Monday, November 14, 2011

Paradise Lost: The Basics

So what are we looking at? This entry will look at the basic information that is known about the film.

The Title

This might seem odd, but it is worth noting that the movie will be called Paradise Lost. As an example, the movie Troy was based on Homer's Iliad but it was not called the Iliad. I've only just started reading the Iliad so I can't judge the differences between the two, but I do know the movie, which I have seen, removed the gods from the story. The gods are mentioned but they are never shown anthropomorphically like they are in Homer's poem. This would make me mad but the movie wasn't exactly the Iliad; it was Troy. It was a re-imagining. When I talk about the Iliad, people know that I am talking about the book not the movie. In contrast when I talk about the Chronicles of Narnia (books) it is often mistaken for the movies. When you use the title of a book for your movie, to me that implies that this is an adaptation not a re-imagining. The movie will be representative of the book.

The Director

Alex Proyas will be directing Paradise Lost. The only movies I've seen of his are i,Robot and Dark City. I saw i,Robot when I was younger and I don't remember a lot about it but I have seen Dark City earlier this year. I have to say the idea of the mind behind Dark City adapting Paradise Lost frightens me. In the end Dark City is a humanist story while Paradise Lost is definitely not. (SPOILERS to follow) In Dark City the character John Murdoch is haunted by visions of "Shell Beach"- a place of innocence and that is free of all the darkness and corruption of Dark City. As it turns out the Dark City is a petri dish for humans, run by pale-faced observers. At the end, John uses his inherent powers to defeat the observers and create his own shell beach. This has been compared to Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" but with a major difference I think. In Plato's story the characters have only seen shadows on walls and echoes and thus think that they are material reality while in fact they are mere byproducts of material reality. Dark City isn't like that. It isn't, as I was hoping, that Dark City is just a shadow of the real Shell Beach. Rather Dark City is real and Shell Beach is just a trick devised by John's experimenters. This, for me, was very disappointing. At the end, John creates his own Shell Beach, hence the humanism. Now is this the director I want to adapt Paradise Lost. My first reaction, of course, is an emphatic 'NO'! Directors can be versatile though. Maybe Alex Proyas will accept Paradise Lost for what it is and faithfully adapt it. I can hope, right? My biggest concern for this movie right now is that Proyas will draw on a modern interpretation of Paradise Lost. This interpretation, which Phillip Pullman evidently prefers, makes Satan the real tragic hero he pretends to be. According to this interpretation, Satan is right in defying God. With what little I know about the director, namely Dark City, I fear the movie adaptation of Paradise Lost will follow this interpretation rather than what Milton was actually trying to say (which, by the way, he clearly states in Book I: "That, to the height of this great argument, I may assert eternal providence And justify the ways of God to men.")

The Actors

I am unfamiliar with all of the actors so I will be judging most of them solely on their appearance. Over-analysis at its best.

 Bradley Cooper Picture
First off, we have Bradley Cooper as Satan. My first reaction to this was very negative. The guy from The Hangover is going to play Lucifer? *headdesk* Then I got to thinking, it could be worse: he could be playing Adam or Gabriel. I might be unfair in judging him on his performance in one movie (by the way, I have not seen The Hangover and I don't plan on doing so). I know he's been in other not-as-dumb movies and I should probably check one out before Paradise Lost hits theatres. Where am I now? I can actually begin to see this working. His face can come across as very irreverent and cocky. Excellent.

The angels of Heaven look pretty good. I can imagine them as angels. Not a lot I can say until I see their performances.

Benjamin Walker Picture

Benjamin Walker as Michael. Looks good.

 Casey Affleck Picture

Casey Affleck as Gabriel. Also looks good.

Callan McAuliffe Picture

Callan McAuliffe as Uriel. Good but looks pretty young. Surely, Alex Proyas must know that angels are ageless.

Djimon Hounsou Picture

Djimon Hounsou. I never pictured angels as being black. This isn't necessarily a problem, I just wonder if he's only in here to make the movie politically correct rather than his rightness for the part.

There are a couple rumoured actors I would like to talk about but I guess I'll wait until they are official *coughAdamandEvecough*

I will now go through IMdB's archives and when I find something noteworthy, I'll comment on it.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh No (I Think)

So. I haven't been on Blogger in a long time. This was partly because I was busy but mostly because I felt my blog didn't have direction. I do want my blog to be versatile but I would like it to have a main subject. At least for now, I think I've found it.

