Halloween Week Day 2 – Part 2: “Psycho” (1960) vs. “Psycho” (1998)

The original¬†Psycho¬†movie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1960, is one of the greatest movies ever made; it is a classic. Its 1998 remake, not so much. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the remake doesn’t stand a chance against its predecessor, and even if you don’t take the original one in consideration,¬†98’s¬†Psycho¬†isn’t that good.

Psycho (1960)

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This movie is a masterpiece.¬†Suspenseful, beautifully shot and offering us one of the most iconic movie villains ever created,¬†Psycho¬†is definitely an important movie, not only for Hitchcock’s career, but for the entire History of cinema. We are first introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), thinking we are meeting our main character, only to later be¬†outplayed by the film itself; something not many movies succeed to do. For most of its running time, the movie seems to be going in a certain direction, but in the end, we realize how foolish we were not to concentrate on the other part of the story.¬†I also have to mention¬†the use of the black and white colouring, which is amazing. It allows the movie’s Film Noir vibes to stand out distinctively. As for the acting, it is great, especially Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, who really does make us feel uncomfortable, even though we also kinda pity him. He brings a certain boyish charm to an otherwise uncanny character.

Psycho (1960): A

Psycho (1998)

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Not only are most of the actors’ performances in the remake superbly¬†inferior, the characters also have a lot less depth and complexity. The remake doesn’t bring anything new to the story; most of¬†it remains unchanged, and the few changes that are made are definitely not in the favour of the film. Most of the movie is a poorly executed shot by shot, line by line remake. The original movie makes great use of suspense and the character of Norman Bates is really intriguing. The remake though, lets us know way too early how¬†deranged Norman really is, taking away a lot of the suspense of the story. Plus, Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of Norman Bates is incredibly off and we absolutely cannot take this character as seriously as we should in this version. It is almost as if the movie either doesn’t even try to be good, or tries a bit too much and fails impressively.

Psycho (1998): D

 

In conclusion, should you watch the remake? Not really. It’s not even a “so bad, it’s good” kind of movie, it’s just plain bad. You should definitely check out the original one thought, I promise you will not regret it.

Is TV replacing movies?

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So yesterday, I finally finished watching¬†Breaking Bad¬†(2008-2013) (I know, I’m very late) and man that tv show was great. Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Walter White was simply amazing and the show was brilliantly written. But anyway, I did not come here to write a review of the show.

Because the show was so great, it made me think a lot. Not necessarily about what’s good and bad, and were Walter White’s actions justified or not, but whether television is replacing movies or not. And I think that, slowly, it might be. So many tv shows now are filmed like movies. What I mean here is that the creators, writers, directors… everybody involved seems to work harder than before. They want their tv shows to look beautiful, they want talented actors, they want complicated characters and great writing. There always were good tv shows, but now, the game is becoming stronger.

People love to get to know the characters, and I think this is something tv can offer than cinema can’t. Of course, you get to know the characters of a movie when you watch it, but maybe not as much as a character on a tv series that’s been running for three years.¬†Of course, if a movie has many sequels, like the¬†Harry Potter¬†movie series, you get to know the characters, the stories and their world a lot better than in a single movie. And movies with many sequels or with shared universes, such as¬†The Hunger Games, the¬†Twilight¬†series, and the Marvel cinematic universe (just to name a few), often become highly popular, whether you like them or not. Because just like in a tv show, you get to understand a lot more things, the story can (usually) be more intricate and the characters can have more complicated developments.

Anyway, I just think tv shows like Breaking Bad might one day replace movies, just because they are so good! Of course, not every episode is going to be revolutionary great, but in general, tv is becoming more and more of a threat to the film industry.

Postmodernism

Ever since I’ve learned what postmodernism in movies was, I’ve been a big fan of it. Many of my favourite films are postmodern or have postmodern elements in them. I think it is a very entertaining and interesting movement. Postmodern movies are so much fun to watch and analyze, I think I’m in love with them. And I thought I could write a little thing about the three main characteristics of postmodernism.

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Homage or pastiche: Postmodern movies will mix many different genres and make them fit together in a way you never expected. They can also “quote” or reference older works of arts, like paintings, books and other movies. It is always fun to find the similarities between the postmodern movie and the works it is quoting. An example that comes to mind right now is¬†The Cabin in the Woods¬†(2012). It has so many references to classic horror movies; every time I watch it, I find a new one!

Meta-reference: So basically, this is when a movie is self-referential or lets you know that it knows it is only a movie. The editing of the movie will be noticeable, the characters might break the fourth wall by talking directly to the camera or by using narration, the colours might look unnatural at times… Plus, postmodern movies often unfold in a non-chronological order. The movie wants to show you that it was constructed, assembled like a puzzle.

