Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Top 15 Favorite Music Videos

If you have followed my work so far, you might have noticed that I myself direct music videos. If you haven't, well, now you know! The reason for that is that music is a very big part of my life and sometimes I feel like the music video doesn't do justice to the song. I'd like to believe that some are the way they are because of executives and producers and not the artist. Sometimes unfortunately that is not the case. Either way, what I like to do is take my absolute favorite songs and write a script that I believe does justice to the song. I have done so 7 times so far, 5 have actually been made and only three are worth watching, the other two were more of a 'first try'.
A friend of mine asked me where I get the inspiration for these and I started to list a couple of music videos that really hit it out of the park for me. On that note I decided to make a list. I will not number this list because I just simply can't. I love all of these equally and I can watch them over and over every single time. You will identify two kinds on the list: The ones that add an extra depth to the lyrics and the ones that are simply unique from a cinematographic point of view. To some of them I'm gonna give a longer introduction, just so you know what to look for - in other words - how to see them with my own eyes.
Hope you will like some of them, perhaps you didn't know them, let me know in the comments! And prepare for a sh*tload of songs with 'love' in their title!

Maroon 5 - She Will Be Loved
Really, most of the Maroon 5 video clips get my attention, especially the ones that take their time to tell an actual story... That having been said, my favorite is the one that featured the beautiful Kelly Preston and tells an unfortunate love story, but one you will root for in the end! Not to mention that the acting destroys me... I start to shiver toward the end and worry for the outcome every single time even though I have seen it hundreds of times! It is touching and it is a beautiful love song!

Laura Pausini - I Need Love
An Italian artist for a change, with an English song... This really speaks for itself, and there are a couple of twists at the end that just melt my heart every time. I always like those music videos where the singer is sort of a narrator who is also somehow involved in the story. I can't really define it, check it out!

James Blunt - Goodbye My Lover
This one... yeah. I just cry every time. It's a good cry though! Still, tears on my pillow... It features Mischa Barton and when you watch it you'll realize that the story told reflects feelings in a way that would work even without the lyrics. That being said, it is already awesome and the lyrics manage to take it to a whole new level!

Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply
Here we come back to the singer as a narrator, but I mostly love this video because of Paris and the warm autumn colors. It feels me up with hope and desire every time I watch it. You might argue that I love it so much because it is nostalgic to me, I was 6 years old when this came out, yet I never grew tired of it. (But MTV got close once, as it aired it at least 18 times one Sunday afternoon...) It also gives you a very clear lesson as to why cellphones are so important!

The All-America Rejects - Move Along
It has a story. It is has depth. It is a moving feature and it has stop-motion elements. It is everything I would want in a video. It introduces the band, it has a back story that the lyrics inspired. This is one of my absolute favorites! It actually directly inspired some of my own work!

The Killers - Bones
First of all, Devon Aoki and Michael Steger. It takes the lyrics - quite literally - and makes fun of it. It is retro and it is funny. Honestly, it is effing funny! Just watch it :D

Kiesza - Hideaway
Dancing. That's one of my weaknesses. I would love to believe that I am a choreographer just because I have certain steps memorized in my head. I am not. But I do love music videos that feature it. I'm gonna be an asshole and tell you that the elevated twerk that Beyoncé does in some of her videos for me does not count as dancing... P!nk's "Try" was actually quite beautiful in my opinion, just to draw a comparison. Still, this one beats them for one specific reason: single shot. It reminds me of musicals, what can I say? It might not deal with the lyrics, but it is something to be amazed at on a cinematographic level!

Cee Lo Green - Cry Baby
This is simply silly :D To tell you the truth I actually love songs that deal with break up but have a happy melody. Why? Because sometimes we have a broken heart but don't want to feel blue anymore! We want to laugh about it! We can't forget about it, but that doesn't mean that we want to cry some more! This video actually points out what assholes guys can be and it makes you smile at the same time. Nicely done! And well, you can't go wrong with period pieces, love the clothes they wear!