Paradise Lost, the epic poem by John Milton is being adapted into a movie. A 3D action movie set to release in late 2013. Oh no.

I literally found out about this yesterday and I don't know a whole lot about said movie so I'll keep this brief. Paradise Lost has recently become one of my favourite books. I am by no means an expert on this wonderful book (I've only read it twice and the only commentary I've read on it is C. S. Lewis' Preface to Paradise Lost) but I will assume the role of the loyal and critical fan regarding this adaptation. I will give my comments on whatever news is out there that I haven't yet had the chance to look at and any new news that comes out. When all is said and done I will review the movie.

 It will be quite a ride. I hope to get some readers (as far as I know I currently have none) so if you read my blogs, please comment. Let me know what you think. Let me know if I'm in left field.

Also let me say right now I WANT TO LIKE THIS MOVIE. I will be very critical of this movie because I think it my duty as a Milton fan (green as I may be), but I want this movie to work. I would love to see this book turned into a faithful adaptation and a great move and I think both can be achieved. Time will tell if both will be achieved.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: The Valley

I was always very unsure about The Valley. When I bought Room Noises (Eisley's first album), I loved it but when I listened to Combinations I was less than thrilled. The fairy tale-esque lyrics were far and few between and the sound was painful in some places. Don't get me wrong I'm glad to have Combinations and there are songs on there that I really love, but the album as a whole fell short in my opinion.

Onto LP no.3. It was promised to be edgier, slightly faster-paced and dealing mostly with heart-break. Interesting. That could be good, but it could also be bad. Whenever a band you like promises they are going in a bold, new direction, it's only natural to feel nervous.

Thankully my nervousness was for naught and I have thoroughly enjoyed The Valley (and, no, it has not left my CD player). It's definitley different, but it's past the growing pains of Combinations. I will always have a soft spot for the old Eisley (complete with Sea Kings and bats with butterfly wings) and I'm still hoping they'll go back, at least lyrically, to that direction, but I must say, I am overall pleased with the new direction.

Highlights are definitley the faster-paced songs The Valley, Smarter, Sad and (especially) Better Love. Even though Eisley is a primarily slow, ambient band it's nice to have these songs to balance it out. Usually it takes longer for the slow songs to grow on me, but this time it happened pretty fast. I already love Mr. Moon, Please and I Wish.

Hopefully I'll have more music reviews soon as this music-heavy year continues...

The Valley cover:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cars 2: Should I Be Concerned?

I feel embarassed typing this and I'm probably going to regret saying this, but I think that Cars 2 is going to be a flop. Well, maybe I should say I fear that Cars 2 is going to be a flop.

I've been a big Pixar fan ever since I can remember and they have never disappointed with any of their past eleven movies. On the off chance you don't know who Pixar is (imagine that!), they are the masterminds behind Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3. Yeah, you may have heard of them. Pixar movies are something that cannot be outgrown and I cherish each movie every time I watch it.

Actually, I should probably have a disclaimer before I go into details: I have feared that the last four Pixar movies would be flops and, clearly, I was proven wrong.

Back to Cars 2. Why do I fear it's going to be a flop? I have a few reasons.

Reason no.1: Disney

In 2006 Walt Disney Studios bought Pixar Animation Studios. I'll confess right now that I'm ignorant when it comes to business matters- including movie business matters- so take this part with a grain of salt. I'm not exactly sure what the ramifications of aquisition are, but I know that Pixar is still Pixar, Disney hasn't absorbed it. That's a sigh of relief. The thing that worries me however is that Pixar has only made one sequel in their first ten movies (Toy Story 2) and suddenly Toy Story 3 comes out and Cars 2 and Monsters inc 2 are greenlit. Toy Story and Monsters inc have been two of Pixar's more successful movies while Cars has made the most in merchandizing (the Cars line is still going strong almost five years after the release of Cars). I smell something fishy. Is it possible that Disney has the power to force Pixar to produce sequels- even if unofficially? Keep in mind this could be entirely misguided, but the evidence makes me uneasy.

