Earlier this week I mentioned 2 extra posts for the next few days. I have decided however, that my VBA post will wait until mid February. The reasons for this will probably never become clear to any of my readers but one… but rest assured I have them, and they are valid. Until then, here is the promised guest post, from the very lovely, Kitty… the only one of the Sleepless Knight crew who can actually call herself ‘Knight’, and, unlike Mr Farnsworth, her post will actually be about FILM! Hooray! Her own blog can be found here. In the meantime, read and enjoy, and I’ll see you at the usual time (maybe).
When people find out that I have film degree one of the many questions I get asked is ‘What’s your all time favourite film?’ or ‘Could you recommend me a good film?’ The first is easy to answer. The Lion King. The second is always so much trickier, mainly because the films I recommend are good to me, but others can’t stand them. So for this guest blog I thought I’d tackle what, to me makes a good film.
There is no recipe or formula to making a good film, (That’s a tiny lie as I personally believe that Jerry Bruckheimer has found, made and bottled the formula to making epic blockbusters. The main ingredient being the repetitive use of the American flag in the back ground. Don’t believe me? Next time you watch Armagedon have a shot for every time you see an American flag, I guarantee you, you’ll be out of it by the end of the first 30 minutes.) but the following thing is what capture me and makes me believe a film is good.
I always love it when a director can immerse me in a film by the way he/she plays on the emotions they want me to feel. Recently I watched ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ (2010 Dir: Steven R. Monroe) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1242432/ and I was amazed at how my emotions were dragged around. From reading the blurb on the back of the DVD case I know what to expect, so I sat down with my friends ready to back it down and pick holes at it. Surprisingly I didn’t. The one character in the film that I expected to sympathise with the entire time (a simpleton named Matthew) I ended up hating and couldn’t wait for the main protagonist to get her revenge. Normal I would hate the idea of watching a film where three quarters of the film is dedicated to the build up of and the eventual rape of the main protagonist, but I didn’t mind, because it was all necessary to get the emotions of hatred towards the preportraitors of the rape and to feel the encouragement and support for her ultimate revenge.
Techniques implored within a film can make or break it. For me one of these films was ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ (2004 Dir: Kerry Conran) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346156/ the use of blue screen throughout the whole film was amazing. Everything you see, bar the furniture and certain props is all computer generated. That and the way they processed the film to give it a more comic book feel made me so giddy. Alas though if you do want to watch this film I will warn you, the story is appalling and the acting is not always up to scratch. Speaking of stories…
Stories are so important in a film. You may think that I have just made the world’s most obvious point and you’d be right. Not all people remember this though and the above film is a clear example. A story for me should be one that surprises me into realising that I actually like it. One fantastic example is ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010 Dir: Tom Hooper) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504320/ I flat out refused to go and pay to watch this in my local cinema (for reasons on a money matter which I will be ranting on about on my own blog page at some point) for quite a few weeks. Then one day I want with a friend to grab a hot chocolate from the Costa that is ran inside the cinema and a friend of mine was working on the box office and asked if I fancied watching it for free. Well, you don’t say no to free…at least that’s my rule. So in I went and boy was I impressed when I left. I had this image in my mind of me falling asleep to Colin Firth trying to get from some boring speech therapist, but I was so wrong. The ideas of friendship it invoked made me laugh, cry and a slightly better person for watching it. If you have yet to see I strongly suggest you do. It is one of those films you will be able to watch again and again. Now that I’m typing about watchability…
The Lion King (1994 Dir: Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110357/ I had to get round to using this film as an example sooner or later. This film has one of the key things that makes a film good. Watchability. I am genuinely not lying to you when I type that I have sat and watched that film 8 times in a row. I intend to beat my old record and go for 10 times at some point in the VERY near future.
Cinematography and sound. They’re like bread and butter, Harold and Lardy, Politicians and dishonesty, their just essential to one another. For sound there isn’t just one example as I’m a strong believer in it making up for half the film. Really you try to watch a film with just dialogue and no score or foley and you’ll get bored pretty quick. On the cinematography front Hero (2002 Dir: Yimou Zhang) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0299977/ comes straight to mind. I remember watching for the first time when I was in 6th form and being blown away by it. The shots, the colours, the camera movement; it was just like watching a living piece of art. The film also contains some very notable Chinese actors and the story is wonderful too. Please watch this film. It is a feast for your eyes.
These are, for me what makes a film good. You may disagree completely or be thinking ‘Yes, this woman/cat thing knows what she’s on about’. If it’s the latter then I’m so giving you hugs right now, look I’ll even retract the claws too. Either way I hop you’ve enjoyed this and please do feel free to comment on this posting.
For now though, stay Curious.