Sunday, 22 December 2013

Scene 70: Frozen Review

I saw Frozen the other day. I hadn't intended too. When I saw the trailer it looked like it was going to be typical Disney fare - and I was rather put off by the jokey sidekick snowman, which  I thought would probably only appeal to younger kids.

I was also rather disappointed that they'd just done it in same animation style as Tangled, even though I had loved the look Tangled and its characters had. I guess I had kind of expected Disney to use a different animation design for its next film - was this style going to be their trademark design for every CGI film from now on?

However, that was until I came across the film's song Let It Go - a rip roaring, want to sing it out loud, stuck in your head, show stopping sort of song that was so good, I had to see the whole film.

I wasn't disappointed - Frozen is a delightful and enjoyable family film, that manages to change up and challenge some of the old tropes.

Based loosely on the Snow Queen its main protagonists are two princesses called Elsa and Anna. Elsa has the ability to create snow and ice, a power she enjoys as a child until she accidentally hurts Anna. Afraid that her powers might become dangerous, her parents decide to keep her shut away, whilst Anna now with no memory of Elsa's power, grows up with a distant sister and no one to play with.

Inevitability tragedy strikes, when their parents are killed. Elsa now must become queen, but on the day of the coronation things go wrong when Anna meets a prince, and thinking she's in true love and agrees to marry him that night - much to Elsa's horror. During the ensuing argument between them Elsa accidentally reveals her powers, and scared by people's reactions flees into the mountains - leaving the kingdom in an eternal winter. Of course Anna immediately goes after her, acquiring help from a kooky ice deliverer, his reindeer and a snowman called Olaf along the way.

I really enjoyed this film for several reasons. First off, its main protagonists are two sisters who completely drive the story, and the film focuses more on them and the idea of family. Secondly, the queen in this movie is not a villain, as she so often is in other films and television shows - think Snow White, the Red Queen, Once Upon A Time and the original Snow Queen etc. In the fact that Elsa starts off as a princess and then takes on the responsibility of queen, without needing to marry anyone - surely a first in Disney history?

Both the women are great characters. Neither are perfect and have a distinct personality and motivations. Elsa is the responsible, sensible one, desperately hiding her true self, believing she is dangerous. Meanwhile Anna is more bubbly and optimistic and though more naive, her agreement to marry the first prince she meets is understandable, considering that she's grown-up without anyone much for company and probably has been rather lonely.

That's not to say the male cast aren't great. Kristoff, an ice cutter who Anna hires to help her, is an odd but lovely guy. Whilst Olaf the snowman manages to pull off being genuinely sweet and rather funny, instead of annoying, forced or just plain redundant as some cute sidekicks can be.

Finally there are the songs, which are done in a Broadway musical style and are all pretty damn good. Let It Go is definitely the best, and will get stuck in your head, whilst my second favourite is Fixer Upper, an amusing song that reminds us that's no-one's perfect.

To top it all off, this is also the first film in Disney history to be directed by a woman, Jennifer Lee - who directs along with Chris Buck according to IMDb - and who incidentally also wrote the screenplay!

In short, I thought this film was a refreshingly different princess story and a well-told family film. I definitely recommend Frozen this Christmas!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Scene 69: Pills Short Film

I've been involved in quite a few short films for the last few years - as a producer, extra, runner, editor etc. However, the latest film I've been involved in - not including my community film editing work - is particularly special. Pills is a short sci-fi about time-travel and trust, with a script written by me!

Yes, my very first script translated to the screen. And as with many scripts, it took a while to get there. I came up with idea at least a couple of years ago, and first pitched it in a session with Jon Reiss on a Second Light Lab for Producers.  A few months later I wrote the script, but it wasn't until earlier this year, after failing to get funding for it from a competition, that I decided, I'd produce it myself.

