of trying to save him. The police come to the house, arrest Edward and send him off with a warning when they realise that he isnt able to understand entirely the situation he was in. From then on the town is much more hostile to him, wary of what awful thing he'll do next. On Christmas day the Boggs family plan a Christmas party for the town, even though it is obvious that no one would come because of Edward. Kim notices that it's started to snow outside, a very rare occurance in the Sub-urbs, and upon entering the garden she sees that its none other than Edward making an ice sculpture, the chippings from it floating around her as she comes in closer. A sudden noise ruins the peace and Edward turns from sculpting, his hands scrapping Kim's wrist, leaving deep cut marks, Jim sees this and accuses him of assault, bullying Edward to leave the town despite Kim's pleas not to. Edward flees horrified and Kim tells her boyfriend whats what, dumping him before going off to search for the missing man. While the search is going on, Jim and his friend starts to drink heavily in his van, and then proceeds to drive around the neighbourhood looking for Edward, almost running over Kim's younger brother, Kevin who was returning home from a friends house. Edward saves him but in his act of kindness he accidently cuts up the boys face with his hands, the neighbours see this and are outraged.
Fig 2: Screenshot Displaying the Suburbs and the Castle on the hill rendered in Matte Painting

The Sub-urban lifestyle proves too much for Edward, seeming more like a nightmare to him when compared to his previous life up in a European Gothic mansion high on the hillside. So he runs from the town back up to his origin, with a raging mob, with Kim ahead of them, storming up behind him. Kim finds him in the attic and finally embraces him, sorry of the town and their corruption of his talents. Jim then appears, wanting Edward dead for taking his girl. However it is Edward who is victorious as Jim falls from the roof window to his death. Kim then says a tearful goodbye to Edward before persuading the other townsfolk that both Jim and Edward perished in the struggle. The folk of the Sub-Urb leave and the characters are back were they started at the beginning of the film.
The movie cuts back to the Grandmother and Granddaughter. The girl asks the old woman how she knows of this story and she reveals that she is Kim. The young girl then enquires if she as ever seen Edward again to which the old lady replies no as she didnt want to see the man with her looking older and him staying the same due to being a science experiment. The film then pans the front garden of the mansion, just like it did in the beginning, panning inside the house until it shows Edward making another ice sculpture of a young Kim.

Fig 3: Screenshot of Edward and Kim embrassing after the ordeal they went through in the Suburban


Production design is a statement piece for a Burton film, and Edward Scissorhands is a great example of that. With Bo Welch as the production designer, who work on the film Beetlejuice, the film is able to display the differences of the Suburban lifestyle and look to the mansion on the hill. With the sub-urbs being a colourful, pastel houses and the gothic mansion on the top of the hill that looks like it was set in a completely different part of the world from the 1950's American-styled town below.
"...with production design by Bo Welch and cinematography by Stefan Czapsky, it involves bright colours in unlikely combinations, (for instance, a lavender-suited Avon lady driving a dandelion-yellow car) and fashionably ridiculous late-1950's artifacts placed prominently throughout the characters' bunkerlike homes. On the lawns of these houses, more and more of Edwards's singular topiaries begin to appear" (Janet Maslin, The New York Times ref:30/11)
The camera angles in the film are the standard, tracking, panning at high, low and establishing angles, however there are points in the film where the camera takes on the point of view of a security camera placed in the corner of the room, like at Jim's parents house when it was raided and Edward gets trapped inside. The way that shot is set, with a fish-eyed lens distorting the scene in an arching manner immerses the viewer in the fact that Edward is trapped in the room with no possible escape, completely helpless and alone in that situation. The costume design in the film fits in with the 50's America theme that is prominant through-out the film.

One of the main weaknesses of the film however, according to Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly (referenced on 30/11) is that the film shares a narrative weakness of Burton's other films, emphasised by the fact that in this film he is trying to create a rounded, emotional story, that the faults in the narrative appear much more obvious. Gleiberman states that the film didnt take a plot point involving the relationship of Edward and Kim and the conflict between her boyfriend. Not going down the root that fairy-tales usually go for that results in a fight over the girl in white. He laments that the film just didn't turn dark enough as a result of Burton trying to not make the movie disturbing for children. Overall he feels as though, while the characters have depth, the story doesn't, it has chances to get its hands dirty yet pulls back, exspecially for the ending.


The way the film drifts back from the story being told to flashbacks to the scienctist who made Edward as a way of making the perfect human, was well played, there was enough to get a sense that Edward respecting the old man as a paternal figure while the scienctist treated him like his son, reading to him what it means to be human and poetry with pure joy as Edward listens. There were enough of these scenes throughout the movie and well spaced as to not be confusing while being able to supply backstory to Edward's origins in the mansion on the hillside.

Overall the film is well acted, with wonderful set design that establishes 1950's America and the boom of consummerism well. While some viewers might have some issues have with how Burton doesnt push the film to be a little bit more darker, exspecially at the climax. The depth of the characters and how you see all the featured neighbours go from friendly to a raging mob, and how Edward tries to adapt to the world outside of the mansion on the hillside.




Bibliography

Janet Maslin- http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C0CE2D81338F934A35751C1A966958260&partner=Rotten%2520Tomatoes

Marc Lee- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/11298442/Edward-Scissorhands-review-a-true-fairytale.html

Owen Gleiberman- http://www.ew.com/article/1990/12/07/edward-scissorhands

Fig 1- http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81ZZQ0f71WL._SL1500_.jpg

Fig 2- https://fogsmoviereviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/edward_scissorhands_hill.png

Fig 3- https://fogsmoviereviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/edward_scissorhands_hug.png