Sunday, April 20, 2014

Films with Magical Realism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Source: Proexport Colombia
On April 17th of 2014 Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the great Nobel Prize winning writer passed away. 

In the internet you could fiund numerous coverage of what was his influence in literature, catchphrases, etc.

The following two articles about his influence in film and the concept most associated with his novels, magical realism. Something that should be analyzed and I will also talk about it in this article.

Here are the links to the articles in indiewire and Library Journal.



Magical realism, as Stephanie Klose mentions in the Library Journal article is when “minor magical or fantastical elements exist without explanation in an otherwise normal world”. This magical realism is deeply associated with the works of Garcia-Marquez. His works was a fresh breath of creativity in Latin American literature, where Costumbrismo was and still is the predominant artistic force.




Costumbrismo with its deep roots in the Hispanic heritage of presenting life as close as possible in art and literature. This was a difficult artistic a force to break out off. Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Isabel Allende, Ernesto Sabato among others had broken of this movement and found in magical realism a way to keep their works rooted in their respective cultures while still reaching to fantasy and magical elements.

The work of modern writers and filmmakers in the region is still rooted in Costumbrismo, although evolved to darker themes.




What fascinates me and everyone should see is the works of filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro(Pan’s labyrinth), Jean-Pierre Jeunet(Amelie), Tim Burton(Edwards Scissorhands, Big Fish), Bryan Fuller(Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Hannibal), David Lynch(Twin Peaks, Mulhollan Drive), David Fincher(The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Hayao Miyasaki(My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and all the rest) , and recent works of Woody Allen(Midnight in Paris, From Rome with Love) that include heavy elements of magical realism.
The medium of film translates great to offer the deconstruction of reality and include fantasy and, magic without explanation. These film makers like to take ordinary people and confront them to extraordinary circumstances, no explanation needed just acceptance of reality as it is.





When critics deconstruct these movies the magical illusion is lost. But the real wonder of magical realism is precisely that if the protagonist doesn't care, we shouldn't care. Disbelieving is losing the magic. 




It is sad that the film adaptations of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, or other Latin American authors of the movement. Have not seen a worthy adaptation on TV or film. There is certainly talent that can express what magical realism is, but they do need to believe in it.

At the end of film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and written by David Magee, the narrator, Pi, says: “I've told you two stories about what happened out on the ocean. Neither explains what caused the sinking of the ship, and no one can prove which story is true and which is not. In both stories, the ship sinks, my family dies, and I suffer.”… So which story do you prefer?

I say, I want to believe in magic.




I hope you enjoy this movies and remember that magic is in the air.


PS: I’m still thinking if Wes Anderson films are magical realism, I would love to hear about everyone's opinions. His films feel magical realism, but is it really a world were magic is real?




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Elegant Icons - beautifully made

Want to share this collection fo beautiful icons to improve every blog out there.

Creative Commons license!

http://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/elegant-icon-font


Monday, March 17, 2014

State of Streaming(2014) - why I love Netflix and Youtube and the rest are just catching up.




YouTube defined how to stream videos on the internet, and also taught young people that they could choose when to watch it. And then Netflix allowed us to watch movies and TV series everywhere in every device available.

YouTube, made popular by music videos, funny videos and even old TV and movies. Netflix was available in almost every phone, console, cable box and TV, faster than everyone else. It introduced binge watching without disc swapping and knew discovery was an important part of the experience. 

YouTube and Netflix are two services that everyone knows. They are not compared together often but have three things in common that make them the best services in their specialty. 

I still have DVDs and Blu-ray at home. I still think that Blu-ray offers the best quality at home. But I am converting them as fast as I can to a virtual locker like the one promised by Ultraviolet and Amazon Instant Video.

Streaming films and TV shows are not perfect. There are lots of problems in the delivery methods, dubious practices in throttling by Comcast and AT&T. Not every movie or TV show is widely is available. And not all services are equal. But to me the convenience and accessibility are above any other problems I have found.

Now why is it that I think Netflix (and YouTube) offers the best service in streaming?
I have used most of the services: Crackle, Mubi, Hulu, Redflix, Amazon instant video and Ultraviolet (Vudu, Sony, Flixster, Mgo, Target, etc.). And Netflix offers the three things that I appreciate the most of all services. Reliability, usability and discovery.

