Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Moon was an excellent film, it was visually great and the characters were personable.  It had elements of so many films we have seen this whole semester that is was a really good movie to end this semester on.  I haven't seen a lot of Sam Rockwell's work but he was indeed a good actor chosen to play this part.  His character is the most important thing and the fluidity of it is also very important.

The movie starts out what we think are the last remaining weeks of Sam Bell's three year contract on the space station on the moon mining helium three.  Sam has been up there all alone for three years left to entertain himself and maintain the ship.  How terrible, stuck all alone for three years, the way you would miss just being around something alive.  So of course he starts talking to himself and to Gerty the awesome robot that is there to protect him.  I wouldn't need three years to start talking to myself I know that, in that sense Sam is emotionally strong that he remains as sane as he does during the three years.  Sam has a wife and daughter back on Earth that his misses so much and he can only see video messages she leaves him and cannot really talk to her or to anyone because the communication system has been destroyed or so he thinks.  Sam goes out to repair something and sees something that causes him to crash his truck, he wakes up in the infirmary to Gerty telling him he was in an accident but Sam walks in on Gerty having a live conversation with the main station leading him to be suspicious.  He talks Gerty into letting him out and he discovers his own body at the crash site still alive.  He wake up the other Sam Bell and they are weirded out by each other.  Which is expected, the theme of clones or having a duplicate have been in the last few films we have viewed.  Another Earth had a mirror planet, Primer had doubles because of time travel, and now in this film there are clones.  Turns out that there is a secret room that holds hundreds of Sam Bells just waiting to be revived for their three year contract.  Really it seems like a smart plan to have clones to the job but the part that is funny is that Gerty seems more than capable of doing all the tasks Sam could do.  The emotional level that Sam holds is the whole movie however.  This movie has been impacted by Silent Running and Gravity and Space Odyssey visually and in the plot and character shaping.  Sam reflects Freeman from Silent Running very heavily by talking to himself and making friends out of his surroundings.  Gerty is the most human out of all the characters, the computer shows a personality and that is one of the aspects that is not addressed completely in this film.  Gerty states that he is there to protect Sam but Gerty also shows that he is not stupid and he thinks for himself sometimes.

The future of science fiction is always interesting but one of the best things to think about while viewing new films or television shows is the impact that the past and current events play into the whole that is created.  We are products of our environments and that can be shown through many different methods.   


Primer Primer Primer, once I started this movie I knew there were going to be moments where I sighed in a way that meant "oh god, really?".  The main characters wear the same outfit the whole movie and I know that is a stupid thing to point out but now I will forever think of an engineer only being able to wear a white button up shirt with a tie and some lame pants.  Their real lives are so boring and routine that they "accidentally" come create a time machine.

They make this time machine that is able to take them back just about a day so they can do easy money making tricks with this ability and that is what they do.  What is funny about this movie is that the whole focus is just on the men, the women that are married to these men are never really given a moment to develop a character and the men rarely talk about the women except for the plan to take the bullets out of the shot gun.  They grow so confident that they end up killing versions of themselves.  But what does the future hold for them? What could they possibly do?  How can they live "normal" lives?  They decide to split and I think it is for the best.  They may be friends and have each other's trust but what is most important to their lives are very different. 

Ultimately that is what I think breaks them up the most. The fact that they want different things  in life and that continuing the time travel just means more and more confusion and problems.  This movie was good in the sense that is seems probable of what could happen if this machine was created in current times.  The way the character talked way so confusing that I stated just tuning it out and relying on images and body language to see what was trying to be communicated.  The speech adds to the reality of the situation and the way friends would talk to each other.  Overall not my favorite movie but it deserves some respect.

Another Earth

Another Earth...wow...something I have never seen before but so beautifully done, the shots and pauses really the dialogue of this movie.  Not to mention written and starring the same beautiful woman, but for me that also adds to how interesting and good this movie is. 

