Amyus

Amyus

A struggling actor, writer, bibliophile, self-confessed coffee addict, lover of European and Oriental Cinema, confirmed bachelor and wannabe blues guitarist.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    4

    Rebuilding The Future

    The year 1960 saw the release of George Pal’s imaginative production of H.G.Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’, considered by many to be a classic. At the end of the film, the main character ‘George’ returns to the distant future to help the newly liberated yet child-like Eloi build a new society, taking just three books with him to aid his venture. As his friend comments to another character ‘…which three would you have taken?’. Considering the wealth of knowledge we have access to in the 21st Century, which three books (factual or fiction) would you choose and, more importantly, why?

    • A great topic to consider as it will require addressing the roles of particular texts - do you take manuals, do you take "great literature", do you take religious texts? What is most valuable in literature in relation to history and cultural change and how do we measure this? – SaraiMW 14 hours ago
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    7

    The Appeal of The Road Movie

    "It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses" (Elwood Blues)

    "Hit it!" (Jake Blues)

    That legendary quote from ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980) introduced the viewer to arguably one of the funniest and most notorious car chases in cinema history and exemplified the road movie as a metaphor for the desire for freedom. Freedom from oppression, freedom from authority and the freedom of self-expression. The comically manic, self-destructive joyride of ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ (1981) saw the protagonist taking a thousand mile trip across New Zealand, in a progressively disintegrating mini, just to reconnect with his girlfriend, whilst David Lynch’s gentle perambulation that was ‘The Straight Story’ (1999) was based on the true story of Alvin Straight’s 240 mile trip on a lawnmower across Iowa and into Wisconsin to see his estranged brother. In more recent years we’ve had the eccentric British film ‘Driving Lessons’ (2006), the Bonny and Clyde-esque ‘God Bless America’ (2012), Inmtiaz Ali’s loosely scripted and superb ‘Highway’ (2014) and the somewhat off-kilter ‘The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun’ (2015)…to list but a few examples. What connects all these films is that each is ultimately a life-affirming experience, even if the journey ends in disaster. It is the process of self-discovery, but in these modern times of ultra high-tech surveillance and ever encroaching self-driving vehicles, will we lose that chance to push the peddle-to-the-metal and engage with our thirst for a fleeting moment of automotive freedom?

    • I'd be really curious to know how the road trip movie fits in different cultures' cinema - I've assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that it was a American connection. – Emily Esten 5 months ago
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    3

    The Evolution of The Bank Heist in Cinema

    Whatever happened to the good ole’ bank job? A small team of dedicated villains who cased the job, drew up meticulous plans and (sometimes) got away with the loot. These days we are used to seeing technological spectaculars with the villains often touting hardware and computer systems equal to, or even superior to, that of the Police. The Bank Heist has been a popular movie theme since the days of silent film making, but times move on and so do the brains and specs behind the operation. ‘Bonny and Clyde’ (1967) showed the simple, violent approach to robbing a bank; ‘The Italian Job’ (1969) had a more lighthearted spin and instantly made the Mini car into an icon. In more recent years we’ve had ‘The Bank Heist’ (2011) a Canadian comedy and the Las Vegas-style showmanship of ‘Now You See Me’ (2013), whilst the British films ‘The Bank Job’ (2008) and ‘The Hatton Garden Job’ (2016) both harked back to old school techniques. Of course the list is endless and these are just a few examples. Explore the evolution of the bank heist and not just in terms of the advance in technology over the years, but also look at the characters involved, what their motivations are and why we, the international viewing public, retain a fascination for such villainy. It’s not always about the money!

      3

      Red Dwarf - Growing old disgracefully in Space.

      The British science fiction comedy TV series ‘Red Dwarf’ (1988-1999)(2009-Present) has gained a cult status and follows the misadventures of what are essentially four less than intrepid blokes stuck in Space. With the main characters frequently exhibiting flaws such as cowardice, laziness and downright incompetence, the stories provide a welcome, humorous antidote to the morally upright characters typically found in many science fiction series. The latest series is due to appear in October 2017 and the fact that the lead actors are no longer the spring chickens they once were has not gone unnoticed by the show’s main writer, Doug Naylor, who has already started to include jokes at the expense of his ageing characters. Could this perhaps lead to the birth of a new comedy genre that would playfully examine the inevitable encroachment of advancing years and a second childhood in a Sci-Fi setting?

