Luis Freire is a Rutgers University alumnus. Luis mentors composition on an academic level as a prerequisite to advanced study, career objective, or aspiration.
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To War is Human, To Relinquish Unlikely
The film cache of War World I, World War II, and Vietnam dramatizations are continual fodder for the curious and critic alike. The ancient battles of Europe and Asia have had their turn in front of the camera lens and the recent terrorism and rogue posturing leave no doubt that the theaters will draw revelers back in droves for the foreseeable future. Does the war formula of the past persist in terms of viewer expectation and recent innovation such as night vision? How does the ever changing geopolitical agenda and the socioeconomic appetite influence the confrontational depiction on the silver screen or the plasma screen? Does CGI enhance or devalue the tendency to transcend the dilemma physically, ideological or existentially? Consider the early stop motion techniques of Jason and the Argonauts (skeleton sword attack), War Games (teen hacker), The Hunt for Red October (espionage), or Terminator 2 (apocalyptic dream) for analysis of realism and suspension of disbelief in new battle fronts. Are psychological warfare or cyber-attacks in virtual space the future of wars, drone missions and stealth raids a nascent ploy, or is there still a place for the dog fights and tank ambushes of early combat?
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, and Back Again: Undo-ly Uncharacteristic
Many films have exulted the academic setting to the dismay and delight of old and young. With the advent of online learning environments, how will this transpire in relation to its predecessor? Assuming there is a new trend in the making, it will have to contend with a considerable list of memorable, and possibly unbearable, student experiences. The films that have elevated the story-line being: The Paper Chase, The Social Network, A Beautiful Mind, Good Will Hunting, The Breakfast Club and Grease. The television serials that have captivated the imagination, including: The Facts of Life, Welcome Back Kotter and Room 222. Will any such online vignette bring new challenges to the director, the actor, the setting and the audience; or, will it venture into a boundless territory of possibility and ingenuity? How is the virtual Third Place better or worse than the traditional or customary physical site?
Seizing the Audience
The actor puts on a memorable performance on stage, by television, through radio, in film, and at times even the political or business arena. Shirley Temple started frolicking before the camera at the age of 3 by mesmerizing both young and old with her voice, dance, and then with her diplomacy for the United Nations. In the 1930s, Lucille Ball captured the attention of men, women, and children by her stage debut, modeling exploits, and as a studio executive. Carol Burnett entered the stage in the 1960s and endeared a generation of fans through televised comedy, earning her a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her unique brand of entertainment. Explore these unique facets of showmanship; child actor, slapstick comic that harkens to the burlesque of yore, public persona as a venue beyond conventional female roles, as a transformative mechanism of expression, realization, or determination.
The Show Must Go On
The carhop made its debut in the 1920s alongside the advent of the early automobiles. It would been forgotten were it not for having a part in the 1973 film, American Graffiti. The concept quickly evolved from customers who preferred to dine inside their car, to initially male carhops that were later replaced with female carhops in order to increase profits. The Sonic Drive-In restaurant is a return to this novelty of yesteryear. More to the point, cinema has catered to the inclination of many people over time. The earliest attempts involved storefronts that were converted to impromptu movie houses. A motion picture was projected onto a wall for viewers who were charged a pithy entrance fee; hence, the name Nickelodeon. This popular diversion led to larger movie palaces (doubling the entrance fee) due to the demand for more comfortable viewing accommodations when longer shows became the attraction. A pattern that has elevated from the mime street artist, to the flea sideshow that was part of the traveling circus, to the theater. Indeed, the theater itself has undergone a plethora of embellishments in order to dominate its market and to stave the onset of competing technology. It has experimented with silent actors, 3D renditions, Dolby sound, CGI animation, IMAX, to name some of the more popular effects. One cinematic event did create a noteworthy following, for all the hurdles it endured. The drive-in theater required mere open land, a wall, and window-mounted speakers to attract moviegoers. This setting appealed to families, teenagers, and film enthusiasts alike. Relive the nostalgia as well as the monumental challenges (nationally or internationally) that drive-in promoters tolerated in order to deliver the show: inclement weather, night cover restriction, and overall outdoor nuisance in order to mount the ultimate movie experience of that era. Was it a sign of the times, a shift from convention, or an industry in flux?
What's in a name?
Is the verve or is it the persona? How much of an influence does the performer’s name have on the crowd? Would Johnny Cash, Eddie Money, Tom Cruise, River Phoenix, Chris Rock, Paris Hilton be any less fascinating in physical presence alone? Explore the notoriety or the appeal of the name behind the spectacle. Does being a Barrymore, Sheen, Fonda, Howard, or Coppola make something out of nothing? Does Hollywood provide the grit or does the audience induce the alchemy?