Contradictions: A postmodern movie might use loads of contradictions and paradoxes in the techniques they use to present the movie, or in the characters themselves. The ideas and morals introduced to us might change throughout the movie, or characters that really contradict each other might always been shown together. The concept of time and space practically doesn’t exist, which can lead to confusion at times, which contradicts our understanding of cinema itself.

A few suggestions

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Fight Club (1999)

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Birdman (2014)

Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino’s movies are great examples of postmodernism in films.

I love stop motion animation

If you know me at all, you know I looooove stop motion animation. Especially clay animation. I love the amount of effort that’s put in the process and the end results are always stunning. As a kid, my favourite movie was¬†The Nightmare Before Christmas¬†(1993); I’ve always been impressed by the way it looks. I was¬†blown away by the technique. One of my biggest dreams is to work on one of these movies one day. In the last few years, I fell in love with the stop motion animation studio Laika (you can check out their website:¬†www.laika.com). They are the people behind¬†Coraline¬†(2009),¬†ParaNorman¬†(2012),¬†The¬†Boxtrolls¬†(2014) and the upcoming¬†Kubo and the Two Strings¬†(2016), which I am very excited to see. They always bring such amazing characters to life, and fantastic stories too. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a company that much before.

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But stop motion/clay animation is not only used to make animated movies; some moviemakers use it to create their special effects, and it’s amazing. A few examples are the original¬†The Evil Dead trilogy¬†(1981-1992),¬†Beetlejuice¬†(1988),¬†Alice (1988) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou¬†(2004). Some people think it’s too campy or just plain bad special effects, but I think it’s great! It adds a lot to these movies, creating their own universes set between dream and reality. I love when moviemakers are not afraid to mix different genres and styles in a movie because sometime, you get very interesting results.

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All in all, I’m a stop motion fan and I wish you can at least appreciate the amount of work and effort that is put in this type of animation, whether you like it or not. And I’m excited for¬†Kubo and the Two Strings, it comes out a few days after my birthday, so I guess I’ll¬†be able to convince someone to come with me as a birthday present.

I have never seen Star Wars

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Don’t I suck and don’t I know it. Ok, the title is kind of a lie; I have seen scenes here and there, but never an entire¬†Star Wars¬†movie. I remember when I was 4 or 5, a friend of mines was watching one of the movies, I honestly don’t know¬†which one (it might have been¬†The Phantom Menace?). He turned it off when I arrived at his place, but I saw. I saw this horrifically¬†annoying character with long, floppy ears. Yes, my first ever impression of this classic movie series is Jar Jar Binks. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I’ve never watched the movies; I was terrified. Years later, at another friend’s house, I saw scenes from a re-released version, you know, with the terrible CGI and all. Another bad start. Plus, my parents are Star Trek fans and I would watch reruns of the show with them when I was a kid, and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. You know how there is (used to be?) this “war” between Harry Potter fans and Twilight fans? Where you can only love one or the other? Well from what I’ve heard, there is a similar “war” going on between¬†Star Wars¬†fans and¬†Star Trek¬†fans. So maybe I’ve never seen a¬†Star Wars¬†movie because I come from a¬†Star Trek¬†kind of family (like, I’m not the only person in my family who has never seen a¬†Star Wars¬†movie, neither my mum, nor my dad, nor my sister have).

But that doesn’t mean I know nothing about the series. Of course I know some things. The obvious things. The “Darth Vader is Luke’s father” kind of things. Backwards Yoda speaks, I know. And I know Leia is Luke’s sister, but I also know she kissed him once? Like a real kiss? My friend told me it was to make Harrison Ford jealous, but still. He’s her brother. Anyway. I also know there’s this guy with a red face, and I saw him on a t-shirt when I was 7 and I had a nightmare where he was chasing me. Then there’s Chewbacca who’s Harrison Ford’s best friend or something and he makes this noise guys at school kept imitating¬†to interrupt teachers. And there’s this teddy bear colony at one point. And those two robots, R2-D2 and C-3PO, I don’t really know what they do, but they’re always together. Where do they come from? I know about “the Force”, but what is it? What does it do? I have no idea. I know Jabba the Hutt and Leia’s slave costume and Harrison Ford being trapped in a wall. What I don’t really know is what links all of these together. And I don’t know what goes in which movie. I also don’t know in what order I should watch them. Like, should I watch them in chronological order of the story or of the release date?

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What I really wanted to say here is that ever since I saw the trailer for the last¬†Star Wars¬†movie,¬†Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought it looked great. I did not go to see it in theatres, because I hadn’t seen any of the previous movies, but I think a¬†Star Wars¬†marathon is long overdue. Especially since I’m a cinema nerd since forever and I’m a cinema student and all… And even though my friends already spoiled the movie for me because they said I did not care anyway.