Another Earth is about a young high school graduate that has her whole bright white blonde beautiful model life ahead of her because she is super smart.  Her plans to college are set and the future will happen in a matter of months.  On the night of celebration for that moment when you are supposed to be turning more into an adult she makes a bad choice that we all have probably been guilty of before, she drives a bit drunk.  Listening to her radio station and hearing about the visibility of another planet she rolls the window down and stares to the stars.   Driving with no attention paid she flies through an intersection and smashes into a car carrying a family, she comes to and gets out of her car to see the terrible scene that remains.  Bam! 4 years later she is leaving jail or prison or whatever they were keeping her in she is getting out.  At this point I cannot even imagine what her mental state is, I know that I would be so devastated and depressed.  She most definitely is of course and tries to get back on her feet as best she can.  She gets a job as a janitor at a high school and of course it sucks but what is she is going to do!?  Well this is what she is going to do, she is going to track down the man that survived the car crash and invade his life.  She sees that he was once a great composer professor and had a family and la la so sad now because all he does now is invite hookers over and drink whiskey.  I don't understand why that part of it is never really addressed.  This movie largely for me was about depression and how some people try to over come it.  She tries to repay her debts in a way, by cleaning his house and trying to make him happy.  She goes too far though, she creates this bond with him and they have sexual relations.  At this point I felt she had broken my trust as a strong female character, I was so mad she had sex with him because it was the worst thing she could have done and she should have known that.  But also that adds to why the movie stands out so much.  What I have left out about the story is that there is a contest that if you win you get to visit Earth Two, a supposed mirror planet with people that are us living on it.  Rhonda, the main character, sends her essay about how she is a felon and has nothing to lose but is also super smart so she is perfect.  She wins but then reveals to John the man who's family she killed that she is leaving and he is so sad because they had sex and she cleans his house and she doesn't even take his money and now he loves her.  Mmm when I put it that way it is not so romantic or dramatic as it is in the film, but that is essentially what happens.  She can't hold it in any longer and lets him know she killed the only people he loved in his life and now she is the thing he is trying to love.  He is mad and crazy and she then realizes that there is a wrinkle, there was a shift of time and the planets sync-ness was messed up so his wife and kids could be on the other planet!  She gives him her winning ticket to Earth 2 to go find his family.  Months later she is walking home and turns to the back door and sees who...herself!  The END!

The fact that she saw her self meant that John made it and sent herself back to Earth 1 to tell her what the hell happened.  The amount of sci-fi aspects in this movie were very small, but I indeed really enjoyed this movie.  It reminded me of what it might have been like if this were to happen in say 1983, when maybe it would have been harder to cover up as to today.  I really enjoyed the main female character being a skinny very quiet woman, the amount of pauses and awkward-ness really added to the feel of the film.  I feel a movie is successful when it makes me believe in the characters and I felt like I knew these characters. 

The Existence of Women in Sci-Fi

We watched a TED talks episode about the need for more strong female roles in our films and cartoons for children in order to help them respect each other and see different perspectives other than the normative white male.  I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that we need more strong women in films and cartoons, but not only in that but in advertisements also.  Watching television is a great way to get an example of the media objectifying women or categorizing them into female tropes like cleaning adds aimed for women.  While all of those terribly acted stupid things are being shown they are also projecting images onto men and boys about how they are supposed to act and think.  If anything is going to change about how we treat and view one another based on sex then we need to start living that way, believing that it is possible if you just do it and it will spread on.  I know I have said this a million times but it still holds truth, and that's the idea that if you can't see it, then you can't be it.  If I can't see a role model for myself as a young girl or boy how am I supposed to aspire to be strong and independent.  Thankfully there are some new movies that are trying to meet a more equal treatment of the different genders and sexuality.  I'd like to see more LGBTQ movies that had better budgets and better story lines that are not predator/prey style or teachers and students types (even though I do actually know someone personally that this holds truth for I suppose...), but the point is that there are other things that women are good at than merely being sexy or motherly for men.  And the same about the queer films, there are more than just what we have seen being played over and over or just plain discriminating.
By looking into the past we can also see films that may not pass any bechdal tests anytime soon, like Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy where Jane Fonda travels around the universe having sex with everybody in sight, who are mostly men of some sort.  Don't get me wrong this movie is hilarious in how ridiculously it's acted and scripted so terribly for men.  Yes it had a "strong" female role but she was strong by means of having sex with everything...what does that even mean exactly?  Sex workers today may look at this movie a little bit different if it was redone in today's standards...in which case would be really pretty cool (I hope somebody gets that funded and Jane Fonda is somehow in it).  There is also the classic The Stepford Wives, where the men in this club decide to make replicas of their wives only they can program their wives to act anyway they want.  Imagine that, you get to control the person you are married to, so basically you make them do all of the things you don't want to do yourself, including having sex with you.  This movie speaks for itself about how it treats women of the time period and their roles as women for men and not women just for the sake of women.  In Liquid Sky the main character is this androgynous person with extreme make up, this person feeds off of other people in the film.  This idea is repeated in numerous films with slight twists, like in Teknolust the character feeds off of having sexual relations with different men.  Barbarella has sex with everyone around the galaxy, the same with Teknolust, it seems like a female character's best weapon is her sex.

