The Liebster Award 0 90

the liebster award

The other day to my delight and pride, I was nominated for The Liebster Award? What is that exactly? Good question! Well, basically it’s an award given to bloggers by other bloggers, a chain letter of a sort between like-minded and mutually respecting writers who want to share their opinions and help get the word out there about each other’s websites.

It involves answering a set of questions asked by the nominator before posing my own set of questions for my chosen nominees. Massive thank you to The Dullwood Experiment for nominating me and my site, I’m truly honoured!

First up, here’s my Q&A…

Q1. The obvious one: What was the last movie you saw at the cinema?

Burnt, with Bradley Cooper. Very disappointing; didn’t care about the plight of the central character, didn’t fulfil the “food porn” angle that Jon Favreau’s Chef did. A couple of tense sequences and solid performances but expected much more.

Q2. Which movie – if any – has the ability to make you cry? (And guys – be honest.)

The Shawshank Redemption. Every. Damn. Time. Not just the uplifting ending but the sequence when old Mr. Brooks gets out of prison and can’t handle it. *sniff*

Q3. Black and white, or colour?

Depends. Obviously colour is the norm but if a filmmaker chooses black and white for artistic purposes then why not? I HATE it when they colourize old movies.

Q4. What is your favourite non-Disney/non-Pixar animated movie?

Off the top of my head – Mary & Max. Sublime, moving, inspiring, complex Claymation featuring the voices of Toni Collette and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Q5. What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

Going Overboard. It’s Adam Sandler’s first ever movie and it’s head-smackingly awful.

Q6. Which Martin Scorsese movie would you like to have been in?

Ooh, good one! It probanly wouldn’t be one of his violent ones like Goodfellas or Raging Bull. Probably Hugo as to be part of the story about the evolution of cinema would be amazing.

Q7. If you absolutely had to wake up in bed next to an actor or actress of your choosing, who would it be?

Bill Murray

Q8. Hot dog, or popcorn?

Popcorn. Hot dog = YUCK.

Q9. Do you think there should be Adults Only showings of kids’ movies?

Absolutely! We all have a big kid inside of us but why should watching one of those movies be ruined by the noise of other little brats? 😛

Q10. Which movie is the one that always cheers you up when you’ve had a crappy day?

The Big Lebowski. It’s my favourite movie of all time and being in the comfort of that is like checking back in with old pals.

Now it’s time for me to pose my own 10 questions. Here they are:

Q1. What was the first movie you ever bought on DVD?

Q2. Do you still buy DVDs/Blu-rays or have you gone “full digital?”

Q3. Who is an actor you find really underrated?

Q4. And who is really overrated?

Q5. If you could have dinner with any Golden Era Hollywood star (in their prime), who would it be and why?

Q6. What’s the weirdest audience member behaviour you’ve encountered at the cinema?

Q7. The Godfather or Goodfellas?

Q8. Have you ever worked in the film industry and if so what did you do?

Q9. Have you ever met any famous actors/directors?

Q10. Which classic film would you like to see back on the big-screen for an anniversary screening (that hasn’t had one already)?

And now all that’s left to do is for me to nominate by blogs to answer those questions posed above. The general limit is that they have at least 200 followers. They are:

Wanna Go to the Movies

Assorted Buffery

In Love With Movies

IMDPH

Creep Can Roll

Sweet Popcorn Late Night

Afro Film Reviewer

Beyond the Red Room

Hooked on a Movie

Eyes Skyward

Look forward to hearing your answers to the questions and keep up the good work!

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Deadpool and the Anti-Hero 0 122

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While the concept of the anti-hero is nothing new, the popularity of this archetype in recent decades certainly seems to be. Found as far back as ancient Greece and Rome, the anti-hero is simply someone who operates under some sort of moral ambiguity or who has some character flaws that keep him or her from being seen as a traditional hero.

Yet, for all of these flaws, we as an audience are drawn more and more to this type of character in everything from a watered down version in Disney films such as Tangled to hardcore offerings through television shows such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones – just to name a few. With the movie Deadpool currently in cinemas, we can give some new love to this most recent inductee of the anti-hero club.

Television, in particular, has offered up some of the darkest and scariest places and storylines of its history, with audiences eating it up and screaming for more. An anti-hero such as Walter White in Breaking Bad is someone we are simultaneously repulsed by and drawn to. Being forced to deal with a flawed healthcare system is something most of us can relate to fairly easily, and we applaud a character for fighting back in what he sees as the only means available to him, even while disagree with the lengths he goes to within the series. We sympathize with Walter, even when we don’t always agree with his choices.

