Tag Archives: camera angles

Shaun of the Dead

Okay, so here we go with the Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film that started off the whole shebang. Shaun of the Dead, that classic film that everyone and their mother owns (well my mom likes it in any case) truly is a spectacular romantic spoof about zombies. Let’s see if I can remember back to the first time I watched it…

Back when I first laid eyes on this film, I’m pretty sure I had no idea who Simon Pegg was. I hadn’t seen Spaced (not until much later) and I was woefully unaware of what hilarious

A wonderful cast doing it on the night.

antics lay before me in this film. Leave it to the British to be so damn clever that they turn a zombie movie into one of the funniest films of the last 10 years (soon to be followed by Hot Fuzz). The first in what hopes to be a trilogy entitled “The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (every film so far has featured a Cornetto), I laughed hysterically (or at least I think I did back in 2004) to Shaun of the Dead.

A lot of the zombies in the film are shown in other scenes, and are fans of Spaced or just happened to be around the time of shooting.

Fantastic plot ensuing. Shaun (Simon Pegg) has an average life with a girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who expects a bit more from their relationship. Ed (Nick Frost) lives in a shared flat with Shaun and their dickish roommate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and every night ends at the Winchester pub. After Shaun was supposed to finally arrange a nice night out, he messes up after a scrambled day at work, and Liz breaks it off with him. Planning on doing anything to get her back, Shaun and Ed wake up the next day to a zombie apocalypse. Guess things’ll be a bit more complicated than planned.

Let’s start with the filming. This movie, which, in my adolescence I thought was directed by Simon Pegg, was creatively done by Edgar Wright. With the combined writing and direction powers of

See, it’s gotta be good, she’s smiling.

Wright/Pegg, there’s nothing they couldn’t do. This movie uses interesting and dramatic quick cuts, ominously toned music at ironic parts, and comedic timing within the camera angles and cuts. It does mean a lot for a camera’s direction and cinematography to dictate the pacing and comedy of a film. This one has that. You’ll see the same thing in Hot Fuzz (a more action-y edge) and Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (a review I did a while ago).

That’s some classic Nighy right there.

The cast is also full of a bunch of wonderful British actors. Of course there’s the Simon Pegg/ Nick Frost bromance/friendship duo. It’s the only couple in Hollywood that I would consciously ship together despite just being two men who are friends. You have Dylan Moran, star of Black Books and the recently reviewed A Film With Me in It. This Irish actor plays the dick and four eyes, David. But he’s a lot more than that and shows up in other Simon Pegg vehicles. I give this guy his props, he’s damn funny. There’s Lucy Davis who plays the slightly slow failed actress, Dianne. Most British comedy fans will know of her from the UK’s Office as Dawn, one of my favorites (I currently worship Ricky Gervais).  There’s Bill Nighy, POTC’s Davy Jones and Underworld’s head vamp and one of my mom’s favorite British actors. A cameo is made by Rafe Spall, son of Timothy Spall as Noel, one of Shaun’s co-workers at the tech shop. He’s slimmed down a bit for other roles and most recently

The Wright stuff.

appeared in Prometheus (you gotta check him out, he’s going places).

This movie’s just a great watch and gets better every time you watch it with inside jokes and new groups of friends tuning in. (At least in my experience.) There’s nothing wrong with it, and it delivers on the horror fan and comedy fan that both dwell within me. If you’re any sort of a geek and love sci-fi/video games/movies/fantasy, this movie is for you. It’s a cricket bat to the head and worth all the injuries. 9.3 out of 10.


Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

I feel that deep down, if anyone has ever been wronged or hurt in some way by another, they seek revenge in some form on that person. So, you could say, that revenge is a very human thing to pursue and wish to deal out. I would say that’s why these films have been so successful (although box offices mighy say pshaw). After having seen Oldboy in a film class a few years ago, I knew I had to see more of Park Chan-wook’s films. He has a great sense of story and emotion coupled with a visual style you don’t often see in action films.

So I started off Park Chan-wook’s Revenge series at its logical point, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. This story follows a deaf mute man named Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) who is down on his luck. His sister (Lim Ji-eun) has kidney failure and is in dire need of a new one. Ryu is fired from his job at the factory and now seeks a new way in which to raise the

This was an interesting scene involving a mirror.

money. In finding a black market organ gang, Ryu is swindled and left without a kidney himself. With no other way to raise the money after not being a suitable donor himself, Ryu must turn to desperate measures with his anarchist girlfriend, Cha Yeong-mi (Bae Doona).

Stunning visuals.

What’s most interesting about this movie is the way that revenge and its plot in the film shifts from character to character. You think it’s all about Ryu and seeking revenge against the organ dealers (and to a point, it is). But it turns into something bigger when Ryu’s ex-boss gets involved. What is intriguing about this movie is that everyone has a motive, and usually for good reason. Ryu wants to save his sister and others want to correct past wrongs (don’t wanna spoil the movie). So there’s no definitive bad and good character, and this is even apparent in Oldboy. (Haven’t watched Lady Vengeance yet, we’ll cross that bridge soon.)