Even in some of the futuristic styled films the female character's use of her sexuality to obtain something needed is found, in Tank Girl she basically has every male character at some point seduced.  "Using what your mother gave you" is what girls are told growing up, or at least I remember hearing it if not directed at me then at my sister or other girl peers.  So you can imagine the dismay when you do grow up and find out that maybe you didn't get a lot from your "mother" in the way the saying means, or that the saying itself is just kind of funny because it can be true but at what cost?  Sex workers are interesting people because some of them truly love it and some are stuck in it and miserable.  But to put that idea that the use of sex can get you almost anything you want in every little girls head may be damaging to her idea of independence and confidence.  Although when you think the world has failed us as female in every way they do produce respectable pieces of work, such a piece in my opinion is "Spirited Away".
The film features a young girl lead who shows bravery and courage in a crazy adventure to save her parents from remaining in their pig form.  The film's main characters are not over overwhelmingly male and show a good diversity of characters.  In Alien the gender roles of the characters are not highly influenced by what society imposes, they are relatively equal among each other and work together.  I have not seen Contact but after watching the trailer I want to, I like Jodie Foster and here she plays a smart adventurous role to contact the aliens sending them mathematical signals. The idea of life in the universe trying to contact Earth is a major theme in sci-fi that plays with our knowledge of Earth's existence in the universe and the possibilities of other life out there, that is what makes movies about another species so appealing and successful when done right.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Entity Being

The year is 1992 in northern Idaho, for the past hundreds of years a secluded Native American family has been making illegal alcohol in the mountains and selling it to people around the northern United States area and Canada.  The oldest daughter, Koen, has been learning how to make the alcohol her whole life along side her sister, KaNee.  They are learning from their grandmother who is the sole caretaker for them.  The rest of their family have fallen victim to accidents that occurred while making the illegal alcohol and in other various accidents. It is up to the grandmother Nari, to teach the family trade to the only remaining off-spring and to earn money to support them. Nari's whole life has been surrounded by the creation of this alcohol that goes by the name Trace-Maker, she travels to check points placed throughout the forests and valleys to communicate with other people. Their family is very isolated and relies on each other heavily to survive, why their family is so isolated is not known to the two girls. Nari has been hiding them in the mountains away from society in hopes that they will continue the family tradition, but also to keep them safe from the rest of the world because they are descendents of an ancient tribe that is endangered of being erased by the ever growing technological world. The existence of advancements in technology are not what threatens the family, Nari has certain knowledge about Trace-Maker and if it falls into the wrong hands it could mean big problems for other families and communities like theirs.
Koen is a 15 year old Native American girl from northern Idaho, she is about 5' 3” and 110 lbs with a slender build, she has thick dark hair cut into blunt bangs above her eyes and feathers off around her shoulders in no controlled way. She has a favorite jean jacket she wears that has different patches all over it like a billboard of her personality. Her sister's name is KaNee, she is 13 years old and about 5'6” and 130 lbs, she is taller and stronger than her older sister, her hair is formed into different sized dreadlocks and is shaved short in the back. The two have spent a lot of time in the forests and mountains of the area so are very active. Their grandmother Nari is in her early seventies, is about 5 feet tall and 100 lbs, she is relatively small but very strong physically. Her hair is mostly all gray and white tied back into three braids that go down her back. The house they live in is only accessible by foot or horse back, the house itself is interesting because it has many hidden passages throughout it that lead to other rooms or are simply short cuts. The house was created to be confusing for anybody who may break in or stumble upon it would not be able to get to every space easily. The two girls do not even know about all of the hidden spaces in and around their property.