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The same holds true for anti-heroes of past decades, with audiences embracing the concept of “The Man with No Name” from the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western Dollars trilogy of the 1960s and Michael Corleone of The Godfather fame. These characters are accepted along with their flaws because there is something about them and their situation that we can relate to and sympathize with. It’s the same reason that Han Solo tends to score higher on lists of the most popular Star Wars characters than Luke Skywalker, the series’ traditional hero, and why the original trilogy often tops lists of the best of the franchise.

Apparently, the double standard is alive and well within the anti-hero popularity phenomena, though, with audiences much more willing to accept men with flaws than women with them. We expect our female characters to support their flawed male counterparts and be instrumental in their development, but to not need someone else to develop themselves. Catwoman is one of the few exceptions to this idea, remaining a popular female anti-hero and thankfully still available for viewing through Netflix and DTV.

Marketing behind Deadpool plays on our sympathies and our curiosity by playing up the flaws in conjunction with the strengths. We can sympathize with the idea of someone previously used and rejected making a comeback with witty and sarcastic humor and some serious fighting skills. The character Deadpool gets to say and do what many of us would like to have the nerve to say and do to those that abuse, reject, or ignore our potential, turning his Special Forces skills to a mercenary lifestyle.

From Mad Max to Deadpool, our love for the anti-hero continues to grow as we’re given more opportunities to vicariously live out our fantasies of living in a complicated and conflicted world by acting according to our own flawed moral code – regardless of the legal or moral expectations. As long as we continue to fight the current structures of our society, the anti-hero will likely remain our favorite hero of choice, taking a stand and doing things we wouldn’t dare do ourselves but wish that we could.

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How Eco-Horror Movies Portray Energy Crisis, Pollution and Climate Change 0 68

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This is a guest post by regular contributor Maria Ramos.

More often than not movies reflect interests and fears of the current times back at us, either directly or veiled in metaphor. This is especially true in the past few decades, as humanity as a whole has started to become more aware of our influence on the environment and this has consistently been echoed back to us on screen.

In the 1950s, the threat was nuclear weapons and its hazardous effects. Today, the threat is climate change, particularly since we’ve become more aware of the global troubles that will ensue should we allow current consumption of fossil fuels to run rampant. However, no matter what the current danger, the silver screen has become an interesting funhouse mirror to amplify, distort, and reflect them, making a statement all its own.

After the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, the world became aware of the hazard of both large-scale destruction and the wrath of nuclear fallout. Both Japan and the United States released nuclear creature-features in 1954, Godzilla and Them!, though their approaches reflected each country’s point of view.

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The Godzilla franchise may have become known for its camp nature, but initially it was a metaphor for a godlike force of destruction, with director Ishiro Honda using scenes that purposefully evoked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Them!, on the other hand, viewed its gigantic ants as an unintended side product of mankind’s meddling who turned about and attacked the very forces who had created them.

The 1970s and 1980s brought increased awareness of the effects of pollution and toxic waste into the public eye, and so environmental horror changed as well. 1984’s C.H.U.D. served double-duty as a warning against both toxic waste pollution and 1980s corporate greed that led to the dumping of the waste into the sewers. In the 2000s, water pollution became the pollution du jour to fear, and films like 2012’s The Bay were caused not by toxic waste, but by agricultural runoff.

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Found footage eco-horror movie “The Bay”

With the advent of rapid global travel and high populations, epidemics are another on-screen threat that Hollywood has not shied away from. 2002’s 28 Days Later and 2013’s World War Z couched their epidemic through the ever popular zombie metaphor, while 2007’s I am Legend displayed its epidemic in more of a vampire variety. 2012’s The Crazies combined a few issues, with a polluted water supply infecting a town’s population with a virus that sent its residents into a frenzy.

Climate change issues of today have been especially well represented lately in environmental horror. This category is particularly topical given recent issues like the 2015 Paris Agreement. With a global increase of 80 percent between 1970 and 2004 alone in carbon dioxide, according to Direct Energy, the situations proposed in the following films seem less and less outlandish. 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow took a lot of flack for being an overblown special-effects fest, but as the general public has become more familiar with terms like “superstorm,” it has begun to seem less far-fetched than it did a decade ago. 2006’s The Last Winter, while featuring a ghost-heavy plot, also centered around the idea of destructive drilling practices being largely at fault.

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The effects of climate change in disasterbuster The Day After Tomorrow.

Increasing temperatures are a major factor in the destruction at the heart of 2009’s 2012 – though the temperature is of the Earth’s core and not the atmosphere and oceans, such as we are seeing today. And in 2014’s Into the Storm, shifting weather patterns due to atmospheric warming causes unprecedented tornado activity, similar to activity that has been seen in recent months.

People are influenced by the media that they consume, even something as seemingly diverting as horror movies. With the combination of awareness of issues as plot points in environmental horror and visibility in the news, the possibility of the public taking these issues seriously may become much more likely. If it is real enough to fear onscreen, it is real enough to fear in real life – and real enough to do something about.