      • This is an interesting point. One of the newest trends emerging out of the UK has been the changing focus of target audience age groups. One of the best examples of this has been 'Dr Who' with the return to an older doctor with both Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker. In many ways this is a logical choice as the aging baby boomers are still the largest generation and are now progressing into a period of having greater disposable incomes and time, it makes sense then that there is a return to nostalgic childhood, but explored through the aging "grey" actors. – SaraiMW 5 months ago
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      5

      Advertising and the Art of Selling...Stuff.

      The world of TV Advertising has become ever more sophisticated and devious as the public has become more media-savvy. From the early days of a product being pushed in front of us and a cheery female voice or a man in a white coat suggesting we buy it, we’ve moved on – through an era of dancing bunnies high on battery power and roller skating young women extolling the virtues of certain feminine sanitary products, to a period when the product was rarely seen on screen and we were bombarded with imagery that seemed to bare no relation to the product being advertised. These days some TV adverts are like mini movies whilst others are projected deep into our subconscious and intended to make us feel slightly inadequate if we don’t continue to play the consumer game.

      However, is the advert break still a convenient excuse to nip to the loo or make a cup of tea? Is the Scientist in the white coat still regarded as an authority figure? Are we, the viewing public, too wise for our own good? Can we still be tricked into buying something we really don’t need and, most likely, will become obsolete within a year? The artifice of advertising will always remain exactly that and yet there have been advertising campaigns that have gained a life of their own and even garnered artistic respect and admiration. Could advertising truly be considered an artform in itself?

      • Is advertising an art form? Yes; it requires creativity and finesse just like film, novel writing, and other similar pursuits. But what kind of art form is it? That's the perennial question, because as you mention, advertising is designed to push people into acquiring "stuff." Can we still be "tricked?" Oh, yes...but I think that raises the question, do we even care we're being tricked anymore? Or would we rather just enjoy a cleverly conceived commercial (or ten)? – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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      • any discussion of advertising should necessarily reference Edward Bernays, one of the original admen who wrote on advertising and PR campaigns as having the ability to manufacture consent and control the "masses." Also an important scholars to reference and read would be Naomi Klein, who literally wrote the book on the evolution of the advertising agency and the rise of branding, "No Logo." – Jonathan Judd 6 months ago
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      2

      Extras: The Unsung Heroes of Film and Television

      From the unfortunate Stormtrooper who banged his head on a door in ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’ (1977), to the brave souls who survived the ‘Helm’s Deep’, three months of night shoots in ‘Lord of The Rings. The Two Towers’ (2002), the Support Actor or Extra is a vital element of film making, but often overlooked by the cinema going public. These days ‘extras’ are big business, with a myriad of agencies offering almost any size, shape and range of looks that any production may require. Yet it’s not often that these loyal and hard working bodies even receive an end titles credit. The British sitcom ‘Extras’ (2005-2007), attempted the redress the balance, but still focused on the improbable rise to fame of the lead character. Perhaps it’s time that our unsung heroes of film and television were recognised and rewarded for their professional skills and dedication to the art. An Oscar or similar for ‘Best Featured Extra’ perhaps?

      • I can't wait to see what you do with this topic. :) – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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      • I'm tempted, Stephanie, but I fear that as an insider my views would be biased. I've had a few minor roles where lines were cut so I didn't get the eagerly anticipated credit, but I continue to slog on regardless. So, I put this topic forward to see if an interested yet unconnected party might like to delve into the fascinating world of the Extra. Ahh, we are such stuff as dreams are made on....and 10 points to anyone who can complete the quote! :) – Amyus 6 months ago
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      5

      The Role of the Sacrificial Hero in Cinema

      From Jean Reno’s portrayal of Léon (Léon. AKA: The Professional. 1994) to Shin Hyeon-jun’s portrayal of Hyun-jun (Kiss Me, Kill Me. 2009), the Hitman who rediscovers his humanity through self-sacrifice and atonement is a familiar theme. Are these characters merely bad men turned good or do they represent a convenient scapegoat for the ills of Society in general? Perhaps more importantly, do we learn anything from them as anti-heroes or damaged role models?