So, I got together with a couple of guys I've worked with before at Red Dog Film - a young cinematographer called Ben Groves who I also had as director, and a young director/actor called Will Jones who played the main protagonist George. I then cast along with an actress who been in Coins, a short film written and directed by Will Jones, as the second main character Izzy. Finally a new actor who is part of a film club I help run for RDF called ReBrand rounded off the cast as George's friend Mike.

The film was shot over a weekends towards the end of the summer, and is currently still in post-production - I've seen a rough cut and I'm rather pleased with it.

So, what did I learn whilst making the film? Well, I discovered first hand what it's like to have actors and directors taking your precious script and causually change lines or throw in new ideas, and though it was a little disconcerting, I knew that it was the way it was meant to be. Scripts as they say, are blueprints for films, and films are all about collaboration - everyone throws in their ideas, and hopefully expands and augments the original idea, making it better and bigger.

Or as I put it - a script is like a cake recipe. You perfect it, then give it to someone else - and yes, they aren't going to make the same cake as you did, but they might add things you never thought of and improve it.

In short, I enjoyed making the film and I'm intending to make more in future.

If you want to check out a few pictures from the shoot for Pills here's a link to the Facebook page: Pills on Facebook.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Scene 68: Doctor Who FanScript Extract

So, I was sorting out all my stuff on my computer today, trying to get enough space to render this footage I needed when I came across an old script of mine I never thought I'd see again - Swarm Science, a Doctor Who script I actually tried to send to the BBC! 

It's not that great - re-reading the beginning I'd probably get the action going much quicker now if I rewrote this  -  but I actually did a lot of research on the 1920's for this script, and spent quite a bit of time on it, so despite it not going anywhere I guess it was good practise for future scripts. 

Anyway, I thought I'd share some on the blog since I've been so  busy and uninspired to write, which has meant I haven't written a proper post or review in ages. I hope this bridges the gap and makes up for it a bit - and its a bit of fun for all the Doctor Who fans out there!


March 1925 - a busy high street.

A fashionably dressed girl on a bicycle LOUISE ’LULU’ HEATLEY (26), in a cloche brakes in front of a cafe.

She locks up the bicycle and goes inside. 



Lulu dodges round the tables and the waitresses to a table by the window where EDITH MARSH (25) is lounging, as she fiddles with a cigarette case whilst talking idly to DENIS BARNES (27), who is picking a slice of lemon out his gin and tonic.

Am I late?

No, no, you’re on time actually. I ordered a pot of tea for us to share.

Oh, merci

Lulu pulls up a seat, putting down a bag and a green hardback volume of Vasari’s Lives. She pushes a pair of round glasses up her nose, and begins to pour herself a cup of tea.

Do we know when the train goes?


Good. I’ll have time to fetch my luggage from home. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing you two, and going on this sojourn to London.

Me too, dear. Wait til I show you
my rooms, I’ve had them decorated. And we must go and see that
new play, the Vortex.

And that new dance club. But let’s eat first, shall we? 

Denis picks up a menu.

Yes, I’m as hungry as a wolf.



An abandoned factory yard, walled in, with a rusty gate hanging loose.

A couple of workmen are walking beside the wall. MAURICE SIMMONS, 42, with a slight limp, pushing a bike, and BILL WALKER, 25, with a burn mark on his face.

They pause by the gates and look up at the factory. A cloud of black is rising from one of the old chimneys.

Hey, there’s smoke rising from over there. Has that factory re-opened?

Don’t think so. (beat) It’s probably just a load of homeless people in there.

The smoke tails off.

Come on, we need to get a move on. We can cut through here.

Isn’t it shorter through town?

Nah, trust me. I used to work  round here before they started making tanks. 

Maurice opens the gates and they walk through. 



The table is covered in the remnants of luncheon.

What now? We still have a couple of hours.

There’s the pictures I suppose. I mean, there’s not much else down here to do, is there? It’s all rather industrial and rural...

Good idea. What’s showing?

I don’t know.