While all of their other family have died in various different accidents, Koen and KaNee were lucky enough to play different roles in the creation of Trace-Maker that were not as dangerous. Now that they are the only ones in their family left they are forced to be involved in the whole process. There are only three able bodies now, not counting their three horses and two goats that serve as transportation and a means of milk and cheese. They are not able to make as big of a batch of Trace-Maker as in the past with the help of more people so they are forced to create in smaller batches. Trace-Maker is illegal because it puts people in a trance like state that can create lucid dreams, but since it is unregulated it can be dangerous if not made correctly and some people never recover from the trance. The people that never recover from the trance are thought to be forever trapped in their first lucid dream environment and are unable to obtain control of it, whatever idea or thing that they created now evolves into their surroundings. Their physical body remains in a sleeping state but the hair all over their body starts to grow continuously until they die, so their eye lashes for example may be four feet long or longer depending on how long they are alive in the sleep state. Not many people live long in the sleep state because it is expensive to take care of them and no one has ever recovered from it so it is seemed to be non-reversible. The main market of people that buy Trace-Maker are very rich people because it is rare and hard to find. Trace-Maker brewers drop off their batches at check points where another person picks it up to travel to another check point where another person will pick it up and eventually sell, the partners never see each other in order to conceal it's secrecy, the money is exchanged in the same way.
The story begins three years after the most recent death of the family; the girl's aunt Lata died in a kidnapping indecent where she was forced to drink faulty Trace-Maker that forced her into the sleep trance forever and her body was never found. The three left have spent the last three years very quietly in attempts to avoid harassment from the same people who kidnapped Lata. Nari believes in her heart that Lata is not dead but lost in her dream state and has an idea of how to communicate with her. There are a lot of things Nari has not told Koen and KaNee but with the current events she feels this may be their only hope of keeping their culture alive. Nari has a secret room that is accessible through a passage way inside of her bathroom mirror only able to open at 3:05pm of each day. Inside the hidden room are various objects and personal things, one of which is a special Trace-Maker recipe book. Inside the book there is a recipe called Maker-Trace, if one drinks enough Maker-Trace it is possible to see things the naked-sober eye cannot, one of those things are the people who are trapped in their sleep states. The people in their sleep state that are trapped in their lucid environment take on whatever form they were in at the moment that they could not come back into the sober-world. The major draw back of Maker-Trace is that the amount needed is large and at which point whomever has consumed that amount will also be drunk. Nari has to make a decision about what to do now that she presumed to be the only living being with this knowledge and recipe of Maker-Trace; does she attempt to find Lata alone, although the process needed to make the drink is very dangerous to do alone, or does she involve her grandchildren even though it is highly dangerous and meant to remain a secret for the fear that if the recipe were to fall into the wrong hands all hell would break lose with it's power.
Nari decides that she is getting too old and weak to do this alone, she needs Koen and KaNee to help her but what she does not expect is that the girls will take over the task of controlling the effects Maker-Trace. Nari spends time teaching them how to make it and drink it safely, it is all in moderation. Koen and KaNee learn at an early age what it is like to be highly intoxicated by consuming Maker-Trace, like everyone's first drunk experience mistakes are made. Over time and many, many days of drinking the alcohol Koen and KaNee learn how to drink enough that both of them simultaneously will be able to be in the right state to search for their aunt Lata. They travel throughout the area guided by sober Nari as their sober-world protector searching for clues and directions of where Lata may be or what really happened to her.