      • Definitely worth considering whether we are escaping moral dilemmas by having the troubled men die instead of having to deal with them afterward. – IndiLeigh 8 months ago
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      • A very interesting topic. I feel like this is a trope that we as a society have taken for granted. An in-depth look at the moral implications of this kind of narrative would be a fascinating read. – SophieCherry 8 months ago
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      Latest Comments

      Amyus

      Lorm. You’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place. There are many here at The Artifice who, I’m sure, would be interested in your life experiences. History is not made by the self-styled great and glorious, but by us – the ordinary men and women who truly suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes. You have a story to be told and a desire to do so. Good luck to you, Sir.

      Regarding your refusal to bow to the almighty Microsoft (I’m with you all the way), there are other word processing options available, as alexpaulsen has mentioned. You may also like to consider Open Office, a programme I use. It’s free to download and does everything and so much more than Microsoft Office suite. It’s quick and easy to learn.

      As to your earliest memories – yes I believe you because I too have an early memory that, when I described it to my mother, seems to be from before I was a year old. Experts don’t know everything and many of the greatest leaps forward have been made by those without letters after their names.

      Here’s to you and a positive, bright future. By the way, I’m 57 so not far behind you in age, though I’m still 17 in my head. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be.

      The "Write" Way
      Amyus

      A nicely written piece, even if some of the advice you give is obvious – and that’s not intended as negative criticism. Sometimes we do need to have a mirror shoved in front of our faces to realise that the only obstacle standing in the way of actually getting those lines written down is the face looking back at us. A writer writes, even if it’s just a few notes or lines scribbled down on the back of an envelope. Many a time I’ve caught a snippet of a conversation or picked up a comment made by someone on a train or a bus then jotted it down for later reference – yes, public transport is a great source of human interaction. I recall being on a coach to London some years ago and overhearing this little gem: two elderly women were chatting in the seat row behind me. One was going to visit her sister in Blackheath (South East London) and the other said “I don’t like Blackheath. I went there once and it was raining”. Absolute nonsense, but perfect for character building. I had to write it down and maybe one day it will come in useful.

      The "Write" Way
      Amyus

      A great post. The truth is sometimes unpalatable but needs to be addressed and you have done so eloquently. Thank you for a fascinating read.

      The Philosophy of Conflict in Literature
      Amyus

      A great article and I’m pleased to see it go live. Well researched (many hours spent at the wheel?) and an absorbing read. Two thumbs up from me:)

      Realistic Console Racer Soup 2017: Principles of Innovation in Racing Games
      Amyus

      Yet another thoughtful and insightful article, AG. A fascinating read. I have to admit that I do side with Orwell’s comments though, although having stated that, I am as guilty as the next person as I draw most of my income from working in the film industry. Panem et circenses indeed. As you quite rightly pointed out, some of our visual distractions do take on religious proportions, but then maybe that’s because religion in general is failing to deliver what the masses find in imaginary universes, in which they can at least have some input as fans. Well, this argument could go on forever so I’ll stop here and no offence is intended to those with religious beliefs. I’m going to send a link to your article to a few friends with similar ideas. Cheers

      Is "Geek Culture" Embracing Our Inner Child, or Infantilising a Generation of Adults?
      Amyus

      A great article and obviously very well researched. I’m pleased to see it’s encouraged feedback and discussion. A fascinating subject, by the way and one that touches many a heart. I have to confess to having a soft spot for Yuki Nagato from the Haruhi anime series, so even this old wooden heart isn’t immune to a touch of agape 🙂 Nicely done.

      Can You Really Fall In Love With a Fictional Character?
      Amyus

      farizz. Thanks. There is a new article coming soon, this time looking at Yuki Nagato. It’s still in the tweaking stage and since I’ve been away, involved in other projects, my attention has been required elsewhere. Anyway, thanks once again for the positive feedback.

      The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya: The Journey of The Hero
      Amyus

      Hi Dong. Take a look at the GuP page over at reddit. There is quite a bit of discussion about what may or may not appear in the up and coming Christmas episodes. I suppose the next season will see the Oarai team compete in the World Championship, in some form or another. There’s a brief teaser on You Tube, which shows three of the girls from the Anglerfish team now running the Student Council at Oarai, with a sweet shot of Mako snoozing on the couch!

      Girls und Panzer: Deconstructing Gender with Tank Combat