Take a look in the paper, theyalways have cinema listings.

I never buy local papers.

Ask to borrow someone’s then.

Lulu frowns. They look about the cafe. There are well-dressed ladies drinking delicately. A young couple smoking and flirting near the staircase. A pair of imposing looking older men are talking gruffly
about business.

And...sat alone at the table is a MAN in eccentric attire with his feet up on a chair, fiddling with what looks like a manual egg whisk.

His table is a jumble of stuff - a book in a foreign language, cups, plates with half eaten toast and scones, pots of jam, a pot of tea, a newspaper and several bits of wire.

Voila. Go on Denis.

DENIS(pulls face) 
Ask him?

Why not?

Look at his table. He looks a bit odd.

He is odd. I saw him stirring butter into his tea just before you arrived.


So I’m not talking to him.

Fine. I’ll go.

She gets up and walks over, faltering by the table for a moment.

Excuse me? 

The man doesn’t look up.

Black coffee with two sugars and a slice of lime, and are you sure you don’t have any...

The man looks up.

Oh, (big smile) g’day.

Good afternoon. Sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering if I might borrow your newspaper? I want to check the listings for the movies.

Ah, good old silent movies.

He pulls the paper out from under a pile of plates, and hands it to her.

Who’s your favourite? Buster Keaton, Lilian Gish, Charlie Chaplin...

Max Linder. I used to watch his movies when I was a child in Paris.

Really? You don’t sound Parisian?

Oh, don’t be put off by my accent. I was born there, but my father was English, and we moved here when I was young...

Note: Original characters copyright KCS, Doctor Who belongs to the BBC.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Scene 67: Five Films in Fifty Words Review

So after a unintended long absence from writing this blog I have returned. And in my absence I have not only managed to shot a short film based on one of my own scripts and write a spec script, but I have managed to watch about nine or ten Woody Allen films.

Now I guess I could review one of those films tonight, but I thought, why not try something a little different to celebrate coming back to my blog, so I'm going to review five Woody Allen films in  fifty words each. Here it goes...

[1] Manhattan (1979) 

I felt this film went over my head a little. However, the opening narration is brilliant and the whole film is shot beautifully by Gordon Willis in black and white, with some stand-out compostions of the scenes. Including a scene in Isaac's flat and the walk through the planetieurm.

[2] Hollywood Ending (2002)

Film has a great concept - a once famous director is given one last shot at getting back into movies again when he suddenly goes blind. What does he do? Keep shooting the film anyway. The romance feels rather weak and the ending rushed, but good fun all the same. 

[3] A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)

Set in the countryside, this film is full of gorgeous shots of nature and a lovely montage of the cast doing summer things. A Shakespearian like comedy of love, that looks at interesting human conundrums about sex and love - and it has a flying bicycle. 

A wild ride through one year with a family entangled in different kinds of love. This musical is not only funny, but full of stars, including a singing Tim Roth! The action moves between New York, Paris and Venice - and ends with a fantastic gravity-defying dance scene.

An anthology of story threads all set in Rome. The location is lovely and sun filled, and the stories all amusing, though slightly silly. My favourite was the most straight forward tale - a trip down memory lane, with Alec Baldwin playing an architect thinking back to his student days.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Scene 66: More Script Extract

Let's be honest, if you've been reading this blog with any regularity you'll know I can be a bit patchy and inconsistent with my posts - though I do try and post every week, and make for weeks I've missed. 

I can at least say that whilst I have not been writing my blog for the last week or two, I have managed to finish a script instead, and I don't mean a 15 page short, this is a full 67 page draft script of a television pilot. 

I've been working on it for a long time - as is the nature of writing - and at one point I even created a little story board/ outline thing out of post it notes on my wall.

Though of course elements of the story have changed since then! 

The current draft needs work too and will probably change as well, but I'm still pleased I have completed a full draft anyway and have managed to actually adhere to some of the scriptwriting advice I've mentioned on this blog. Remember Joss Whedon saying 'finish it' in my Five Screenwriting Tips post?

