Star Wars Casting

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Irving the giant lizard here to talk about the reports surrounding the star wars casting announcements. Star Wars is being given a reboot as a franchise from director J.J. Abrams. You would probably have to be living under a rock to not know this. As you would expect with the fictional universe that, arguably, has the most dire hard fans, rumors were abundant. Anyone that was anyone who came into contact with J.J. Abrams was written about by all the major film news outlets. When the major cast members were announced, a few days ago, the rumors were finally put to rest. Some rumors were confirmed while other cast members were a complete surprise.

I will compare two media sources reporting on the star wars casting and analyze them using the media literacy critical process. The first is an online source from The Hollywood Reporter and the second is a video source from IGN.

They both briefly go into every cast member announced. They do this in conjunction with a photo released that is table read of the script with the cast, director, writer, and producers. The article by the Hollywood Reporter briefly goes over the old cast members which include Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. The actors portraying chewbacca, 3-CPO, R2-D2 are also returning. As stated above the article gives them a quick pass by and refers to them as the original stars.

In contrast the video by IGN gives them the same amount of time as the new cast members and even remarks playfully on the question of other original cast members and why they are not apart of the new trilogy. The video even features clips of the cast members in the original star wars trilogy through out the entirety of its length.

Then both sources went over the new cast members and their history in film. The video, I felt, expounded a little more on the past of these actors than the article did. It helped to have a visual reference for their histories, rather than reading credits in an article. The video, unlike the article, also theorized on what types of roles the new cast members might be playing. For example, the video theorized that Adam Driver will play a sith in the new film.

Another thing the video did as opposed to the article was introduce the producers and writer in the photo as to who they were. Though the article did make a remark as to when the filming would begin which is this May.

Patterns that are obvious to me are that both sources went through the new cast members to share thoughts and info. The video inserted humor by using clips from the original star was. Both sources were unsure about the casting of Ridley. She doesn’t have much of a filmography so the sources regarded her as a wildcard. Both sources also chose to mention the return of the hidden actors behind the roles of chewbacca, 3C-PO, and R2-D2.

After my analysis of the media it is hard to find any alternative motive from the journalists. However, there are somethings to think about. As mentioned above, Ridley didn’t receive the best response from either source. This implies a disapproval from the media creators. The video also seemed to be perturbed by the casting of Gleeson, making remarks about his past role in Harry Potter. The article skimmed over the original trio of the star wars franchise and mentioned them in brief. The article wants us to be focused on the new.

Other than that both sources seemed to be genuinely interested and excited about the new cast. It seemed as they mostly approved of the new cast. Both sources loved the casting of Von Sydow. The video particularly loved the casting of Boyega and Adam Driver.

In evaluation, I would have to say that I preferred the video to the article. The video was a lot more engaging and I found it to be very humorous while giving me knowledgeable insight into the back story of these actors. The article read like a list of facts and out of the two sources it had the most implied messages. It also talked about a few things that were unrelated to the casting and belonged to a separate article about the upcoming star wars films. One thing I really like about the video is how it kept relating the casting back to the photo it was very engaging and allowed a reference to be formed.

Engagement that I could find was run of the mill for the internet. The article from The Hollywood Reporter has a pretty confused comments section. This can be expected from any comments section of the web. The first comment I read had a reader talking about how he was going to shot himself in the head if he saw jar-jar binks in the movie. As I scrolled downward a heated and inflammatory argument developed over whether or not obamacare and same-sex relationships should be included in the film.

The video didn’t have a comments section that I could find. So there was no engagement available for the viewers.

You could be wondering why the casting of star wars really matters at the moment and why not just wait to see the film and talk about everything then. I understand that point of view. However, it’s important to take note of not only the cinematic milestone, but the cultural milestone that star wars was. Those first three films shaped the future of cinema and had a massive impact upon the culture. The prequel trilogy was set to such a high standard that it failed in comparison to the original films. This is why the casting of these films matter. These new star wars films are going to make cinematic history for the better or worse and to see who the players are is important. I would advise to watch closely because were seeing cinematic history in the making. Pop onto a discussion board or share your thoughts below to further the conversation.