Michael Jackson - Remember the time
The King of Pop, of course. You knew it was coming. Or at least thought that it has to! I could list more of his videos, but this song is my absolute favorite so I decided to choose this one. I will include the 10 minute version down here, because Jackson was famous for the short movies he made his music videos into, but click here for the shorter version! (I do not appreciate the snake shot toward the middle, but hey, Eddie Murphy!)

Katy Perry - Part of Me
The next up had to be Perry! If there is anyone today who - in my opinion - rivals Jackson's short movies then it is Katy Perry! Each clip has its own story, which adheres to the lyrics as well. It was hard for me to choose a favorite, but it has to be this one. It is the best rebound song of all freakin' time as well as the most patriotic thing I have seen in the past 10 years! I am not even kidding with you, this song makes me want to be American! I want to be a marine! Moreover, I want to be Katy Perry :D You go girl!

Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
A bit of stop motion. Something I already had the pleasure of working with and can quite honestly say that mine sucks in comparison! But you probably guessed that :D It is also an interesting fact that I do not like Coldplay music videos. Sincerely, I cannot recall one - beside this - that ever caught my attention. I can't really pinpoint what my problem is, especially because I very much enjoy their music. Either way, this one is a home run!

Kylie Minogue - Timebomb
This video has simply got a feeling about it... I don't know how to explain it. It just fills you with energy and you just stare and go 'wow' for four minutes. (That's actually the title of another Minogue song that I love!) It was shot in London, so that is cool, and for me it perfectly portrays the feeling of a fast paced life. A kind of life that might sometimes spiral out of control - but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. And, as she sings, "I wanna, wanna dance like it was the last dance of my life." I love this video.

Ligabue - Tu Sei Lei
Another Italian. Forgive me, I had to include this as this video is my life. I mean, it was shot in Rome - the Italian capital -, and as you will see it tells the story of two artists who come up with a project. The title of the song translates to "You are Her", and you can guess that the lyrics are about that special girl who was meant for him (whoever he is). The video itself plays with the words, as the two artists are actually still looking for 'Her', while in the lyrics it is clear that we already know who it is (at least morally!).
So, this video brought to life all the feelings I had while living in Rome. The colors? The expressions? The laughs? God, I can hear the people laugh while I watch this video. The fountain's water splashing in the background as the pigeon's fly high. The singer, Luciano Ligabue, sings on a boat that crosses the Tevere, right where my house was. It is mesmerizing for me to watch this video. I love this man, I love his songs, I love the videos - but this in particular I feel was made for me!

La Roux - Kiss and Not Tell
I love this woman. I really do. And when I saw this video? Wow! First of all, this is not what I had in mind when I heard the song! Not even a little bit. And you know, when you imagine something beforehand there is always a bit of disappointment that follows, seeing that it is different (that is why book readers hate adaptations... and also why I direct my own versions). But not this video :D This one is a roller coaster of awesomeness. She looks awesome in it, I love the idea, the retro colors, the interpretation of the lyrics - this was probably the intended purpose, but I gave it a different one. It is funny and, well, sexy at the same time. I don't know how she did that, but she did. And it's awesome!

Maroon 5 - Misery
Oh well, what can I say? Yes, they are ultimately one of my favorite bands. I couldn't actually choose between the two and this also perfectly reflects every single feeling that the lyrics provoke in me. Yes, I feel like I cheated, but I had to include it someway! Watch it, really, just watch it, no words necessary for this one!

Hope you enjoyed this list, both videos and songs. More lists coming soon, stay tuned until then!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Homework Assignment: American Literature 4 (part2)

I already posted an essay I had to write for this class, but I also had to do a presentation. I hated this presentation with every fiber of my being... first of all, that wasn't a very good day, or quite frankly, month for me and I just wanted to be done with it. Second, because of my attitude toward it I feel that I fell short of my actual capabilities and I hated that because I really care for the teacher who taught this course. My partner and I tried our best to make it appear well put together, but I feel we failed in that task...

That being said, we did prepare a handout with trivia quiz questions and divided our presentation into four parts: (1) The definition of 20th century drama; (2) Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?; (3) A Streetcar Named Desire and (4) a concise conclusion and summary. And to start off the presentation I made a video out of the Oscar nominated movie versions of these two plays that you can see here:

I wanted to create a separate post for this video because I think you get an idea of both plays without having heard our presentation. Plus, perhaps it will help some of you out there who are forced to watch either one of these movies. Undoubtedly the movies are great - if you like the story they tell, well, that depends on you!