This idea for a science fiction film is meant to focus on the idea of culture and information being passed on by generations and that generations can exist in different states of mind and body that can be controlled by a substance but it has yet to be controlled ideally. One action produces another and finding the sweet spot that will create a desired outcome is the trick, this idea strives to find the sweet spot of communication.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I chose that picture just because it's funny not because I thought the movie was dull, in fact the opposite, I really enjoyed the movie and how it treated the characters.  I had seen the first movie in theaters when it came out and I remember being so annoyed.  (I did not read the books however so keep that in mind) I was annoyed because of how they had to form the relationship between Peeta and Katniss as lovers and not just really good friends, but I thought it was new and exciting that Katniss was acting to love Peeta for their own safety, she cares about him even if it isn't completely about sex and dating like how it seems to be in every other movie. 

Walking into the new movie, Catching Fire, I watched the opening scenes praying to the movie gods I would not be forced to watch Katniss have sex with any of her man crushes, and I was so relieved that it did not happen in this film, not every story needs to have sex in it.  This movie in my opinion was way better than the first one in many ways, for one, Katniss' character was more confident, stronger, and clever.  She is independent and above all cares the most about the people around her than herself.  She doesn't need a man or anyone for that matter to come and save her from all her problems, if anything she saves the men around her more often.  The movie satisfies the viewer in the sense that myself personally I was constantly in a state of tension, anxiously hoping somehow Katniss could just kill Snow and save everyone from the terrible fate that the capitalism is breeding.  Its a complete satire on our capitalist society and how the 1% control the fate of the majority, they play games with their lives because to the 1% everyone else's lives don't matter and there is nothing anyone can do about it because of all the power the 1% has.  Its so frustrating when you put it into perspective of what is happening here in our society and how clearly the current events and theory's impact films and media. In the last paragraph of the article "Striking Where Myth Meets Moment", they pretty much sum up how I felt about Katniss;
 "One of the things that “The Hunger Games,” on the page and on the screen, suggests is that the myth is changing. Boys (and men) are still boys, of course, including in movies, but the very existence of Katniss — who fights her own battles, and kisses and leaves the boys, only sometimes to save them — suggests cultural consumers are ready for change, even if most cultural producers remain foolishly stuck in the past." 
It gives us hope that if enough people think or act in a certain way it will change society around us.  That in time things will change no matter what, things will never stay constant.  When Katniss starts seeing rebellion actions taken by other people in different districts she is forced to realize that change cannot be stopped and she is too deep to be unrelated with the uprising.  This time the games are special because it has been 75 years since the first games was held and its a quarter quelth, which of course Snow manipulated to see people who have won suffer yet again.  No victor is safe!  Katniss of course is chosen and Peeta volunteers.  The make alliances with some of the other victors to keep Katniss alive, which is revealed later.  So there were some great action shots and special effects while they were trying to stay alive in the fighting dome and sadly characters had to die off.  But in a turn of events Jannis smacks Katniss on the head and stabs her in the arm so the other victors trying to kill them chase after Jannis and leave Katniss.  Eventually Katniss gets a stroke of genius and ties the conductor line to an arrow and shoots it into the dome ceiling right at the exact moment turning the whole system off!!!  At this moment she is blown back by the blast and watches the roof cave in, she is certain that she is going to die, that there is no future left for her.  The ship comes and picks her up and she wakes up next to Beetee on the floor of the ship.  She gets up and discovers she is okay, Peeta and Jannis are caught, Finnik, Haymitch, and Plutrach are on the ship and discussing plans.  The truth comes out, Katniss is the symbol of the revolution!  And all of the people on board are apart of it, this whole time they were apart of it.  She finds out Gail is there too and he tells her about Primrose and her mother and that there is no district 12 anymore.  The End!

As described in the articles the character of Katniss is unlike characters we are used to seeing.  Her existence threatens the norm and pushes boundaries of gender and what is portrayed in mainstream media about gender norms.  Also some people think they have to view this movie in a love story way, that in the end it's all about what boy Katniss will chose to have sex with (I mean have a relationship....).  This is all too common when dealing with a female lead and male characters surrounding her, it always has to be about what man she is going to end up with...well I believe Katniss really doesn't want to think about what these boys think of her and basically wants to survive and save her family, the boys do not come first.  (So this movie should pass the feminist movie test)


Trekkies is a documentary about the various lives of Star Trek fans and how the series has extremely impacted their lives.  This film was so much more enjoyable than Fanboys, this was the truth about the culture that is Trekkies or Trekkers. 

The documentary showed some really interesting people and ways that they express their love of Star Trek.  Among my favorite was the woman in the picture above, she became "famous" by wearing her Star Trek costume while sitting as a juror and she likes to go by the Commander.  She eat, sleeps, and breathes Star Trek and you can tell just by looking at her because she will always have something Star Trek themed on.  Maybe its a superstition type of thing but many of the people in the documentary compared wearing their Star Trek themed costumes and attire to other people wearing football jerseys or any sports logo/brand/mascot.  This aspect totally changed the way I look at fanatics.  They are simply representing something they feel strongly about and nobody should be judged for that as long as it's all in fun and no body is being negatively effected.  These fanatics take Star Trek and make it their lives, Gabriel Koerner was the boy who made his own animations of Star Trek fandom ships.  This boy was by far one of the most clever fans, he knew exactly what he liked and was proud of it.  Some people may think that fanatics are nerds, socially awkward, and never leave their homes but the people in the film were all very different and comfortable in their own skin.  The Denis Bourguignon Family had turned their Dentist office into a Star Trek themed experience and all of the staff wore Star Trek themed uniforms.  I thought that was a hilarious and great idea for a business to put another perspective on going to the dentist.

I feel that it is not wrong to take ideas and themes from a film or series or any creative writing story etc. and turn the characters into something the viewer wants to see.  For example the group of women that propose a homosexual relationship among two of the Star Trek main captains.  I love this idea because it's something that I do in my head while watching films, is to create a spin-off story that I would like to see rather than just what is visible on screen.  It adds depth to the story and makes it more relate able to the viewer personally.  If you don't want people to steal your characters then you shouldn't put them out for the public to see.