The Class.

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A Capella in Absentia

This is my final project for this class, but, to be quite frank, I doubt this will be the last time I post my artistic endeavors on this website. But we will leave that for another time. For my final project I created an a capella medley of songs that have been used in films that were either directed, written, or acted in by Quentin Tarantino. It starts off with the classic Bee Gee’s song, Stayin Alive which was used in the Docu-Drama Full Tilt Boogie as we see Tarantino himself walking in sync with the song, Tarantino wrote the film that the Docu-Drama is based off of, as well. The track then goes into Woo Hoo by The 5.6.7.8.’s as was seen in Kill Bill. It then segues into Rick Ross’s 100 Black Coffins, which was used in Tarantino’s last film Django Unchained. Finally it ends with Bang Bang by Nancy Sinatra as was seen in Kill Bill. I called the group A Capella In Absentia because there was never a time where everyone in the group was in the same room until we came to record it. But I would like to take a moment to thank the people who helped me. They were absolutely amazing.  The other voices heard are Sarah Camilleri, Sam Domke, and AJ Guidi. This was recorded all on a Blue Snowball Microphone that I purchased, and put together on Audacity. I enjoyed working on this project, and expect to make many like it, but a little better, in the future. I also plan on doing a video for this, but that is yet to be decided on. I started off this project by picking songs that I felt would best work together. I then molded them together on audacity and began splitting up the voice parts. Afterwards, I sent the music to everyone and we decided on what songs to keep and what songs to get rid of. After which we began practicing and recording song by song until we finally got it down and recorded it all in one take. I have included the link below. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to download it and boost my self esteem a little.

http://acapellainabsentia.bandcamp.com/track/tarantino

 

Soon to be released on VHS and DVD

We were told of the guidelines for our final project, and, at first, they seemed very vague and I had immense trouble figuring out what to do. I thought that things would be a lot easier if He just told us, “I want you to write a 1000 word report on any movie we watched in class.”
But, instead, He told us that we could do practically whatever we wanted as long as it was a multimedia presentation and was related to film.
I took a second and stepped back, and it hit me.
I spent 6 years doing musicals, 3 years in choral ensembles and 5 years in band. “I have to do something with music.” I thought. But doing a cover or editing a new music video for an old song were just too easy. I could do that in, at most, a week. However, we were given a month to make this the most ostentatious, noteworthy, and intricate project we had done all year. Working alone would not be an option at this point. I began contacting people that I had attended highschool with. When I suddenly got a reply from one of the most musically gifted people I ever had the chance to work with. She said, in essence, that she would love to work with me, and that she also knew the perfect people to jump on board. After she got yesses from a couple more obnoxiously gifted people, I knew what I wanted the project to focus on. I wanted to do a medley of songs from films. Unfortunately, however, I have yet to decide what songs I wanted to do, the choices are endless. However, I know that I want the rest of the group to have some input on the choices because the best products are the ones in which everyone has fun while making it.
Still, however, that should only take about three weeks. Thereby, I had a week to do nothing, and that wouldn’t fly. So I went ahead and contacted a friend of mine to write up a music video to go along with it.
In the end, the finished product should be an a capella medley music video of songs from films (If you do not know what an a capella medley looks like check out Pentatonix).
And to make this project all I need are a couple things:

  • A talented writer and cameraman ✔
  • Some talented musicians ✔
  • A camera ✔
  • A microphone ✔

All that is left for me to do is to get with the group, and decide what songs we want to do. And I will do that before my final project proposal is posted.
Luckily the audience will be vast. Almost everyone will be able to get with it if we do this well enough. And we, as a group, also plan on sharing it on a couple of websites.
We will be using recording software similar to audacity and video editing software that we have yet to decide on. This will give me the opportunity to practice my recording and editing skills, as well as my musical composition and singing.
What do you guys think?

Please Don’t Kill Me

I didn’t really like Black Swan. Please don’t kill me just yet. I mean as a film it is done really well, and the acting is great and the subtle commentary about mental disorders is awesome, I just never liked dancers. Now hold on, I know how bad it sounds but after working in shows for 6 years, I just never met one that was not judgmental and loud mouthed. So this entire movie reminded me of those 6 years. I’d love to have my opinion changed, however. But the entire film really angered me because of all of that.