Anyway, I thought as you guys are so patient and seem to take a interest in my script extracts  - one has been viewed 107 times - that I'd be generous and post up a scene from my draft. All copyright applies etc. 


Marion is stood at the nurses' station glaring over the desk at a scared young nurse. Alison, Hank and Lee come down the corridor to them.

(to the nurse)
I got your call. What's happened?

He's gone!


He's not in his room. His clothes are gone and I found this in there with his wallet.

She shows Alison a scrawled note: SORRY, BORROWED MONEY. WILL REPAY.

Strange. He may not have gone far though. Has anyone seen him?

Well she... (points accusingly at nurse) Certainly hasn't.

'Cuse me..

Alison turns to the nurse too.

Wasn't there someone at the station?

I don't know. Everyone was busy, the station might have been...

Left unmanned? Christ. (to Marion) Ms Reid, I'm so sorry about this.

'Cuse me. But we need to talk to this guy, remember? And you're telling me he's wandered off?


And who are you?

Hank Baker, Canadian embassy mam.

Lee Turner, MOD.

MOD? You must have made a mistake. My brother is a restaurant owner. He's only been in London like a week, why do you want to talk to him?

That's classified.

Well so's he. 


Look, I know this is probably a bad time...

A bad time! My brother has brain damage for Christ's sake. He doesn't even know who is!

Doctor Haywood has explained his condition thank you. Now don't you think we should try and find Mr Reid? What state was he in? Could he have left the hospital?

Probably, if he can write and dress himself, then he's motor skills and balance must be fine. But he's still recovering from the infection. How far he's got (she shakes her head)... I don't know.


We should check the CCTV. (to Alison and Marion) Can you give us a description of him?

Hank opens his folder and pulls out a photocopy of Charlie's passport.

He looks... wait.

He shows Lee the photocopy.

Look familiar?

(can't quite believe it)

You've seen him?


Outside. He walked past us towards Great Ormond Street.

So, he's out in London. Alone! This just gets better and better! 

We have to alert the police.

Wait, his phone! You said he left his wallet. Did he leave his phone?


Was it on?

It's always on.

Great. Give me his number.

Hank pulls out his phone.

We can try and track down his phone via GPS. Locate him Bond style.

(pleasantly surprised)
Good thinking. 

Hank dials his phone.

Hey Andy, its Baker. I need you to track a phone for me....


(C) KCS 21/7/2013

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Scene 65: Review of Dan Vs.

I've always found it interesting and a little surreal to think back to what got me into a television series I've loved. Most of the time my favourite shows were just recommended to me, or other people were watching them, such as How I Met Your Mother or Game of Thrones - but, occasionally, I search out a show because I see something that just catches my attention and intrigues me.  

This time it was memes featuring a guy in a black T-shirt with JERK on the front and sharp teeth. They intrigued me. Who was cartoon character that just oozed annoyed, and mean? It was Dan, from Dan Vs

So first a little background. Dan Vs. is a Flash animation created by two friends, Dan Mandel and Chris Pearson, and the two main characters in the show are not only named after them, but are apparently based somewhat on their own negative traits. So far the show has run for three seasons on the Hub Network.

The show is basically about this guy called Dan who has anger issues, and when he gets angry- either with something, someone or even a whole country or state - he explodes with rage and goes on a quest for revenge. These quest for revenge can often start of quite mundane, but can often have very surreal twists to them, for example in one episode Dan's cookies are stolen - by a ninja

Being dragged along on all these adventures are Dan's best friend and sidekick Chris, a nice guy with a more than healthy appetite, who generally pays for everything and drives them everywhere. Chris has a wife called Elise, who is a super spy and ninja - though he doesn't know. Often there will be either a subplot about Elise's work or something she is making or inventing will end up being involved in Dan's revenge plans. 