Another reason why I wanted to tell you about it is that I really liked preparing for the presentation. I watched my movie with my sister and it was one of the best afternoons we had in years! We love to discuss movies, and of course we kept in mind the fact that this was an adaptation of a theater play, which, quite frankly, elevated the whole story and the actors' performance to a whole new level! And my partner in crime loves this Tennessee Williams play and you should see her face when she talks about it! Just for that the whole hassle was worth it!

And the last reason why I wanted a separate post for this is to remind myself that I can do more! In our American Literature 2 lecture we actually had a list of dramas, and it also included Long Day's Journey Into Night and Death Of A Salesman. I originally wanted to include all four adaptations into the video, but then gave up because I lacked the proper codec in my edit studio and well, the former mentioned play is only available on YouTube... and although it has a great cast (Jack Lemmon, Peter Gallagher, Kevin Spacey) it is also impossible to download due to its size... Also it is not HD. With my OCD I would've gone insane to cut together a movie from the 80's, two black and white movies that have been released on Blu-Ray and another YouTube footage of a live play...

So, laziness and OCD don't mix. But this post is here to remind me to reach the finish line the next time I set out to do something! Enjoy the video!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's Next On My List? Eight Below

Today, September 12th is Paul Walker's birthday. I have decided, seeing that I do want to get around to talk about all of his movies, that I will do so every year on his birthday. I miss him a lot! I sure wish he would still be out there making great movies! Rest in peace Paul!

An unforseen cold forces two Antarctic explorers, among them Jerry Shepard, to leave their team of sled dogs behind. Based on a true story, the eight dogs chained get free and have to survive until Shephard gets the funding necessary to return for them.
Although most people are sure that the dogs couldn't have survived in the cold for so long, Shephard doesn't give up. On their last expedition he worked for a professor named Davis McClaren, who owed his life to the dogs and with the latest grant he won, he has the necessary funding to visit the base where the dogs where left. Having escaped, the dogs managed to get food and even shelter themselves from the snowstorms. Not all make it, but Shepherd saves them and takes them back home.

I already told you several times that I eternally love these movies that are either situated in the Caribbeans, Hawaii or in Alaska and at the poles. There is just something wondrous about them for me. All places I wish to visit one day and these movies make me even more curious. That said, yes, the movie appealed to me from the beginning. Even if the story wasn't compelling - and it was - I probably would've still liked it. But I couldn't not like it, seeing that these cute little dogies made me cry so hard that I was embarrassed... This story is very beautiful and you get why are dogs really man's best friend.
I don't think you should force your kids or young siblings to sit through it, I was 16 and I still cried like a little baby! The Lion King is enough of a trauma for them, but do get around to it as it focuses not only on the dogs, but also the horrible conditions these explorers have to live in. They help scientists study everything from the weather to the smallest of rocks and people don't really throw big piles of cash at them for that. The dogs are part of the team and without them the team doesn't function. That is the key element in our story as Shephard somehow becomes less as a person without his dogs. With explorers there really is no 'I' in team.
You forget that this is a true story and when you remember at the end it feels you with a warm happy feeling! I loved these dogs, I loved the setting and the drama of it as well as the casting. You watch it and you root for the dogs and root for Shephard to save them and you really start to hate nature for a couple of minutes for that damn storm and then you see the sky clear out and it is wonderful. It's a great tale indeed.

Watch it? Yes, please do. Maybe save it for a rainy day and get under the covers with a hot chocolate and enjoy the adventures of these adorable eight dogs and their dad. As a matter of fact, I'll re-watch it right now!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Jerry Shephard - Paul Walker
Davis McClaren - Bruce Greenwood
Eve McClaren - Wendy Crewson
Charlie Cooper - Jason Biggs

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's Next On My Marvel List? The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I got around to this mess finally... let's just get it over with.