Also, something else really effing annoyed me was that the lead got stabbed. She literally stabbed herself in the stomach with a piece of jagged glass and broke it off. Now, assuming she missed all sorts of important arteries and organs, she had up to approximately 5 hours before she bled out. However, she then proceeds to pull the jagged glass out of her stomach and probably caused more internal damage on the way out while allowing more blood to flow out which would have made her bleed to death quicker, but since she hit no arteries or organs she still could have been saved. But then she proceeds to go on stage in a white gown and bleed everywhere with no one realizing anything black swan minimalistuntil the very end, where she dives off the stage and goes towards the light. But assuming that no one did see anything and she was able to finish the entire show without anyone realizing that she is bleeding out from her stomach, she would still not have lost enough blood to even pass out.

So, now, let’s say she did hit a major artery or cut through an organ, then she would not have enough time to finish an entire second and third act, each of which were probably around an hour. She would have died way before the end, and probably on stage since she decided to pull the glass out. Especially since they are going through some seriously vigorous movements. There is just no way this plot hole could be filled for me.

And that is why the entire film annoyed me. The mix of personal experience and the 6 foot deep plot “grave” just drove me insane.

But before you all go sharpening your pitchforks and lighting your torches an marching to my house, I can admit that there were some really good elements to the story. I mean the acting was so good it made me hate everyone in the film. The music was so good I nearly downloaded it to play it in my car. And the story (with the exception of the plot hole) was very new and had no trite cliches or anything throughout the movie. I just could not sit still while watching it.

أحمر الشفاه

The red lipstick that She dons is the only color we see throughout this short film, a defining and vibrant color in comparison to the black and white throughout. And i see it as the driving force behind the love story as the only thing that is keeping Him going is the red lipstick on the paper that He launches out of his window in hopes of attracting Her attention. This screengrab defines the film as we seePaperman snagit the motivation and the modus operandi. His attempts at connecting with Her from afar seem to fail miserably as he gets closer and closer and hits the window sill in this case but never quite reaching Her. But He never gives up as the paper plane in this picture hits off the bottom of the window. He is attempting to get as close as he can to the person with the red lipstick who he fell in love with.

Movie Barcodes

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Harry Potter Series Barcode

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The Woman in Black Barcode

The idea of every film having a barcode is new to me; however, it makes sense. Every film has light moments where the characters could be experiencing some sort of elation or serenity, in which the lighting and colors should reflect these emotions. The lights are usually bright and cause no strain on the eyes, while the colors are warm hues of red and orange or bright green and blue. Meanwhile, the darker moments must also contain lighting or coloration to reflect the mood. Take for instance the Harry Potter films. In the beginning, we see Harry leave his drab lifestyle and abusive family and enter a world that is full of images he had never imagined were real. As he makes new friends he discovers more and more of the school and of his past. And, with each discovery, darker and darker truths manifest. He learns a great deal about himself, the wizarding world, his parents, and their murderer and becomes more and more entwined with the darkness that surrounds the magic. In the barcode these images are seen as getting darker and darker and all of the bright hues of red and orange are being replaced with shades of dark blues, brown and black. Near the very end of the series we see a white light as harry enters limbo. A state of being between life and death in which everything is wiped clean in a divine manner. These were the final moments of light before Harry returns to the battleground to find that Voldemort has been killed and that the story is coming to an end. Lighting and coloration are as important, if not more important, than acting because it gives off a much stronger aura, that is why horror movies, like The Woman in Black, tend to be dark and colorless while comedies and family movies, like Monster’s University, tend to be brighter and have more vibrant hues of warm colors. While a series of films like those belonging to the Harry Potter novels can contain multiple elements and shift colors and lighting. To see more film barcodes click here.

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Monster’s University Barcode

Twitter Style Reviews

ImageGod Bless America: A hilariously outspoken commentary on the extravagant nature of contemporary society. A must watch.

This is the End: Full of simplistic comedy, this film had specific moments of genuine comedy, especially while someone is dying.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: The first film from Guy Ritchie, this is an indie gemstone full of hearty laughs.Image

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: A comedy classic, the Python crew did a great job of making me fall out of my seat laughing.