So, first the gushing, why do I love this show so much? Well first of all I fell in love with the animation style, and in particular the way Dan has been designed and how he is animated. His character has a lot of energy, and a really open face with a load of expressions. 

I recently found out that Dan's character, and the other main characters too, were all designed by Chris Battle. If you have't heard of him, he also designed the Power Puff Girls and characters for Dexter's Laboratory. 

Dan is written very well too. I have habit of liking characters who have big flaws with redeeming qualities - and I think he falls into that category. On the one hand he has serious anger issues, is mean to Chris and has no sense of boundaries. On the other hand sometimes his anger is totally valid - for example when a fast-food restaurant gives him cheese on his burger, when he asked for none, clearly, six times. Whilst despite all the crap he gives Chris, you sense there is affection and loyalty there. I did read somewhere that one of the creators thought of Dan as sort of like Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, if his life went badly wrong somewhere. I have to agree that there is a very Calvin-equse look to Dan, especially when he does a certain wicked grin! 

Then there is Chris. He's your typical, straightforward nice guy, who's not really good at anything. He may seem like a bit of a push-over, but he surprisingly doesn't always take Dan's crap. He's also a big eater, and he will eat anything, including plastic food. The fact that he's always wearing sandals just seems to sum him up for me - this is a guy who wants to relax, eat and enjoy himself.

Finally we have Elise, who as I said is a spy. So she's very efficient, very intelligent and very deadly - she loves Chris loads but keeps the true nature of her work hidden from him. I like the fact that despite all this strength Elise has her own weakness too - such as her parents, who drive her nuts. My only problem with Elise is that, she started out pretty relaxed about Dan, but in the later seasons it was changed so that she practically hated him and Dan, who never really liked her, didn't like her even more.

I realise this development in her character is fair enough, as Dan regularly manages to get Chris, her beloved husband, thrown in jail and once even poisoned. However, its still a bit sad, as that she's become so mean after being so relaxed and almost part of Dan and Chris' little gang. Dan's has also become meaner to her too, see the example below.

Which brings me to another thing - why is Dan Vs. is on a network for children? I've never quite understood this. I know its a cartoon, but it's sense of humour feels adult, all its characters are adults and they live adult lives. There is also a serious edge to the cartoon. Chris and Elise refer to Dan having not only anger problems but possibly mental issues several times, and its hinted that Dan probably had a neglectful, even abusive childhood. 

Personally, having kids watch Dan also worries me a little. As an adult or teenager you understand that Dan's behaviour is unhealthy and you know things he does are socially unacceptable - like borrowing Chris' toilet paper at 4am in the morning or not paying for a rented cabin. However, young children might not understand that and might even think this behaviour is okay. Then again, I might underestimating the intelligence of kids and worrying a bit to much here - I don't want to go all Mary Whitehouse! 

Nonetheless I do think Dan Vs. should be considered a cartoon for adults too.  Adults would not only appreciate the humour more, but for its also more fun to watch Dan take revenge and win because we can't do that when people annoy us or wrong us, we have to act grown-up.  

I also find Dan Vs. is a refreshing change from other cartoons actually aimed at adults. I'm thinking mainly of Seth McFarlane's cartoons here - which is ironic as the actor who voices Dan also voices Snot from American Dad! Now, I like all McFarlane's cartoons and I enjoy watching them but they seem to rely on shocks alot of the time. And you know what? Just because something is for an adult audience doesn't mean it always needs swearing, sex references or shock jokes. The Simpsons and Futurama managed it without swearing or shock, but let's be honest, the Simpsons has gone past their prime and Futurama is in its last season. 

Okay, I better wrap things - in summary I think Dan Vs. is brilliant. I love the characters, I love the design and I think the stories are great. I think children could watch it, but I personally think adults would get this series more and get more enjoyment out of it. 

