CalvinLaw

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics

    2

    The Employment of the 'Bat-Voice'

    Analyse the methods/extent of effectiveness of the use of the ‘bat-voice’ by the likes of Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy, Christian Bale etc. and how it plays into the different dimensions and tones of their respective series.

    • Maybe include not only how the different voice techniques play into the stories but also how the voice helps define Batman within that story. – TheLegendofPie 2 years ago
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    • Maybe focus on how certain Bat-voices are treated in pop culture at large. – FantasticMrMac 2 years ago
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    The One-Man Show

    Watching the recent excellent feature film ‘The Martian’ made me think a great deal about what exactly makes and breaks films that effectively hinge upon a single actor to carry most, even all, of the dramatic beats of a film. ‘The Martian’, ‘Cast Away’, ‘Gravity’, ‘Moon’, ‘Locke’, ‘Secret Honor’ etc.

    • I am Legend! Although Will Smith is amazing so. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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    • There could be a few ways to discuss how actors can make or break a film if they are the only focus of the narrative. I think one way could be to focus on films on both ends of the critical spectrum. If a focus of your idea is the acting, why not compare how one actor successfully headed a narrative and how another fell short; compare and contrast the acting methods. – C N Williamson 2 years ago
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    • 'I Am Legend' is another good shout!The contrast thing is good; I think a particularly effective one would be 'Locke' and the Ryan Reynolds starring 'Buried'. Both are performances technically speaking confined and restrained by the nature of their character's setting/actions, but whereas Tom Hardy gives a magnificent performance and really disappears into the role, I did not really see that with Reynolds. – CalvinLaw 2 years ago
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    • There is also the TV show Last Man On Earth that is solely one actor and it is a comedic representation of the "one-man show." – mckinleyebert 2 years ago
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    Odyssesus' heroic virtues, his greatest flaw?

    Analysing how the heroic virtues of the protagonist of Odysseus in Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ befalls tragedy and misfortune on his travels in the form of overt heroic confidence, contrasting it with his characterization in ‘The Illiad’.

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      Playing 'Oneself'

      When an actor is cast as ‘onseself’–as in, in a role very similar or even directly resembling his public persona–does that diminish the artistry behind the performance?

      • Interesting idea, CalvinLaw. It might be worth expanding on this in the title after a ":". Also, are there some specific examples of theater or movies you were thinking of, or would you like to leave that up to the writer? I hope this helps. – Jordan 2 years ago
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      • Probably leave it up to the writer, it's a vast topic to explore so some freedom might be appreciated! – CalvinLaw 2 years ago
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      • Likely yes, it does diminish it. Because playing yourself, likely as a cameo, can usually lead to mugging, quoting famous lines of yourself, or just being rather dull. Although in some unique cases, I've seen biopics where actors portray people from a persons life, even though they themselves knew the person in question. So rather than play themselves, they play more integral characters, which allows them to contribute more to the project. – Jonathan Leiter 2 years ago
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      • I'd actually take the side that it enhances the role. Who better to play you than you? The actor would know all the motivations and thoughts of the person they are playing. I would however note, that acting in a role like this is dangerous... Playing who you are repeatedly shows you limitations as an actor and also would keep you locked into the same role and forever seen as the one role. And people tend to get bored with these sort of actors. – Tatijana 2 years ago
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      • A great one to look at (popular in the UK but perhaps not so much elsewhere) is <i>Extras</i> by Ricky Gervais. It had lots of famous people (Patrick Stewart, David Bowie) playing versions of themselves that went against the public perception. (Patrick Stewart in genral does quite a lot of him-but-not-quite-him roles.) – Francesca Turauskis 2 years ago
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      • in most cases a cameo of yourself only enhances the public persona because people enjoy recognizing parts of the real world in film or tv. – thereisnojosie 2 years ago
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      • This is a great concept. I've always wondered if the actor is truly playing their own self or just who they think they are. To be completely honest, I think this may delve into a deeper concept of who we define our own self as and whether it is who we are or just who we think we are. Anyway, back onto the subject, no, I do not believe that an actor or actress playing himself or herself ruins and/or diminishes the artistry of acting. I believe it may even enhance it and bring it to a new level. One in which the actor or actress may even become confused with who they really are.Think about it, an actor or actress plays a number of different characters in a given time. When they play the characters they are paid to play they become the character. Some may slowly roll into the character and some might dive in head on. Regardless, the actor or actress becomes the character and sometimes they lose their own self in order to play the character. With respect, take Heath Ledger for example. A great actor who played arguably the best joker of all time as well as many other roles that are and will be very well remembered. However, the argument could be made that he "lost" himself by taking on the role of the joker and became the Joker. Who really was Heath Ledger and who would he have been after playing the Joker? Would he have changed? Would he have known who his own self was or would he have to recall and push to retrieve who he was after taking on the dark role. The world will never know. – shaynezamora 2 years ago
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      • I've wondered about it... Well, like in the Goosebumps movie the real R.L Stein makes a cameo while his "character" is actually played by Jack Black. Why is that? It could be that they were looking to make him younger or because the acting skills were more important. – Candice Evenson 2 years ago
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      Latest Comments

      I wouldn’t really compare ‘Corpse Bride’ to ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ as they’re two such distinctly different sorts of film with such differing styles.

      I like to compare it instead actually with another Burton masterpiece ‘Edward Scissorhands’. I like to think of them as companion pieces with one another, with Depp’s characters in each one moving out and in from a mystical world and finding himself a fish out of water, growng to love it before tragically being ousted out.

      The Corpse Bride: The Beauty of The Dead

      Brilliant analysis! The poster indeed is a fading art form, but I loved that you picked out those fantastic blasts from the pasts to look at and re-invigorate my interest in the art form. Particularly liked your analysis of the Monroe advertising ploys–very effective!

      My favourite movie poster of all-time has to be the Jaws poster. Straight to the point we both know what we’re getting, and in for a big surprise; we see the shark on the poster, but have to wait for a great deal of the film to get a clear look at it, ratcheting up the tension.

      The History of Film Posters
      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

      Agreed. It also gave the actors (Ledger, Bale, Hardy in particular) a lot more freedom with their depictions of the character.

      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

      The essence, yes, which is perhaps the hardest thing of all to nail down.

      Thank you so much, you’re too kind!

      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

      Thank you!

      Exactly, context and hindsight is crucial. All depends on the text concerned.

      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

      They really overdid it there, agreed. Though I have to say on a similar note, I did like the change they did to the third act of The Half-Blood Prince. We didn’t need another Battle of Hogwarts and I thought the more quietly downplayed nature of Snape and Harry’s confrontation was all the more powerful.

      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?

      My favourite change to the books for the Hunger Games series was just more of Snow/Donald Sutherland, who I think is perhaps the most underrated actor of all-time.

      How 'By the Book' Should Literary Adaptations Be?