Reason no.2: Production Problems

There has been reported "production problems" surrounding Cars 2's production. Little is known about this, but John Lasseter- who had announced he wouldn't be directing anything in the forseeable future- had to come on as co-director with Brad Lewis to get Cars 2 off the ground. However, Pixar has certainly seen production problems before (most notably with Toy Story and Ratatouille) and they've made it through before.

Reason no. 3: The Trailers

The trailers for Cars 2 seem to speak desperation. See below:

Maybe it's just me. But, c'mon, secret agents? It's like an Airbud sequel. These trailers make Reason no. 1 seem plausible because it makes it look like this movie is being mad merely for finiancial gain. 

As far as the content of the trailers, they don't impress me but Pixar trailers usually aren't anything special.

I'm not sure what to think. All three of my reasons could easily be explained away, but I am officially nervous. This isn't just Cars having a disappointing sequel if my fears are realized, this would be historic. Pixar's first flop. I hope I am wrong.

Cars 2 poster:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Music of 2011

Allright! 2011 is a big year for music... for me at least. Keep in mind, this is my blog and, as such, I will be focusing on music that I like. The music I like isn't typically very well-known (with a couple notable exceptions) so sorry radio fans. Here is a list of CDs that I'm looking forward to in the new-ish year.

Band: Hawk Nelson
Album Title: Crazy Love
Release: February 8th
Genres: Christian rock, Pop punk, Punk rock
Hype: Hawk Nelson's last two albums, while good, felt a little... safe. It's almost like they were trying to hard to be role models. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine thing for a band to be a role model, but don't cease to be an artist while you're at it. Both albums seemed like they were trying too hard not to offend anyone and felt just a little flat. But, lo!, it sounds like this album will be a return to the old days.
Expectation: Cautiously optimistic

Band: Eisley
Album Title: The Valley
Release: March 1st
Genre: Indie pop
Hype: I fell in love with Eisley's first album, Room Noises. It had this great sense of purity and ambience. However I wasn't as impressed with Combinations. Maybe it's only natural because the band is getting older, but the innocence was mostly gone and even the ambience was absent in a few places. There were a couple songs on Combinations (mainly Invasion and Many Funerals) that I really liked- they felt like what a mature Eisley should sound like. So we'll see, but the cover reminds me of Room Noises so...
Expectation: Cautiously optimistic

Band: Yellowcard
Album Title: When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes
Release: March 22nd
Genres: Alternative rock, Pop punk, Punk rock
Hype: Yellowcard left us with an absolute masterpiece, Paper Walls, before going into an "indefinite hiatus". Well, they're back! Paper Walls is one of my favourite albums of all time so it left a really good taste in my mouth- it had the same professionalism of Lights and Sounds but it wasn't as much of a downer. Expectations are high!
Expectation: Optimistic

Band: FM Static
Album Title: My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go!
Release: April 5th
Genres: Pop punk, Christian rock
Hype: You know FM Static's last album, Dear Diary, was surprisingly weak. It was a concept album about a teenagers life and, thus sounded more like it was from a pamphlet than from the heart. Maybe it's the awesome cover, maybe it's Trevor McNevan's track record, back I really think FM Static will have no problem getting right back on track for this one.
Expectation: Optimisitic (with just a sliver of cautiousness)

Band: Owl City
Album Title: All Things Bright and Beautiful
Release: Sometime in 2011
Genres: Synthpop, New wave, Emo, Contemporary Christian
Hype: With one glance of the title, I make a mental note to never carry this CD in plain sight while walking down a dark alley. Seriously though, I shamelessly adore Owl City (maybe I'll get into exactly why in a future blog). I've heard nothing but good stuff from Owl City and I don't expect that to change anytime soon.
Expectation: Optimistic

Band: Relient K
Album Title: Unknown
Release: Unknown
Genres: Christian rock, Alternative Rock, Pop punk, Punk rock
Hype: Okay, so there's nothing official from Relient K, but their last album, Forget and Not Slow Down, was released in 2009 so they're due. Forget and Not Slow Down was kind of a detour from their course, as Matty T was dealing with a breakup from his fiance, but it was a good detour. I'm expecting much from my favourite band and I'd be very surprised if they didn't release at least an EP this year.
Expectation: Optimistic

Should be a good a year,


Crazy Love cover:

The Valley cover:

When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes cover:

My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go! cover: