Thursday, May 28, 2015

Deadline approaches for May's video challenge.

The deadline for this month's video challenge rapidly approaches. I made a handy dandy button for the sidebar for easy access to the instructions.

This month:

May (Deadline: May 31, 2015)
Character: scientist
Location: park
Prop: train

I look forward to the viewing the entries!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Increased role of alcohol in films.

Watching an old movie with characters often lighting up a cigarette, I told my husband, "I forgot how smoking wasn't an issue back then." So a recent on-line Deseret News article piqued my interest: "With smoking declining on screen, experts turn attention to alcohol."

I didn't realize the role of alcohol in films had increased!

Used with permission from Deseret News.

The article stated, "Even as smoking rates and depictions in entertainment have fallen, another problem has risen to take tobacco's place on the silver screen: Alcohol."

Movies often demonstrate that alcohol is an acceptable way to deal with problems or emotions. Sadness, anger, bitterness, loneliness, and even happiness (time to celebrate!), all seem to warrant alcoholic beverages.

Young people are especially vulnerable to how alcohol is depicted in film "because the brain's centers for impulse and behavior control aren't fully developed until around age 25." So when films give an unrealistic view of alcohol consumption, young minds aren't equipped to sort out reality. They see the fun, glamor, escaping problems, and not the negative impact of death, abuse, accidents, rape.

Hollywood voluntarily cut back on smoking in films and television after the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement restricted manufacturers and advertisers from targeting youth. And since that time, tobacco use among teens has been greatly reduced. Hollywood receives some credit for that.

Here's to hoping Hollywood will soon voluntarily diminish the role of alcohol in films.

(The quotes and information are from "With smoking declining on screen, experts turn attention to alcohol" by Chandra Johnson, May 19, 2015,  Click here for the complete article. )

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Take 24: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

A new age begins.

The computer generated images in the opening scene were so hokey I literally thought it was depicting a video game and that any moment the camera would zoom out to reveal someone playing an Avengers game on their big screen TV. But no such reveal came and I realized it was meant to be the actual movie.

An action flick, for sure, held together with snarky quips and humor. That's about all I took from it. Confusing at times, but maybe I missed vital information early on while distracted with the CGI.

As the action went on and on and on, and yes, on… I became bored. Is it over yet? No. Still more fighting and explosions. And, thankfully, some more humor.

James Spader does the voice of Ultron. Amazing how the animation of Ultron mimicked Spader's mannerisms and expressions. Superb. I'd watch the movie again just for that. And to maybe figure out the confusing plot points.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers (2012) and had high hopes for Age of Ultron, but to quote my husband, "Meh."

Still, I'll watch the next sequel. There's always hope.

Marvel Entertainment Trailer: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Notes on content:

  • No sex or nudity. 
  • Mild profanity.
  • Violence and explosions galore.

Friday, May 8, 2015

What We Can Learn From Movies

Friday - Comic Relief

From Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes  (Full reference citation below.)

The title's long, but it's a quick and fun read.

Here are few favorites from the chapter "Things You Would Never Know without the Movies"

  • A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
  • All computer disks will work in all computers, regardless of software.
  • An electric fence powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight-year-old child.
  • Creepy music coming from a cemetery should always be investigated more closely.
  • If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.
  • It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts--your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
  • Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.
  • Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon, and waffles for their family every morning even though their husband and children never have time to eat it.
  • One man shooting at twenty men has a better chance of killing them than twenty men firing at one man.
  • When confronted by an evil international terrorist, sarcasm and wisecracks are your best weapons.
  • You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
And of course...
  • If you find yourself caught up in a situation that could be cleared up quickly with a simple explanation, for goodness sakes keep your mouth shut.

Ebert, Roger (2013-07-30). Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, ... Outdated Archetypes (Backlist eBook Program) (Kindle Locations 2509-2510). Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Reel Focus Video Challenge

Reel Focus kicks off a monthly video challenge. Make a short video using the prompts posted on here, and submit it by the end of the month.

Short on time? Choose a prompt for a future month and shoot for that!

(These are random, pulled out of a box.)

May (Deadline: May 31, 2015)
Character: scientist
Location: park
Prop: train

June (Deadline: June 30, 2015)
A plot or subject of your choosing, but must end with the dialogue: "And that's how it happened."

July Deadline: (July 31, 2015)
Character: bus driver
Location: stairwell
Prop: camera

  • Include the prompts for the month you are submitting. When given a prompt for character, location, and prop, they do not need to appear together or throughout the entire video, but must be included at some point. 
  • Submissions must be for general audience. Avoid vulgar language or gestures. No nudity, sex, or extreme violence.
  • You retain the rights to your video, but by submitting it to Reel Focus Video Challenge you give permission to share the video on this blog.
  • Videos must be at least 1 minute but no longer than 3.
  • Avoid use of copyrighted songs or images. Stock footage is okay as long as you have permission or the right to use it (and please include that information in the credits).
  • Upload your video to youtube, and keep it unlisted until after it posts on this blog.

Have fun! Be creative!

To submit a video:
  • Send a link to your video in an email to
    • subject line : (month) Video Challenge
  • please include (this will be shared when the video posts to this blog)
    • first name
    • age
    • general area where you live (state or region, for instance)
    • a tagline for the video (or a brief synopsis)

Videos will be posted a few days after the submission deadline, allowing me time to view them prior to posting. (If a video does not follow the guidelines, it will not be posted.)

Did I overlook anything? Post questions in the comments section.