It baffles me that the other services have not catch up to Netflix in these three points. For example Ultraviolet reliable and stable platform. But the only thing easy to find on their service are recent releases. Searching is a pain in the ass and you have to know the correct spelling of actors, movie titles, etc. Hulu offers a good catalogue, but is buggy in many devices. It also has a large catalogue of videos with subtitles, like Netflix, but the quality of the image is not the best, the commercials are annoying (at least they are not present in the Criterion Collection) and you also need to know what you’re looking for. They lack discoverability, something that Netflix and YouTube (at least in the video side of things, the movie options are not that good). Recommendations make sense, even if they are in strange categories, but if you go into this services there is a good chance of finding something interesting. The closest might be Crackle in that regard, you can find interesting series and movies in there, of course most of them are old movies, but that is the same case of Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.

Other thing I find annoying in most of the services is the unavailability of closed captions or subtitles, I have found that 2 of every 3 movies doesn’t provide subtitles in Vudu, in Amazon it seems only TV shows have them, Hulu has them on most of the shows, but they are buggy(1 or 2 seconds delay). For someone that likes to watch movies late at night without disturbing my wife or my newborn baby, subtitles are my best friend. In this regard I have to praise the Roku 3 and PS4 that offer sound directly to a headphone from the controller (talk about simple and cool ideas).

And what about HBO and Showtime and Amazon Prime. Well in my opinion HBO Go and Showtime Anywhere have good quality, although I have found Showtime to be a little buggy, and is not as available as HBOgo. They have great old shows from their own catalogue, and that is the only reason to get them. The selection of movies is not worth it and are only available for a couple of months. Amazon Instant Video offers a good package, you can watch free episodes and movies (with prime subscription), and you can also rent and buy movies. But the user interface is one of the worst I have tried, not only on the web but also on other devices. You also need to know what you are looking for, and there are not suggestions for users. 

Mubi is great for old classics, foreign movies and critically acclaimed films in general, it’s a good price, but I’m not sure about the quality. I like the community it has built around film lovers, and that makes the discovery part of the service feel more human and less automated. Something that happens in YouTube and Netflix. Mubi also offers something like the Criterion Collection in countries in Europe and Latin America (Hulu is region locked to the US).


In general I like that there is competition in the streaming business. It makes everyone try to be better. But it frustrate me that it takes so long for the competition to improve their services. Reliability, a better user experience and discoverability and accessibility, shouldn't be that hard. For example Amazon has made good dealings to have exclusive access to Justified, The Americans and what I think is the best series of 2013, Hannibal. But they're interface is so confusing and slow that I find it unappealing to watch them on their service. Hulu Plus probably has the best quality catalogue, but lacks accessibility to find the criterion collection and filter the movies in most devices (not that is any better on the web).

Let's hope they improve over time. I will keep using them and I will update the article in the future. As any new industry, it will be evolving fast.  I hope. 


Note: While YouTube is one of the most reliable services available, buying movies in their service is not easy. And it lacks the discovery and suggestions factor that is so good in Netflix and YouTube video channel.

Netflix, mubi, youtube, crackle, ultraviolet, Hannibal, The Americans, Justified, amazon, and other names used are trademarks held by their respective owners.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Dissolve! - what-makes-a-bad-movie-enjoyable/

I have been following the Dissolve for quite some time and found they have  interesting articles about pop culture and all that this blog is about.
I want to congratulate them on this piece they did on bad movies, well written and good examples.

Here is the Link:
http://thedissolve.com/features/the-conversation/384-what-makes-a-bad-movie-enjoyable/


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Year of Adventure in IGN by Kosta Andreadis

Want to share this article, I'm going to be following this guy - Kosta Andreadis as he plays some of the oldest and must influential adventure games during 2014.
I started playing some of the Sierra games I didn't finish in my youth so it will be fun sharing my thoughts.
http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/06/a-year-of-adventure-1-kings-quest-i

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Science of Video Games

Two recent articles in how video games can give us the strenght and how they also alter our

http://www.polygon.com/features/2014/1/16/5238330/the-healing-power-of-video-games

and the effect on our subconscious mind and dream state:

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/21/5330636/video-games-effect-on-dreams