That’s enough star wars for one day!

-Irving the giant lizard

Journalistic Ethics

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Today I, Irving the giant lizard, shall write about ethics in journalism when it comes to coverage of the film industry. I will examine two recent stories that are questionable in their ethics when it comes to their reporting.


 

Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino

The above article is written by Lacey Donohue for Gawker. To quickly summarize what happened, Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay got leaked by an actor’s agent on accident. Nobody is a hundred percent sure what agent did it, but an agent did it. This, as you could imagine, upset Tarantino and he told the media that he would no longer be making the film.

About two weeks after the script was leaked, a lawsuit was filed by Tarantino against Gawker for copyright reasons. Gawker had provided a download link to the leaked script and encouraged readers to enjoy it. While the outcome of the lawsuit is still up in the air, we can still analyze the ethics of Gawker’s reporting.

Here are Gawker’s offenses in the Journalist Code of Ethics.


 

1) Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.

Gawker did not give this a second thought. They gave the script to as many people who wanted it without thinking of the impact that would have on Tarantino or anybody that would have worked on that film.

2)Never plagiarize.

I think this is a clear violation of copyright law. Gawker is profiting by distributing this script on the internet and that is the only reason they’re doing it. If there was no money to be made by distributing this script then why put it up for download with a write up that barely qualifies as news.

That is all for Quentin Tarantino.


 

 

Bryan Singer

This next story is pretty dark. Bryan Singer has directed many movies we all know: X men, X2, They Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, etc. His upcoming film, “X men – Days of Future Past”, is going to come out this summer. A little under a week ago, a man by the name of Michael Egan sued Bryan Singer for sexual assault and many other things for which he seeks damages.

Let’s analyze the ethics.


1) Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.

The Variety article, written by Ted Johnson, allows people to amuse their lurid curiosity. Johnson himself writes, in his own words, many lurid instances and also puts in a sizable excerpt from Egan’s story.

2) Show Compassion for those who may be affected adversely by the news coverage.

This is something Johnson does very well. He neither condemns nor praises either the plaintiff or defendant. He shows compassion realizing that these men’s lives are in the balance at the moment.


That’s it for now.

-Irving the Giant Lizard

 

 

Advertising in Cinema – The Movie Trailer

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The movie trailer is one of two key pieces of movie advertising. The other is the movie poster. Trailers are played before other movies at the theater, online, and on TV. They’re fairly influential when it comes to people deciding what movie their going to see.

The trailer above is for the movie “Knights of Badassdom”. This movie is obviously a comedy. It looks like something that is a mix between “Revenge of the Nerds” and creature horror film. The film features some pretty popular actors like Peter Dinklage from “Game of Thrones”, Danny Pudi from “Community”, and the great character actor Jimmi Simpson. The film revolves around a LARP, which stands for live action role playing. Two friends have kidnapped their other friend and force him to partake in the game. He agrees and they begin to make friends and enemies. In the trailer one of the friends draws a pentagram on the floor and recites a spell. A demon gets summoned by complete accident and the rest of the movie, as described by the trailer, looks like the gang of friends fighting the demon in hilarious ways. 

Watching the trailer I see two repeated elements. One is the grand battle. The movie is obviously going to involve a giant battle and probably towards the end. The trailer is trying to get the audience to come to see what looks like ridiculously fun action. The second thing I see are plenty of attractive women. Not that this is a bad thing, but this would not actually happen at a real LARP. There’s obviously a little bit of sex being sold in the trailer as well. Even the demon seems to be the corpse of an attractive women. This wouldn’t be to irritating, but a women spoke once in the entire trailer. Just once, so why were there so many attractive women featured in the trailer? The trailer uses these patterns because it knows it will work. This trailer will more than likely get people in seats watching their movie. The horror elements are there as well, but it’s hard for me to tell if the movie will actually be horrifying at times or just comedic.