At the moment there might be a fourth season on the way, I'm not sure, there has been rumours of a cancellation and the Facebook page has pretty said to stop asking about a fourth season or further DVDs, as its up to the money men, not them. In light of this, I suggest to anyone who likes this show to give it some support. It would be sad to see such a great series go the way of The Critic. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Scene 64: 4Talent Day - Yay!

Just a quick post to mention that I went to a 4Talent Day in Lincoln yesterday. It was a great day, I made a new friend and did a workshop on standing out from the crowd - which talked about branding yourself, pitching yourself and networking on the internet - and I'm hoping to put some of it into practise over the next few days. 

I'd recommend the days to anyone interested in the media industry - and not only the production and on screen roles either, as several of the speakers pointed out, you can be the media industry and work in an office role, as a lawyer, or in HR, or in PR and marketing. 

There was a good variety of people, some writers like me, some people wanting to be producers, marketers, advertisers, some graphics designers - a really mixed bag! But I think everyone got something from the day, and I think all the speaker's gave everyone a real confidence boost. 

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Scene 63: Another Script Scene Extract

So, I haven't got a film to review or a subject really to discuss this week, and I think another list would be taking the form of listing a bit far - a bit ad nauseam. Instead, I've decided to post up an extract from a script I am working on. 

I know that weeks ago I promised I'd actually post up a scene each week , and I know I haven't, so sorry about that - but I'm putting that little idea on hiatus for the moment as my priority is to edit another script, and get this one finished! 

Here's the extract, enjoy!


A large living-room in a Victorian terrace house. Hoovering with headphones on, headbanging to the song Who Do You Want to Be Today? by Sumo Cyco is MARION, 36, wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt.

She stops as her mobile vibrates. She whips off her headphones, kicks the hoover off with her foot and checks the back pocket of her trousers.

She pulls out a red flip-phone - no. Checks next pocket, black android phone - yes.


Hi Marion. Its me.

Hey, what's up? If you're asking what wine to bring, anything but red.

I can't make dinner.

What?! Of course you can make dinner.



Charlie plods through the dining area of the restaurant where decorators are painting and electricians fitting trendy lights.

I can't, I feel sick. I'm going home. 

It's probably just stress and overwork. I have yucky days like that too. You probably need a break. Come over.

Charlie pauses in the restaurant's small foyer.

Look I have a migraine, and a neck ache. I just... I just want to go to bed. I think I have the flu. I even canceled all my appointments.

Oh. (beat) You must be ill, how are you getting back to your apartment? Do you want me or Danny to come meet you? Pick you up?

I'm fine. The subway's not far.

If you're sure?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm sure. I just want to go sleep. I'll talk to you later.

Okay. Bye...


He rings off and walks off into the rain.



Charlie is walking with a stream of people going down steps into the underground. He looks extremely tired, and keeps getting bumped and brushed by other people.

He reaches the platform and leaning against the wall pulls his water bottle from his pocket. Before he can unscrew the cap though a wind kicks up, and the train rockets into the station. It's very full.

The doors slide open and Charlie jumps on.

No seats - he grabs onto the pole above him as more people cram in, leaning his forehead against the metal. Next to him a young man with piercings is listening to thudding music.

The doors bleep and close. The tube train starts off.

There's silence as it roars along. Just the swaying, rocking train.

Suddenly Charlie just collapses. He clips several people as he falls, and smacks into the floor. People gasp, and ask if he's okay. 

The young man with piercings, immediately pulls out his earphones and kneels to check Charlie. He takes his pulse.

He then pulls out his phone and starts dialing.

(C) KCS etc

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Scene 62: My Four Favourite Animated Films - that aren't Disney, Dreamworks or Pixar

Another list this week, and I've decided to look at feature length animated films. However I've also set myself a bit of challenge - I have to choose five films, that I really like, that haven't been produced by Pixar, Dreamworks or Disney! 