Another thing that leaps out at you in this film is an insanely new way of dictating tempo and focus with camera angles and amount of time spent on one shot. Kim Byung-il and the director, Park Chan-wook must have collaborated together to get such a unique style of story telling through showing. In dealing with a deaf mute character, sound was at times taken for granted. At others, sound played an important part, more

Song Kang-ho is one legitimate actor.

importantly what couldn’t be heard. The story fluctuates in such a way that plot mixes with circumstances, and chance happenings lead to development.

More about the visual style. Amazing work with angles you wouldn’t think of. This movie can take a simple handshake shot to a new extreme. It leaves on things you wouldn’t think of as the events unfold from a single angle (one take shots are hard to do…) and tilts the cameras to gain new perspectives. Light and dark shows its place when the characters walk up an abandoned parking structure in an almost comical way. I think the creators of this film really took a brand of their own outlandishly dark comedy and injected it into their film with just visual aspects.

Also touching.

And another important part of this movie. Song Kang-ho who plays Park Dong-jin, Ryu’s ex-boss. When he gets roped into this story, things start happening. It’s not such a quirky action film anymore. The emotions come out and you see the true face of vengeance. Song Kang-ho is an incredible actor, especially by American Cinema actors. You don’t feel like he’s fooling you with his emotions and actions on camera. You feel like you’re actually feeling for another human being. He didn’t have any classical acting training before he started getting involved with acting, but he has done such a wide range of characters that it shows he has depth. A comedic, bumbling, good hearted Dad in The Host. A bloodthirsty vampire priest that I’d like to see in Park Chan-wook’s other film, Thirst. A comedic and tormented thief in The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. And he’s won awards for his work. Get a load of that.

You bring together excellent acting (and I’m talking to the whole cast about this), stunning visuals, and a bit of violence

Who is seeking vengeance on who?

and revenge, and you have an American A+ caliber action film. What’s different though? This one has heart and emotions that put it at drama level. And so far, with having watched this and Oldboy, Park Chan-wook has hit all the good points on the head. He even puts a bit of violence and gore in there for me too. Violence and a great foreign action film? I think this was made for me. 9.3 out of 10.


Heavy Rain

What is there to say about Heavy Rain that hasn’t been said by thousands of other game reviewers? This game is awesome. This game is incredible. Not as intense as most action games as you’d expect, but if you just like pressing buttons and being immersed in a cinematic experience for about 6 hours… Play. This. Game.

What should I say about the plot. First of all, the title isn’t random. It is badass as Hell though. Think about it. Heavy Rain. A lot of shady, ridiculous shizz goes down in back alleys and seedy motels when it rains hard. Just look at Identity. Great movie, very similar in feel and tone to this game. Watch them in conjunction, I don’t care. Or watch Se7en, there’s no end to the parallels between thriller movies in crummy cities and this game. This game epitomizes that and makes it 6 hours (or more) long.

There are four characters you play as in this game. Gotta say right off the bat that two of them really aren’t that strong. Ethan Mars is a Dad. Enough said. His son is killed in an unfortunate car accident and his other son is kidnapped by a

Ethan Mars. He's a dad.

certain “origami killer”. (In this game it’s pronounced Ori-gamee for no reason.) You must be a true dad and save your son at all costs. You also play as Scott Shelby. He’s a P.I., out looking for the kids being kidnapped by the Origami Killer. Fat and overweight, he has a good soul. And there’s Norman Jayden of the F.B.I. This guy wrecks shit. He has this crime scene investigative turn-of-the-century ARI gadget that allows him to analyze and solves crimes instantaneously on scene. There is a catch to that though. And then there’s Madison Paige. She’s a slutty reporter.

Ahhh, the amazingly graphically stunning seedy motel.

The greatest part about this game has to be the decision making. You can play this over and over again and unlock any of a number of outcomes and endings for your characters. Every individual choice you make has repercussions that flow throughout the entire game. (Make sure you kiss/don’t kiss Madison. Huge repercussions either way.) You can make your characters do classic SIMS things like… sexually take a shower or pee. Also, you can fight in a number of quick draw reaction command scenes that could potentially kill your character based on your decisions. The entire games ending is up to you. Use this power wisely.

Norman Jayden. Will kick your ass.

Not to forget when it comes to this game that the graphics are out of this world… for February 2010. Since this game isn’t that old, it’s going to hold up for some time to even the biggest neurotic game design critic. Hands and the occasional motion are a bit skewed, but it doesn’t change the amazing camera angles that are employed to make this feel as if you’re watching a movie. Despite it being a one player game, invite the friends over, but don’t tell them it’s not a movie. Have someone hide with a wireless controller and have them sit there for every long hour of the game. It will fly by. And they will love it.

The game play doesn’t change much per difficulty, so its pretty accessible to

Madison Paige, useless slutty reporter, on the prowl.

whomever wants to play it. What’s great is the interactions with the controller. You can utilize the motion of the controller in order to throttle, punch, and get out of tight holds. Even balancing the controller can result in an action in the game. What wonderful technology Sony has created. A Wii motion combined with a Playstation/Xbox controller style. What will they think of next?

What decision will you make?

So with great plot and good voice acting (almost extending into character acting with playable characters being based on real actors) this game will immerse you in a run to the finish, a game against time, life and death to its fullest extent. If you like horror/thriller movies like Saw or the Hannibal series, this game was meant for you. Enjoy and hopefully there will be a Heavy Rain 2.

9.5 out of 10.