The whole trailer is selling an escape from your boring life. It’s an adventure. It promises to delight. The company that made this film, Entertainmentone, has made this trailer so that you’ll spend money on the movie.

I believe that this trailer is actually pretty good. After analyzing it, I have my issues, but overall I really want to see the movie now. This means it worked and I imagine it worked on others as well. Probably men ages 16-30 from the content and concept of the trailer. The trailer gets across exactly what the movie is and that’s helpful in deciding if you want to see it.

As stated above, the trailer wants me to spend money on the movie and I’m willing to do that. This is because I think it looks like a fun movie.

-Irving the giant lizard

Print Media in Cinema

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Print media plays a strong role in the world of film journalism. Recently because of the digital revolution there have been a number of websites that have dominated the online world of film journalism. These are Deadline, Indiewire, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

Two of these sites are the top trade magazines of the business and have been for some time. They are Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. They’ve been nicknamed the “trades”. These magazines are widely read by the people working in the industry and cover the vast majority of news that there is. The subscription is quite substantial, $199 for a year of print and digital or $99 for a year of only digital for a subscription to Variety. The Hollywood Reporter has the same prices except there is a third option of $120 a year to be able to access your digital copies on you laptop instead of just on your iPad. This makes is quite expensive for some one that is just curious or interested in the field, but for professional in the industry one or both of these trade magazines is almost a necessity.

These trade magazines have changed substantially over the years. For example it used to be printed and delivered like a small newspaper. Now a days there are digital versions and the websites. Granted the websites don’t have near the amount of content as the subscribers are privy to in the print and digital versions. Because the trade magazines are so specialized it might take a long time, but sooner or later the print versions will probably die off and be replaced by the digital versions of the trade magazines.

Books play a minor role in film journalism, but there are many that tell the stories of cinema history from a relatively long time ago to a short time ago.

This book tells the story of a transitioning Hollywood during the 1960’s and 1970’s. There are many books like this. Some people even take a single year in cinematic history and write a book about it. These books have a very small market, but a dedicated reading base. The books have not changed that much, but I expect they will end up transitioning with the rest of the publishing industry to the e-book format whenever that happens. It could be a good thing for this type of book considering the small audience.

-Irving the giant lizard

Television

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Irving the giant lizard here to discuss television.

Television is of great concern to film news. After all television uses all the same elements as movies do. There are actors, directors, producers, editors, etc. In fact to many film lovers television is cinema. It’s simply a different format. There are feature length fiction films and feature length documentaries. There are short films of both the fiction and documentary variety and now there is television. This acceptance of television as cinema only happened recently though. For a long time television was looked down on by film news, but it has recently been embraced.

For example take this article that ran late last year. This is a part of a running series of articles on the site Indiewire, that proclaim TV as the new cinema. So, television is pretty crucial to the film news world now.

Television as a source of news about film is a totally different thing. There really aren’t that many shows dedicated to bringing film news to their audience. There used to be critics shows like Siskel & Ebert, but people now prefer to read their film criticism on sites like RottenTomatoes or from a YouTuber they’ve become a fan of recently. Plenty of channels are dedicated to celebrity gossip, but this rarely crosses over into the world of film journalism. Television just isn’t that effective at delivering film news.

The only aspect that television is a better medium of film journalism in, is interviews. Take, for example, this interview with director Martin Scorsese it’s funny and you learn a little about how the film was made.

Film journalism thrives online because of the immediacy and let’s be honest, there just isn’t a large enough audience for film news to justify the existence of a show. There might of been at one time when film news was limited to print and television, but now there’s the internet and that has changed how film news is consumed.

There really aren’t channels or shows, as stated above, that are dedicated to film news. However, basic channels like ABC host the Oscars every year. Late night hosts are constantly interviewing people from the film industry. IFC and AMC are great channels for film lovers to watch, but there isn’t any film news on them. The existence of shows and channels like this make it easier for people to get a little film news, but if they want more they’ll have to seek it out in other places.

-Irving the giant lizard

 

 

SModcast

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(smodcast.com)

I’m a happy giant lizard today, why? Because today I get to write about a subject related to film.

