Tag Archives: Violence

Black Swan

Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, is an interesting exploration of sex and violence set in the exciting world of ballet. Ok, so maybe ballet isn’t exciting to everybody, and I didn’t find it invigorating at first, but it’s definitely original. I don’t remember any ballet movies; I’m fairly certain Aronofsky chose an unexplored occupation for his latest film. The film contains Aronofsky’s distinct voice, which is present in all of his films – natural looking lights and colors, interesting shot composition, and a mixture of objective and subjective perspective. The performances, mainly Natalie Portman’s, are excellent, which is a bit surprising. Usually Portman stinks up the screen (Queen Amidala in the hideous Star Wars prequels, the horrid fake British accent in V for Vendetta), but her portrayal of Nina is really a home run. Continue reading

Authenticity in Post-Apocalyptic Visions: The Road and The Walking Dead

Man: “How would you know you’re the last man alive?”

Eli: “I guess you wouldn’t know it, you’d just be it.”

I’m watching The Road again. I saw it in the theater and was devastated; it’s a very grim movie, bleak in every way. In contrast to last night’s Walking Dead finale, The Road is great. Where Frank Darabont’s post-apocalyptic zombie series falls short, The Road is truly terrifying. Every moment is horrendous, imparting a gamut of emotions instantaneously. After last night’s disappointing Walking Dead episode, watching this film again reminds me of how powerful the post-apocalyptic genre can be.
Continue reading

The Walking Dead episode 6

Episode 6: “TS-19”

The CDC isn’t a fire burning time bomb. Also, just ducking when a building blows up doesn’t really do anything, especially when the bomb is a pseudo-nuclear weapon. Am I willing to suspend my disbelief and go for an entertaining ride? Yes. However, I don’t enjoy visual media blurring the line while demanding empathy, riding melodrama into cheap sentimentality. The season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead did just that. That doesn’t mean there weren’t great moments or that I didn’t enjoy the episode, but I understand why writers were fired.
Continue reading

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

“You got one choice boy: sex or the saw!”

I don’t think its fair comparing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II to the 1974 original – they’re different beast’s altogether. Even though Tobe Hooper directed both, each film has its own feel. The second film is based on the original and even contains many of the same characters, but it approaches similar subject matter quite differently. Hooper’s original is disgusting, but not because of overt visual violence but because the psychological brutality the cannibalistic family inflicts on Sally, the film’s one survivor. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II isn’t nearly as torturous, instead placing gore effects in Tom Savini’s capable hands and relying on bloodshed and completely bizarre, and darkly comedic, situations. For all its grizzly violence, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre II is a comedy – very dark and sadistic comedy.
Continue reading

The Walking Dead episode 5

Episode 5: Wildfire

So I’m going to start my essay about episode 5 with a minor rant. I hope this doesn’t detract my piece, but, as a reader of the Walking Dead comics, I feel it necessary. The show is riffing along a different tangent at this point, taking elements from the comics, shaping them into a different beast altogether. This isn’t a bad thing. For a devoted reader it gives suspense. Nothing is predestined at this point and anything’s possible. Am I one of those people who dislike when liberties are taken with a quality text? Yes. Do I condone and even enjoy when liberties are taken? Yes. It’s not how unfaithful an adaptation is, it’s when the integrity of feeling of the original source disappears, like Robocop 2 or 3 being devoid of Paul Verhoeven’s dark brand of social comedy. A faithful representation isn’t important; it’s capturing what the original manuscript imparts. Any adaptation demonstrating this sentiment seems valid.
Continue reading

The Walking Dead episode 4

Episode 4: “Vatos.”

At least I can say The Walking Dead series celebrates cultural diversity, even if a diverse racial medley embraces American stereotypes. This episode, called Vatos, features a Latino group holing up in a warehouse. When Rick, Glen, T-Dog, and Darryl trek back into Atlanta looking for Merle and a bag of guns, a run-in with the “vatos,” leads to a hostage situation and a stand-off. Instead of the situation culminating in bloodshed, Robert Kirkman’s teleplay reveals another humane survivor group – the “vatos” are maintaining an abandoned nursing home, looking after the elderly and indigent. Their tough exterior gives way, Rick donates some weapons, and a kidnapped Glen is released.  Here Kirkman’s episode demonstrates a positive outlook towards humanity; unfortunately it’s the last moment of stability the episode delivers.
Continue reading

The Walking Dead episode 3

Episode three: “Tell it to the Frogs.”

“You take that stupid hat and go back to On Golden Pond.”

The episode begins on the department store roof from the second episode. From above the camera focuses in on Merle (Michael Rooker), handcuffed to a pipe. Merle has a problem: the keys fell down a drainpipe on the previous episode and the only thing separating him from a horde of zombies is a door barricaded with a lock and chain. Merle relates a story to himself, about punching somebody’s teeth out, the time he served for it; a look of genuine satisfaction on his face. This quickly turns sour, as Merle pleads to Jesus; acknowledging his past behavior but still begging for forgiveness. Merle’s going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief originally discussed in the book On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Following Merle’s bargaining, depression sets in and finally leads to acceptance. This is where Merle’s survival instinct kicks in and he uses his belt, attempting to reach a saw left behind by T-Dog (IronE Singleton).

Unlike the prelude from the first two episodes, this episode doesn’t feature gratuitous sex or violence. That doesn’t negate how frightening the scene is, since Merle’s actions (wonderfully executed by Rooker) are quite honest; I’m sure the best of us would react similarly in the same spot. Seeing another person at their most vulnerable is awful, displaying how Frank Darabont’s rendition of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is a multi-faceted television series. It’s cinematic, explores many features of fear and terror, and investigates social issues. Instead of relying on non-stop action The Walking Dead is primarily a character piece, exploring character traits, morality, and the human experience. Of course an army of the living dead is an excellent catalyst for watching the show in the first place, but I’ve always found the people in zombie stories more fascinating than the gore itself. This week’s episode gives you just that. It’s a character piece, furthering the protagonist and surrounding players. The episode still features a good deal of violence, but it takes a back seat.
Continue reading