Monday, 28 September 2009
Changeling is a film that feels longer than it actually is. Not because it drags, but because the climax happens about four times. As with many films 'based on true events', there's a lot stuffed in here. It's not always easy to watch but it is a powerful film.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
It confuses me, though, when a documentary is called a 'masterpiece.' The crew can only film what is real and put in the front of them. The subjects rely on the crew to portray them in the right way. It can't (or shouldn't) be written or orchestrated. So who should take the credit for the 'masterpiece'? How can reality be a 'masterpiece'? I don't know.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Some shows have a consistent location with obvious character arcs but can still feel episodic. In ER there a main characters that go through seasons with the same problems but still deal with isolated issues. People come in with a broken head, they live or they die, but it doesn't really matter because next episode it'll be somebody else with a broken head. Maybe this is unfair, patients can't stay in a hospital forever, but they could have tried a little harder to disguise it. A show that gets the blend between episodic and arc right is The West Wing (and never mind for a second that I think it's the Best Television Ever). Occasionally (usually during the middle of a season) a problem is brought up and dealt with entirely within the episode, but it often has consequences, or is at least mentioned later on. The majority of episodes deal with shifting story arcs, with characters that don't forget things. Sometimes it's an election, sometimes it's something more subtle like Bartlet's psychology.
And then there are the shows that are entirely arcy (that's an adjective now). The Wire sees itself as a visual book with chapters instead of episodes, it builds up one story a season that ultimately gives greater rewards. It's more powerful to see a character's demise after thirteen hours rather than forty-five minutes. Maybe the creators make the point too strongly ('Are you paying attention? If you're not paying attention you won't understand our intricate plots. Make sure you're paying attention. Are you sure you're paying attention?') but it's something I'd like to see more of. And it's proven that it can work over a longer season, with the whole point of 24 being the insistent cliffhangers.
There are a few shows that can work with an episodic structure (Doctor Who manages it, I don't know how) and others that go right to the other end of the scale, like Lost. Most shows find a happy middle ground though. Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, Dexter, Firefly - this is all good television.
Monday, 14 September 2009
If this is all sounds a bit pretentious, that's because it is. It's uncompromising space rock. It tells of humans leaving Earth in search of a new home and totalitarian goverments keeping an eye on everything. It's like they've gone a little bit mad. But mostly, it's just some good songs.
Friday, 11 September 2009
That said, when I watched it with friends they said it was 'the scariest thing they'd ever seen'. So, you know, maybe I'm wrong.
Monday, 7 September 2009
And David Brent, obviously, is a brilliant creation. He plays up to the camera, is false, deluded and self-aggrandising. Then in the second season he is given some unexpected depth. He does, after all, just want to be popular and begins to notice that he isn't. His confidence is shattered with jealousy and disappointment. Personally, I wanted the Swindon lot to like him, I wanted him to succeed some of the time. The writing and acting has to be this good for you to feel sympathetic towards a horrible person. He's funny because he isn't, and I wonder whether I would still laugh at him if I was actually there. Putting the camera as an extra character means that we'll never know what he's like without it. The entire time he is talking though the television.
I'm convinced it's a masterpiece.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
It'll be a challenge. I found that gathering the right people for a short film was hard enough, let alone an entire web series. I'll have to find a committed bunch, maybe offering them alcohol/Haribo-based incentives. If all else fails - puppets.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Here's a trailer for how to be god. As usual it's high on blasphemy but low on expense and sense. I've dropped the 'name god after yourself' idea, it wasn't clear enough and was slightly off putting. And I realise I haven't actually explained what the show is about yet. I'll do that soon.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
So the trailer for how to be god will be in cinemas soon. Yes. And 'cinemas' was a metaphor. It won't be in cinemas.