ImageOcean’s Eleven: Hilarious, intricate, and star-studded, this film is a must watch especially if you plan to rob a casino soon.

Adaptation (2002)

Do I have an original thought in my head? I’m a walking cliché. Where should I start? Everything has probably already been done. What if I start at the pre-production? Before Hollywood took over. Like what if I start with ‘This film was based on the true story of Charlie Kaufman’… no, no, no. That is how every horror movie starts, and I am not writing a horror movie, I am writing a critique of Adaptation. Is critique the right word? Should I call it a review? Critique has such a negative connotation, but review makes it seem like Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are my peers. They aren’t. They are millionaires, living in huge houses, while I am just a college student. I don’t compare to them. I need to start writing before Manuel reads this and realizes that I am just wasting space while writing nothing of substance. I am such an idiot… no wait, I got it.

minimal adaptationSince it is my review, I think I should start with me. I am the type of person who always guesses what is going to happen next and everyone gets mad at me when I am right. However, during this film, I was proved wrong time and time, again. Every assumption I made about the movie from the very beginning till the bitter end was wrong. For instance, I thought the name “Kaufman” was a reference to the famously confused comedian, however, it turns out to be the writers real name. Then I thought Charlie Kaufman’s twin brother was just a figment of his imagination, and although he was fake in real life, he was very real within the premises of the movie.

For clarification purposes, this film was written by Charlie Kaufman, Directed by Spike Jonze, and features Nicolas Cage, Tilda Swinton, and Meryl Streep. These people are, in a word, amazing. They made the viewer fall in and out of love which one of their singular characteristics seamlessly. For instance, I hated the character of Donald Kaufman at the beginning of the film, yet I suddenly found myself upset near the end.

This film is in no way not what one would expect it to be, Cage lets his crazy come out at times but it works really well for the stuttering, terrified character that is Charlie Kaufman. Even the premises of this film are new and oddly refreshing. It is Charlie Kaufman writing about how he had trouble adapting a book that had no dramatic subplot into a movie and how it drove him to the brink of madness. So, in summary, it’s a movie written by a writer trying to write a script from a book only to be fraught with disaster and ending up writing himself into a movie and throwing away his principles to be able to finish the script to the adaptation of the book that he was never able to end. That doesn’t really make sense, I know. That is why you should watch this movie. It is such a refreshing script in a time when most of the movies released in theaters are either remakes, reboots, sequels or prequels. If nothing else, it will make you feel more intelligent.

22 Jump Street

It seems as though Jonah Hill (This is the End, Superbad) and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, The Vow) will be reprising their roles as cops, and unlikely friends, Schmidt and Jenko (does that seem like a “Starsky and Hutch” reference to anyone else?) in 22 Jump Street, the sequel to their wildly popular 21 Jump Street. They will be joined, once more, by the adorable grumps, Ice Cube (Ride Along, Boyz in the Hood) and Nick Offerman (Parks and Rec) and that seems to be the only supporting cast from what I saw in the trailer.
In 21 Jump Street, Tatum and Hill were charged with the task of infiltrating a highschool drug smuggling ring that has been distributing some lethally powerful drugs. Tatum played the role of the muscular ladies’ man that got through highschool and the police academy due to his impressive physique. Meanwhile, Hill plays the nerd who was able to squeeze by on his superior intellect. In the end, they become unlikely friends after Hill gains popularity and Tatum becomes a lonely nerd.
The film was very successful, amassing 200 million dollars in the world wide box office. So how will Sony guarantee another hit? Well it seems as though they are using the same plot. Hill starts off with the same lack of knowledge when it comes to women, Tatum is the cool guy and they both look too old to he in any kind of educational institution. The trailer doesn’t disclose much information but we see that Hill goes through certain “developmental phases” while Tatum just sleeps around and parties. The lighting seems like typical lighting for a comedy, and no avante garde methods applied in the soundtrack either.
Has this trailer done its job then? No, I honestly can’t say it has. The trailer looks like the trite logarithm that has been set in stone for all comedy movies. The only reason I will go see this movie is because of the first film which mocked contemporary society and allowed viewers to the opportunity to realize that the “Norm” that surrounds us daily, is actually very strange.