Whilst studying a course in Film and Television Production I’ve come across many weird, yet wonderful films, short films and television shows. One of the things I love about this industry is that no topic is shunned as being uninteresting or irrelevant; you name it someone’s probably made a film or television series about it. I have decided to delve back into my back catalogue of the more ‘unusual’ things that I’ve watched over the years and post them here for your reading pleasure. I’ll just say now that if you’re someone who prefers to stick to your ‘comfort genre’ then this post may not be for you.
Under the Skin
Myself and fellow blogger jadeyrae (https://jadeyrae.wordpress.com) had the ‘pleasure’ of viewing this feature last year in preparation for our A Level Media Studies exam. It’s safe to say that this film really is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in cinema. It stars Scarlett Johansson as an unnamed supernatural being (disguised as a human woman) who arrives on Earth for an unknown purpose, other than to seduce and kill male humans in a predatory manner. I mean if that doesn’t sell it too you – than I don’t know what will!?
However, what critics seem to love about this rather unusual feature is the visual elements and the underlying messages hidden (rather deeply I will admit) within the strange narrative. The cinematography within this feature is captivating and visually stunning – the feature was filmed in the depths of Scottish winter and Daniel Landin has really done the landscape the justice it deserves. This paired with some more ‘arty’ visual sequences complete what critics are calling “an undeniably haunting, singular experience”.
I’ll leave it to you to watch and decide for yourself whether or not this film should be more widely recognised.
Her is a film that crosses over multiple genres including sci-fi, romance, comedy and drama and is written, produced and directed by Spike Jonze. The film follows ‘Theodore Twombly’ (Joaquin Phoenix) a lonely desperate man who develops a relationship with ‘Samantha’ (Scarlett Johansson), an intelligent computer operating system personified through a female voice. The film also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde.
‘Theodore’ is fascinated by ‘Samantha’s ability to learn and grow psychologically; they bond over their discussions about love and life, such as Theodore’s avoidance of signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of ex-wife ‘Catherine’. ‘Samantha’ however proves to be constantly available, always curious and interested, supportive and undemanding. However the film ultimately asks the questions – how healthy is our relationship with technology? What happens when we become isolated from society because of this?
The film has received numerous awards and nominations; mostly for Jonze’s screenplay. At the Academy Awards Her received five nominations, including Best Picture and won the award for Best Original Screenplay.
There are some interesting ‘intimate’ scenes within this film – be warned.
Many people know this feature as the film that won Best Picture in 2014; it also won Alejandro G. Iñárritu his first Best Director oscar along with awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
The film in itself follows the character Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a faded American actor best known for playing the superhero, ‘Birdman’ decades ago in a series of films. He is often tormented by the mocking and critical voice of ‘Birdman’ and frequently visualises himself levitating and using his superpowers. Riggan hopes to re-awaken his career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway-production of a loosely based adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” The adaptation is produced by his best friend and lawyer ‘Jake’; it also stars Riggan’s girlfriend ‘Laura’, and Broadway debutant ‘Lesley’ (Naomi Watts). His daughter ‘Sam’ (Emma Stone), a recovering drug addict, serves as his assistant during the production.
This film was shot in only 30 days and would’ve had to have been throughly rehearsed, as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezksi has shot the feature so it looks as though the film is one continuous scene throughout. (It has to be watched in order to understand really) This makes you feel as though you are part of the feature. Therefore you as an audience member are forced into the crazy semi-reality that Riggan lives in and the chaotic world of show-business.
Be prepared for some awesome mental breakdown sequences.
Thanks for reading 🙂