For years we’ve seen films with plots concerning alien invasions or robots out for revenge on the people of Earth. In these stories, Hollywood reflects our fears associated with the overreach and unpredictable side of technology. But why are we so afraid of something we created ourselves? Viewing the social timeline of these anxieties from Hollywood’s perspective, we can see not only the evolution of society’s technophobia, but the driving forces behind our fears of mechanical mayhem.
GQ Qi (Jack Yang) is a talented and handsome actor who can’t seem to get a break. That is until he lands a coveted role on a television sitcom. The only problem—the role is for a character named Kung Pao, a Chinese foreign exchange student. Not only is his name offensive but also the lines and mannerisms assigned to him. Fed up with the blatant stereotyping, GQ foils a plan to expose the executive producer of the show, Mitch Lebowitz (Bruno Oliver). He enlists the help of a production assistant, Kelvin Kim (Raymond Lee), but once again GQ can’t catch a break because the role is so coveted that Kim turns against GQ for an opportunity to replace him as the star.
The short film Menschen carries its weight as a period piece that involves relevant themes loaded from the past. I don’t have to tell you that film as an art-form has the power to impact both the life of an individual and influence or reflect societal values and norms. With this power in mind, Menschen is important because of how it relates to our modern world.
In the 2000s, more than 30 dystopian films were made in the U.S.: that’s double the number of dystopian films made in the 1990s. More than 20 dystopian films have already been made just five years into the 2010s. The Giver recently joined that ever-growing list. The dystopian film genre has been sustained in the past decade not only because it offers an action-packed narrative for children and adults alike but also because it makes viewers question government control in the post 9/11 world.
Known for their focus on the male perspective, Wong Fu Production’s newest short film, “After Us” takes viewers into the mind of a female protagonist communicating with herself in order to show audiences how to recover from the hurt and pain of a shattered romantic relationship through self-discovery that anyone, male or female, can empathize with and apply to any situation.
Pain and sorrow are the sweet rains flowing across the film of our lives. We dive deep through trust and into the heart of betrayal, twisting and turning along the strings of lies and illusion. Passion carries us across, and we hold to heart, afraid to break. But it’s the pieces of tragedy that tell the real stories, stories that we cannot turn away from; can we watch them again and again? Or as the screen fades to black, do we remain held within memory, forever touched by the film of their lives? It’s a simple turn of the page that can be ignored. We don’t want to hear about it. We don’t want to see it. We don’t want to know, but it still happened. One story always echoes across the news. A life was lost. Tragedy struck.
The year 2014 brings yet another twelve months of hyperbolic, and over stimulated cinematic spectacle. Following a year of Superhero re-hashes (Man of Steel), comic book adaptations (Kick-Ass 2, The Wolverine), darker themed sequels (Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek: Into Darkness) and over indulgent science fiction (After Earth, Pacific Rim), it seems Hollywood has lined up another round of expensive eye-candy. I recently had the pleasure of watching The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug at the cinema, although I firmly place this film in the same category of over produced films listed above, its fantastical charm was difficult to ignore.
In Disney’s Frozen, the audience is introduced to a world that wields both the darkness of Hans Christian Andersen and the almost ‘unbearable lightness’ of the Disney Princess world, where characters spontaneously burst into song, though thankfully, they possess voices such as that of the inimitable Idina Menzel, the voice of the Snow Queen. The film is at once a feminist manifesto (i.e. sisterly love comes before romantic love) and a deeply romantic story, espousing the value of slow-growing sentiment based on truly knowing, understanding and complementing one’s other half, rather than on the typical Disney princess ‘love at first sight’ scenario. READ MORE.
John Carpenter’s films, known primarily for their horror themes, inevitably feature pulse-pounding soundtracks, slow-moving camera work and hair-raising jolts to the nervous system as evil pops into the foreground with unexpected intensity. However, while Carpenter’s films are also infused with a strong anti-authoritarian, laconic bent, those seeking a good scare tend to overlook the deeper, overarching themes that speak to the filmmaker’s concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government. READ MORE.
In Artifacts of Idealism, director Sean Corbett paints a picture of idealized, obsessive love against the backdrop of Montreal’s Occupy movement. Simon Pelletier gets to show off his acting chops as the young Private Eye Charles who is recruited for a peculiar task by Robert, an eccentric older gentleman played by Nesvadba. Robert has fallen in love with an image of a young woman (Marshall) he saw at an art gallery and becomes determined to track her down, wondering if she is as perfect as her aesthetics suggest. Charles eventually meets the real life Marilee (after a particularly humorous run-in with the Quebecoise owner of the art gallery who tries to introduce him to “pleasures of life”), whom he finds even more enigmatic than her portrait. READ MORE.