The SModcast is a weekly podcast with hosts Kevin Smith and Scott Moiser. Kevin Smith is a filmmaker who has made 10 feature films beginning with the 1994 independent film hit, “Clerks.” Smith is still making films today and hosts/produces the TV show “Comic Book Men”. Scot Moiser is a producer, writer, and actor. Moiser has primarily acted in Smith’s films, but recently did some voice acting for the animated film “Free Birds”. Moiser has also produced many films, primarily films Smith has directed, or documentary films.

SModcast is an hour long podcast where hosts Kevin Smith and Scott Moiser talk about anything. However, since they’re both involved in the film industry and both love films, they tend to stick with that topic. In two recent episodes Smith and Moiser talk about the debut of their first film “Clerks” at the Sundance Film Festival. The Smodcast is not a just a discussion of film between two old best friends though. It is very funny and meant to be so. Smith and Moiser’s humor is incredible, always dark and twisted they seem to spend half of every episode laughing at each other’s jokes. The SModcast wasn’t started for any specific reason, but Smith and Moiser have managed to grow quite the following and know have their own internet radio network, consisting primarily of podcasts, that is run on the SModcast website.

It wouldn’t be hard to argue that Kevin Smith is the filmmaker with the strongest internet presence. He has had a website almost since the birth of the world wide web where he talks to fans about his films and everything else. Overtime his website has evolved and now he has a strong multimedia presence. However, at least for this giant lizard, the strongest thing Kevin Smith has to offer on the web is the SModcast.

Kevin Smith is a great talker and has made some very entertaining films. SModcast is a great podcast that allows his fans to enjoy and connect with the man unlike what they would be able to do with other filmmakers they admire.

That’s the rundown on the SModcast from the perspective of this giant lizard.

-Irving the giant lizard

Music

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Greetings from Irving the giant lizard.

Today we’re gonna talk about music because, yes, this is a blog about film. I thought that since music and film are so intertwined I should do my best to relate this subject back to film. After all some of the most cinematic moments in film history is when music is utilized to its fullest potential. Before I move on to discussing the influence of Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in The Wind” on Bon Iver’s “The Wolves” I’m gonna give you an example of the power of music in film.

“Rise of the Valkyries” – Apocalypse Now

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen) – Wayne’s World

“Stuck in the Middle With You” (Stealers Wheel) – Reservoir Dogs

Granted these movies are a little older, but it’s these scenes that have stood the test of time partially because of a great use of music. It makes a giant lizard very happy.

Bob Dylan – Blowing in the wind

Bon Iver – The Wolves

Bob Dylan is the king of folk music. His music often had a political message. The lyrics in this song takes a little time to interpret their meaning. Nothing has an overt meaning in the song. Granted, it wont take you days of contemplating to understand the meaning, but it’s important that it makes you think. The song also has an enveloping quality to it. Bob Dylan makes use of his voice and two instruments in the song. This is very minimalist considering today’s music with a thousand different things coming at you. I believe its the effective use of these instruments and his voice that creates that enveloping quality.

Bon Iver is an American indie folk band that has ten members. They’ve been a band since 2007. I found this song by watching the film “The Place Beyond the Pines”. This song plays right at the end and it’s very powerful. This song (The Wolves) has that same atmospheric quality to it that envelopes you. It also is very minimalist with only a few things going on at the same time. The lyrics in this song take the same amount of contemplation before you can discover their meaning.

An important difference between Bob Dylan and the band Bon Iver is that one is a single man and the other is a ten person band. Also there is a small rock influence on Bon Iver. The styles are very similar. However, because Bon Iver is a band they utilize a lot more instruments then Bob Dylan. Bon Iver is also a lot less politically charged. Their songs require interpretation, but they’re not calls to action. I think Bon Iver is different in this way because they’re not trying to communicate a strong message, but rather they’re reaching for a very unique style of music.

Irving the giant lizard signing off. Have a great day and the next time your watching a movies, listen to the music.