Peter is about to embark on a new chapter in his life. After graduation his guilty conscience forces him to break up with Gwen and he tries to reconcile with an old friend of his - Harry Osborn. While trying to fix things with Gwen, Harry turns to him for help but when Peter turns him away Harry uses the help of a villain. A scientist at Oscorp involved in an accident becomes doted with electrical power and Harry uses him against Peter - against Spider-man. Peter defeats Electro, but in the fight with Harry he is unable to save Gwen and her death forces him to retire the costume. Realizing that he decided to become Spider-man because he wanted to do good and not just to spend time in a costume gives him strength to go back and fight another day.

It wasn't as bad as everyone said it was. There. That's the only good thing I can say about the movie. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but lets go in order.
Electro. I didn't like how he looked. Call me old fashioned but I loved the stupid green spandex with the star on his head (yeah, I know it's not a star, whatever!). What I hated about his appearance was that he somehow managed to get himself a perfect suit that would enhance and/or be compatible with his abilities. Now, seeing that he wasn't a planned experiment, just the outcome of an accident, I don't really get how that happened... And my biggest problem with him was LAZINESS. The writers were simply lazy. What I mean by that is that his character was simply sick. He had a personality disorder and some exploited that and others suffered from the consequences and that was it. He didn't have a true motivation! He could've been a villain with a thick back-story who turns toward Spider-man for a completely different reason, other than the fact that he was Spider-man... which is essentially what happened. It was a wasted opportunity is what I am saying. And well, his accident? The boss sends him to fix something and he doesn't get any help because it is six o'clock and everyone is leaving... Really? This gigantic corporation doesn't have a skeleton crew or an afternoon shift? NOPE. Everyone clocks out at six on the dot, because that is what scientist who are in the middle of work usually do. Lazy. F*cking lazy.
Let's move on to Harry. (I started to giggle after writing down that sentence, just so you know!) I actually liked this actor a lot more than I thought I would. His voice is quite magical. Aside from the acting, that I cannot criticize, I will say that his character sucked. Explain to me - scientifically - what kind of disease starts to work after you hear you have it. He lived, what, 22 years without knowing about a disease that killed his father when he was around 60 or so. So... why are the symptoms already showing? And Spider-man really was a d*ck for not giving him his blood. Actually, you know what? That would've been a great story line! Harry gives himself shots of all kinds of things to ease the pain and when he mixes those with Spidey's blood, he becomes the Goblin. Wouldn't that have made more sense? Wouldn't the fact that he just doses himself with spider venom and then gets into a suit that he once saw a picture of make him look - oh, I don't know - unbelievable? Even ridiculous? Oh wait, IT TOTALLY DID. As cheesy and cliche as the original story line of Peter killing his father was, it still gave a better motivation for his anger! And the suit? He gets into it and immediately knows how to use it? How to fly with it? I get that it wasn't his origin story but both him and the other two villains where exceptionally skilled with the suits and powers they got! I could also start an argument about HOW these two were such great friends when Harry goes unmentioned in the first movie, but I'm not going to. I'm just letting you know: I could!
The third villain was Rhino. I actually liked that he wasn't in the movie as much. Comics and cartoon episodes often start with Spidey finishing a battle with someone and then moving on. I liked that that was what they went for here. What I hated was that they tried to sell him with posters and making us think his character or appearance will have any importance at all. It didn't. Did I like his costume? No. He looked like an even more retarded version of Grimlock. If you don't know who that is, then you missed out on a couple of things in the past thirty years. Either way, the fact that he looked like everything for the exception of a rhino kinda explains why I don't give a rat's ass about him being in the movie.

Also, there was this scientist guy who put on opera music in the background and had a German accent... I swear to god this stereotype is becoming racist against Germans! So let me understand, there are two kinds of scientists:
1) The American ones have personality disorders and/or mental diseases that make them dependent on others. Later on turning into villains whose motivation never has to be questioned.
2) The German ones are simply psychopaths (it goes unsaid that they are probably also Nazis) who listen to fancy music and somehow work for huge American corporations.

... OK.