I decided to do this, firstly because I thought it would be nice to mention some alternatives to the big three animation companies, which let's be honest, do sort of corner the market on feature film animations, whether 2D or CGI.  

Secondly, over the last few months I've watched alot of reviews on Disney and Dreamworks films and its reminded me that though the films have managed to appeal to a wide audience they are still essentially family films.  

This means they can't deal with or depict certain things and certain issues, whilst films aimed at adults can - for example, Waltz with Bashir (2008) is about war and A Scanner Darkly (2006) is a sci-f thriller about drugs. 

1] Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

Animated films normally need vast amounts of people to make them, but not Sita Sings the Blues, which was animated by only one woman, Nina Paley.

Th film tells two stories. The first is from the great religious epic The Ramayana, and is about Sita, the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Lashkmi and her exile with her husband Rama and her abduction. The second story is an autobiographical one, about how the animator's marriage fell apart after he got a job in India. 

Sita's story is told in three different styles and through several different narrators. One of these versions is a series of colourful Flash animated musical numbers, using the songs of 1920's jazz singer Annette Hanshaw, and each song relates to a part in Sita's story and her feelings at the time. 

The film is very creative, and for a Western audience is a very entertaining and interesting introduction to the Ramayana. 

2] Persepolis (2007) 

The first time I watched this was late at night. It was in French and subtitled and I had to sit close to the television to make sure I caught all the words. I don't think I was quite older to fully understand it - the politics, the Marxism mentioned in it - but I loved it.

Persepolis is an autobiographical tale. Original a comic book, it is the story of one Iranian woman's life growing up - how the war and revolution in her country affects her, directly and indirectly, and how she grows and defines her own identity. 

The main character is fun, intelligent, strong and relatable, and the aanimation is lovely. It looks bold and simple, and yet there is a lot of detail in there. It is only black and white, but many tones are conveyed. It's really beautiful. 

3] Yellow Submarine (1968)

Yellow Submarine is an old favourite of mine. My father is a Beatles fan and I grew up watching this film in the same way I grew up with Disney films. 

Admittedly the story is nowhere near as epic or thought provoking as the previous two films I've looked at.  Its a simple tale of a bad guy taking over, and how one lone survivor finds a band of heroes (no pun intended), who must go on a journey full of wondrous adventures and eventually defeat the bad guy. 

However, what makes this special, other than nostalgia, is the creativity and the style of the film. The film is like one long series of set pieces or music videos for the Beatles music, using a variety of colourful, imaginative animation and mixed in from time to time with some photography and film. Look at the dull toned city during the song Elenor Rigby and then at the colourful, bold Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  

Though the plot may be quite simple, there's a host of great characters and good dialogue the whole film is just an artistic 60's splash - an enjoyably musical and visual feature. 

4] Waking Life (2001)

This film is very strange. I watched this when after learning about rotoscoping, and wanted to see an example.

Waking Life, seems pretty much plot less, it is basically just a young man, walking around unsure whether he is awake or dreaming, and having a string of philosophical conversations with the people he meets. There is no resolution to the film, it is left very open-ended. The conversations and dialouge is thought provoking though, and it'll certainly leave you feeling intrigued. 

The  film's visuals are worth watching, and the film goes through a variety of rotoscoped styles - from more stylised and cartoony, to almost photographic. A mind-bending piece of cinema, visually and mentally. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Scene 61: Five of My Favourite Film and TV Dresses

In this post I'd thought I'd have some fun and look at some of the costumes I like most from television shows and films. 

Costumes are extremely important in films. They can help tell us about the characters we are watching and even hint at themes in the film. In some cases costumes can even steal  films, right from under the noses of actors, writers and directors - hence 'costume drama' films and television shows, where the costumes are a selling point in themselves, to be awed and drooled over. 

I want to look at a variety of costumes, but today I'm looking at dresses - the ones I've liked the most, and which I think are the most visually striking.

So in no particular order, here are five of my favourites. 

