I am guessing that THIS will be the Seven Samurai reference (okay, it’s six, but go with it) that will be remembered from this year.
The new trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One debuted during the Olympics coverage yesterday, and it looked pretty amazing. (And it was even more enticing than the initial teaser, which already had fans energized.) Just one point that I feel needs to be made for teachers gearing up for a new year of media literacy: Kurosawa.
The foremost acknowledged influence on Star Wars is Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. Any student of moving images or educators who wish to explore the vital contemporary Star Wars universe is well advised to explore the singular power of director Akira Kurosawa and his influence on George Lucas. For me, there appears to be some major inspiration from the universe of the Japanese cinematic master in the trailer for Rogue One (directed by Gareth Edwards), except in this case the references are to The Seven Samurai. Whatever the inspirations, things appear to be looking good for the realm of Jedi, Force, and Dark Side.
Posted in Chapter 1, Directors | Tagged Akira Kurosawa, Gareth Edwards, George Lucas, Hidden Fortress, Rogue One, Seven Samurai, Star Wars | Leave a Comment »
Squad Goals : ya better nail this one or else ! Exec. Prod. & UPM of Suicide Squad on set.
Quick little follow-up to this week’s theme of summer blockbusters: what will be the latest flavors and trends to super-hero movies when Suicide Squad splashes (or maybe splatters) onto screens this week? Batman v. Superman may have hauled in some cash, but it was quite roundly vilified by critics – check out this selection of quotes from reviews by major critics (and reviewing director Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, A.O. Scott commented “brutality is not merely part of Mr. Snyder’s repertory of effects; it is more like a cause, a principle, an ideology” — a cause to which the director applies himself in movie after movie, apparently). It will be interesting to see how the reception of Suicide Squad plays itself out and impacts the ever-expanding D.C.-verse in moviedom, with Marvel watching from across the street (and next summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy waiting in the wings).
P.S.: A week later, the reviews are in. Not a big surprise, but still… it is rather funny. Joe Morgenstern’s review for The Wall Street Journal is worth quoting: “In a word, “Suicide Squad” is trash. In two words, it’s ugly trash. Maybe no more words should be wasted on a movie that is, after all, only a movie, not a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. Still, movies contribute to the collective awareness. They can color the way we feel about the life around us. This one deserves further attention by virtue of its exceptional cynicism and startling ineptitude. “Suicide Squad” amounts to an all-out attack on the whole idea of entertainment.” Or the title to Michael O’Sullivan’s for The Washington Post: ‘Suicide Squad’ is as bad as you’ve heard.
Posted in Chapter 5 | Tagged A.O. Scott, Batman v. Superman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Suicide Squad, Zack Snyder | 1 Comment »
In the beginning… (Mondo Poster for Jaws)
It’s beach time again! Every summer, mediateacher.net has featured discussions of the ever-evolving — or oh-so-static — world of the summer blockbuster and the ways in which movie studios work lots of angles to prop up their tent poles, for better or worse. We have discussed super-hero fare and Soderbergh talks, studio pitches, summer classics, and evolving tastes with tech and fx, among many other topics.
As students think about how stories are constructed and how studios approach the moviemaking process, for this month we recommend a revealing article that discusses “Why Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass Couldn’t Quit Jason Bourne.” One of the high priests of jump cut acrobatics, director Paul Greengrass, and the versatile actor / writer / producer /etc. Matt Damon have returned to the Bourne series after it had begun so many years ago with Doug Liman at the helm. (Hey! You should click that Doug Liman link — it’s an exceptional interview about Edge of Tomorrow and he also talks about The Bourne Identity. Great reading about his work as a director and working in Hollywood. And Limania.)
Posted in Chapter 1, Directors | Tagged Doug Liman, Edge of Tomorrow, Jason Bourne, Jaws Summer Blockbuster, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass | Leave a Comment »
For teachable moments, the Melania Trump speech will be known as quite a doozy. And this week the work of Stephen Colbert for the Late Show has provided a laundry list of striking television images that have been second to none: from musical numbers to Hunger Games characters to James Bond silhouettes posing as the Trump RNC entrance to a riff on the infamous Melania speech, it has already been a treasure trove for media literacy. Regarding the issue of plagiarism that was raised by the speech in question, a website well known to many teachers for dealing with student cheating, TurnItIn, has offered their own brilliant and thorough take on this specific case: Understanding Plagiarism to Avoid Controversy. (To cite my source: the title of this post is a quote from Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman.)
Posted in Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Media Literacy | Tagged Hungry for Power Games, James Bond, media literacy, Melania Trump, Paul Manafort, Plagiarism, Stephen Colbert, TurnItIn | 1 Comment »