Gwen. You know it was coming, if you know anything about Spider-man, you know where her story was going. I actually loved every scene she was in, because she made them better. She finally wasn't the cliche these love interests turn into and she wasn't in the first movie either. I was happy they didn't forget that. And her death scene was undoubtedly the most beautiful scene in the whole movie. However, because of the 300 villains and the subplot from the first movie and setting up the next movie and so on it got really lost in the background.
And speaking of the background... I can let all of my little quarrels go because there was one major problem with the movie that I cannot: the soundtrack. My brother and I just kept looking at each other and at a point he just asked me: "This is a cool song, but is it really supposed to be here?" There was one magical song at a very sweet moment in the movie but that was it. Everything else just raised an eyebrow.

I like Garfield as Spider-man but for me ultimately this was: "Awkward: The movie". It was awkward every time Peter talked to Aunt May, it was awkward when he broke up with Gwen, then went on a date with Gwen, then got back together with Gwen, it was awkward when he talked to Harry as well. There were these little moments in the movie that made it bearable and I wish there were more moments like that: little laughs, little nods and Easter eggs all over. If I cut those scenes together that were beyond comparison awesome: You would get about 20 minutes of footage. But those 20 would truly be beyond compare the best!

Last argument would be that people can relate to him because nobody likes him as J. Jonah Jameson spreads the word that he is evil and just a vigilante, an outlaw. How are we supposed to feel any connection with him, if beside one single email nobody ever gives him a hard time for who he is? The whole concept of not being accepted falls flat as everyone clearly loves him from the beginning of the movie to the very end!


That said, you'll live if you don't see it. Disappointment all around for true fans, unfortunately. It is worth to see for the small things, and overall it is not that bad as a lot of people said. The actions scenes for example were quite unique. Nonetheless, could've been a lot better!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Peter Parker - Andrew Garfield
Gwen Stacy - Emma Stone
Electro - Jamie Foxx
Harry Osborn - Dane DeHaan
Aunt May - Sally Field
Rhino - Paul Giamatti

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blogger: RIP Joan Rivers

"I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw my bath toys were a toaster and a radio."

It might sound strange, as a Hungarian girl to mourn an American comedienne who was somewhat 'forgotten' by the time I got around to becoming a YouTube junkie - but she was special to me. My sister and I watched a documentary of her life, made when she turned 75, entitled Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and she just found a way into my heart. Been following her everywhere ever since and I keep laughing hysterically at her facebook posts. Well, I used to at least.

"My husband wanted to be cremated. 
I told him I'd scatter his ashes at 
[the department store] Neiman Marcus - that way, I'd visit him every day."

During the summer she posted pictures of herself in Rome with her grandchildren, and although I cried when I first read she passed, I now smile: I smile because she was a role model for many comediennes today. She showed that the road isn't easy, but it is worth traveling on it. She showed me that a good laugh can be just as good a medicine as one prescribed by a doctor. She was a talented actress, an honest pure heart and true role model. The life of a comedian is never easy, and being a star that doesn't shine so bright anymore is even harder, but she never gave up fighting!

"[Interview with Andrew Scott, June 10, 2010] 
I've never been in the 'in' group. I've never been considered. 
But that's what keeps me punching, if that makes sense. 
I'm still in the 'I'll show you' mentality."

It is too soon, we all know it is too soon and I read 'Joan Rivers dies at age 81' and I just started to cry. Staring at the computer screen and I couldn't stop myself. My sister - also in tears - got up and hugged me. I think part of growing up is seeing more and more people you love die and that's just awful. It's no wonder nobody wants to grow up! I loved your series In Bed With Joan (check out here) and I loved you in Hot In Cleveland as Betty White's sister :')

You will truly be missed - and now one more star shines up in the sky!

Rest in peace Joan Rivers, my diva.

"(Her idea of a perfect childbirth experience) 
Knock me out with the first pain, 
and wake me up when the hairdresser arrives."

Blogger: "The Book Was Better Than The Movie"


I eternally hate people who utter that sentence to me. Why? Because contrary to popular belief it does not - I repeat, it does NOT - make you sound smart. It makes you sound like an a**hole. First of all, it's great that you think that, but guess what? EVERYONE THINKS THAT.