1] Audrey Hepburn's gown from Funny Face

A Funny Face is musical film all about the fashion world that stars Audrey Hepburn as a bookshop owner who becomes a model. All her Paris costumes were designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who had also designed all her Paris costumes in Sabrina, and he created a whole series of beautiful dresses and outfits for the film. The short skirted wedding dress she wears at the end for example, seems to have become a classic, based on the amount of images I found of it online. 

However, out of all the Paris costumes my favourite dress is this gown with a floral polka dot like pattern. She looks so elegant in the long skirt, and the pattern is pretty, but not 
overwhelming. In the film, she wears the dress with several accessories, including a light blue silk cape and gloves. This gown even looks good soaked, as Hepburn proves in this funny scene with Fred Astaire!

2] Daenerys Targaryen's blue dress from Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is an epic piece of television. It's story is huge and fully of interesting characters, but it also has amazing production values. Seriously, stop and actually look at the sets, the locations and the costumes that have been created for this show, because it's incredible - and one of my favourite examples is the blue dress Daenery's wears whilst staying in the city of Qarth. The costume department seemed to create a whole style of dress for this luxurious city, with alot of the women's dresses employing the gorgeous gold cut-out bands that are used to hold up the dress and as belts - as shown in Daenery's dress above. 

Of course my favourite is Daenery's, it is floaty and exotic looking, yet at the same time it looks almost medieval, which is in keeping with the rest of the show. Certainly it is one of the most unforgettable costumes a character of Game of Thrones has ever worn!

3] The Black Swan dress from Black Swan 

Ballet costumes in real life are beautifully designed and the film dresses in Black Swan, designed by Amy Westcott, were no exception. I have looked back at the white swan dress too, which is fantastic, but I still think the black swan costume beats it. Why? Honestly it's partly because that eye make-up just makes the whole effect pop! But the dress is still incredible, its edgier and sharper than the white swan dress, and look at that crown, it looks like its made of shards of glass and diamonds! Check the dress out in action...

4] Romana II's Edwardian dress from Shada, Doctor Who

Romana is one of my favourite companions in Doctor Who, and I always liked her vintage style of dress. However, out of all her costumes I've honestly only seen this dress in a few pictures and clips. To be fair though, it didn't get much screen time anyway. The Doctor Who episode the actress wore this dress in was only half shot due to strikes at BBC. 

Nonetheless the outfit, even in this picture, is striking. I do believe it is a dress, though the difference in patterns from the top and skirt could been its a combo. However, I'm still happy to bend the rules a little and put it in my list. The white lacy top and bright red belt, with that lovely the fruity, flowery hat altogether look classy, vintage and elegant. 

5] The Queen's peacock dress and Snow White's orange and blue dress from Mirror, Mirror

Okay, a little bit a cheat here! Firstly, of course this is two dresses, and second I have not seen the film. Though, given that costumes are meant to reflect the character, I should be able to have a good guess at what the characters are like from their clothes.  

Anyway, the reason I include these on my list is because, frankly these dresses sold the film to me. I mean Mirror, Mirror looks like an amazing in the trailers anyway, the designers have really created an extravagant, shimmering fairytale world, but the costumes are what really stand out. 

Strangely, I can't decide which costume I like best, or if I even like either of them. Orange and blue? And those ruffs? And yet, it looks incredible. It works, somehow. The bright colours and interesting shapes just feel fun, and perhaps that's the point. The trailer sells the film as full of fun and humour, so it is not surprising that the clothes reflect this. 

The Queen's dress is more conventional, I'd say. It's not hugely subtle, hell its a red peacock dress complete with a peacock tail collar - it practically yells 'vain' and 'evil'! Perhaps that's what makes these dresses so good, they are so big and crazy and yet so much fun. The red peacock dress doesn't suggest a really dark menacing Queen, it's a bit big and a little silly, like the villain herself. 

Check out the trailer and see if you think these dresses sell to you, as much as it did me.