Policing the Silver Screen
Much has been debated over what fuels producers, screenwriters, directors, and actors in their quest to deliver the finest storytelling. Yet, one need only to look back a few decades to notice how audience appetite was satisfied with outer space dilemmas or even common, mundane concerns. Clint Eastwood, Michael Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger are names that come to mind when retreating back to determine what drove legions of viewers to the silver screen or the television screen. Eastwood and Douglas both acted as the cop on the beat (Dirty Harry and Streets of San Francisco) and eventually starred in roles on the complete opposite side of the law (Escape from Alcatraz and Wall Street), respectively. Schwarzenegger initially capitalized on villainy (Terminator, Conan the Barbarian) and then showed a softer side in Kindergarten Cop as well as other comedic jaunts. Explore the impulse for this effective formula of screenplay, whether at home, abroad, or any distant time or place. On what basis does the actor make the decision to reverse his posture throughout his career or, as is most often the case, venture onto the director chair or embark on political agendas (Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple)?
Divine Inspiration: The Effect of Spirituality in Acting
The late 1960s were a time of experimentation with social values and leisure pursuits. Though leading British bands such the Beatles could thrive on their musical talent alone, they opted to explore and embrace the benefits of traditional Eastern teaching, particularly through Transcendental Meditation as professed by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of northern India. The band’s creativity and productivity escalated during this point in their career and contributed to the movement against substance abuse and the promotion of Transcendental Meditation into Western audiences. In fact, George Harrison incorporated various aspects of Indian culture into his songwriting and his Hand Made film titles during the late 1970s. His lyrics reflected Hindu principles and were recorded using Indian style instruments. Some of these collaborations appeared during his work with the Beatles but also manifested independently with support of the Hare Krishna movement and an early form of the benefit concert; the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar. Upon his death in 2001, his ashes were spread across the Ganges and Yamuna rivers of India in accordance with Hindu practice. In the same manner, how does an actor’s religious preference permeate into the performance, if not, his private or public life? Some performers to consider: Tom Cruise and his claim that the Church of Scientology helped him overcome dyslexia, Richard Gere practicing Buddhism and his subsequent endorsement of the Dalai Lama, followers of the Kabbalah Centre including notables such as Madonna, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paris Hilton.
Theatrics of Cooking
Does a TV chef’s professional profile (author, entrepreneur, sponsor, connoisseur) exclusively contribute to the show or does the food selection, recipe delivery, or recording location dominate the screen and the script? Consider the fame and background of celebrities that cater to the palette through TV, radio, book, or film: Martha Stewart, Nigella Lawson, Julia Child, and Rachael Ray.
Can’t imagine that you would have the stamina after all those Bollywood musicals.
I unequivocally recommend Pan’s Labyrinth if you profess any sort of allegiance to cinema, literature, or history. It does not disappoint at any level of audience. Great actors, convincing narration, enthralling backdrop of the Spanish civil war. Was screened to students at the school near my home, don’t understand why since it is heavy on war violence while at the same time, delicately innocent. But then again I’m partial to military drama. If you last through this one, may want to double dose with Belle Époque, another story set during the civil war of 1940s Spain. Neither will leave you in regretting the attention. Both are in Spanish. I am not preaching allegiance to any one category of film, as I have viewed several Australian titles that have left me amazed at the splendor of the outback and the characters that seek to dominate it.
Cleared the cloud regarding the peninsular predicament. The film treatment along with the press reaction is impressive here. The Brinkley article about youth indifference and the latter remark about an international community initiative urges pause for reflection. In that, I wonder how the K-pop phenomenon would have contributed to the discussion; using the Korean Wave as psychological warfare between conflict zones.
A delicacy of the both the literary and the dramatic tradition. Meryl Streep could not have better for the persona behind the enigmatic Julia, as she was for Margaret Thatcher. In any role, Amy is icing on the cake, but in this one it is a true pairing of the senses.
A timely article. The South Korean film Parasite by Boon Joon-Ho scored Best International Feature and Best Original Screenplay. Proving that, for non-English language films, subtitling is a sign of more good things to come.
Sicario is definitely a sign that the genre is set for revival. Especially, with the current political climate in the region. And, the sequel Soldado is no doubt a confirmation of the trend. Good to see an article paying homage to the original and sounding the bugle for the new (old) wave.
Interesting perspective. Reminds me of a quote by American curators Carole Kismaric and Marvin Heiferman who believe that mystery novels can inspire young girls to achieve higher in life through fictional character that alway prevail through wisdom and determination. I quote:
“Nancy Drew bears a special responsibility: she stakes out new territory by showing girls how to take action, how to set their sights beyond what convention expects of them. Nancy was, and remains, an original in kids’ literature; she still teaches girls that it’s OK to be smarter than anyone else around, that success is the appropriate reward for being an independent, curious risk-taker who knows when to persevere and when to ask for help. Nancy, always open to life’s mysteries, invites her readers to seek nothing less for themselves.”
The film production chart was a fine complement to the explanatory content. They clarified many vague notions about the industry.