Movies and books are different mediums. If you expect the same excitement from a movie as you would from your own thoughts and fantasy, then you are simply an idiot! The casting in your head will always be better! The scenes you find important will not necessarily coincide with the script writer's! The problem really comes when the movie conveys a different message then the book would - in those cases there is no doubt about the fact that the movie sucks.

The problem also arises from the fact that some people think that one reads the book, makes a script and then it is over. It is not. I have been dealing a lot with adaptations and I have come to find that it is a science on its own. You can decide on whether or not you are willing to accept another person's fantasy coming true and enjoy the common things (most people don't do this...) or dwell on the small - very insignificant - details. One needs to understand that the good adaptations aren't the ones that adhere 100% to the books! No, changes have to be made because it is a different medium, but those changes have to work. Have to work within the one movie and have to work if there are sequels that follow. If this is messed up then you have a bad adaptation. Here I would like to point out that I also hate people who criticize the Harry Potter movies! Not having all the finished books you can hardly blame someone for not including the 765th detail, after all the others! Are they the best? No! Does that make them a bad movie? No! It is one of the longest blockbuster series ever made and it is unique in its world and the stories still compel you! I only watched the movies and I loved the movies! You do not need to read the book to enjoy the movie, and why? Because they are different mediums!!

And if you think that the script writers are the idiots, then look at The Lord Of The Rings! They are longer to fit in everything and were people happy? Some, but still plenty still complained saying that the books were better. Great, then how'bout you go back to your room and read that stupid book instead of ruining my movie experience??!! If you want accurate adaptations, watch the BBC miniseries of Pinguin Classics, trust me, that is the only case where you won't be disappointed. But, knowing some people, you might argue with the casting, so really, nobody is safe from you, are they? And here, as long as we are talking about LOTR, take the Hobbit! Does it make sense that they made 3 movies? No. Does that point have to be stated over and over again? NO. You don't care, don't watch it! Easy-peasy!

When you say this sentence, do you know what you say? "I can read." And if you can't, then you clearly have bigger problems than the bad adaptation of one of your favorites! It is sweet of you to advise others to also read the book, because in some cases the adaptation might be so bad that you don't care for the book at all. It is OK to give advice, to teach and inform people but constantly showing up and letting others know how disappointed you are and pointing out every single defect will never get you in my good graces! I have an opinion too! And my opinion might be that I will read the book, judge for myself, but otherwise understand that I didn't write or direct this so I cannot expect it to come from my head!

Another example I would like to point out is Under The Dome by Stephen King. I have only recently been introduced to this writer, who has quickly got a place in my heart. I have seen several adaptations of his works and it was then that it became apparent to me that people have absolutely no skill in adapting his works. Not even the ones he contributed to... No offense. And then, as an angel from the sky, I started to watch the series of Under The Dome and I fell in love. The second season is a bit darker, which is expected of King, but I really enjoy the mystery bits. While watching the show I was told that "the book was better than the series." ... I almost told them to f*** off, which I didn't want to do because I know they didn't mean it in the sense that I hate, they are a big fan of King, and surely know more about it than me! But for me this is just one of those things that makes me want to punch everything and everyone. Ask me if I had read the book, ask me if I care to know that there is a book, ask me basically anything about it without stating the obvious! If you have ever read King and seen and adaptation than it will go without saying that the book is better! However, do NOT ruin a perfectly good show for me, where the writer is very much involved in the production. There might be some changes but I trust him!

People thought radio would die out when TV came along, did it? No. The audio format is so strong that we even have audio books! They sad the internet will kill TV, did it? No. People run at a chance to watch things on bigger screens, and TV channels appeared online. People also said that ebooks will kill books, did they? No. In some countries (like mine) for every ebook sold they sell 1000 printed books. Just let that sink in for a moment! You don't need to fear that books will disappear, nor should start a war against adaptations, as you are not going to win, and only gain more enemies along the way. If you must criticize a movie then do it because the movie sucks and not because you had something else in your mind! Thank you.

Please, approach subject with care from now on! I am game to read any book people say is worth reading, but don't ruin the fun for someone who enjoys other mediums!

Until the next item on my list!