Why I’ll Never Stop Obsessing over Sci-Fi

Oblivion-07
Oblivion. Dir. Joseph Kosinski

A friend let me borrow Oblivion this weekend, and although I didn’t loose my mind over it, I did appreciate the world they created for this sort of futuristic “mop up crew” that is Tom Cruise. That suddenly had me thinking why I borrowed the film in the first place.

Maybe it’s the all of the countless nights I spent nestled beside my dad devouring junk food (perfectly hidden from mom) watching films like Alien or Terminator 2. He’d always tell me to uncover my eyes at the most gruesome parts. Thanks dad, I never got over that alien popping out of that dude’s chest, I’m traumatized for life.

Or maybe it’s because I wanted to be just as cool as the boys running around with toy guns and their fists in the air yelling “WE RUN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD!” (Cue several oddly shaped scars and bloody knees). I remember falling in love with sci-fi at a young age and my love affair with the genre never died. It’s funny how some people feel the need to slap a label onto those who crave mystical creatures, futuristic cities and the vast black sea of stars. “Geek, nerd, Comic-con freak.” I welcome it with open arms though, dodging stereotypes like Neo dodged bullets in the Matrix because I owe my larger than life imagination to sci-fi, and wouldn’t trade that for the world, or the universe, or deep deep space, or the Final Frontier…you get it.

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Cinematic Style | Manhunter

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give anyone a valid reason as to why I’m completely obsessed with 80’s flicks. Heck, I wasn’t even born in the 80s man. But I can’t help it. The grainy film, the mostly vibrant colors, the synthpop music that makes you feel like drum kits are life’s answer to everything. Man it just gets to me. HA. I’m laughing at myself. Ridiculous. Anyways my random Netflix pick last night was Manhunter, it’s kind of a prequel to Silence of the Lambs. It’s so good, totally worth the watch for the story, but even more so for the look and feel. I was into it. The negative space and the soft colors in the first shot had me hooked. The rest is well…you should watch, but only if you’re into tortured dads hunting down serial killers that are obsessed with dragons.

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Cinematic Style | Ajeossi

Drug and organ trafficking? Nail art and eyeballs? Ajeossi, or in America, The Man From Nowhere, is one of my favorite films for a lot of different reasons, one of them simply being the look, feel and grit of it all. Director Jeong-beom Lee borrowed a little inspiration from the Bourne Ultimatum, 007 and Die Hard series and coupled with his own unique style as a Korean filmmaker to produce Ajeossi. In my favorite scene from the film, the main character crashes through a window and plummets to the pavement with the camera following his every move in one seamless take. I remember the first time I saw that, I had to rewind it like 20 times. Like wait whuut!?

Anyways going back to the real reason I posted: the style and color palette of the film. The little hints of streetwear fashion scattered through out. The puffy, not-so-new bomber jackets, the oversized knits, hoodies and muted colors.  I wanted it all when I first watched and I still do. Check out some of the screenshots. Oh, it’s on Netflix so be sure to catch it before it leaves. What are some of your favorite movies because of it’s style?

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America Needs Selma

SELMA

I’ll admit it. When I first heard about Selma, I said to myself, oh another movie about race, what else is new this year? I was getting frustrated because I was starting to feel that the only way black voices could be heard in Hollywood was through a film about slavery or civil rights movements. Where were our rom-coms and sci-fi thrillers? And no, Madea Goes to Jail Part 10 does not count…

I wanted a movie that included us as characters just living in the real world without race being an integral part of the main plot line. You know like Living Single or Love Jones. But after 2014 with Ferguson and the haunting last words “I can’t breathe” I realized something. America still needs to talk about race, and America needs this film more than ever. Director Ava DuVernay knew what she was doing.

Yes, this film is a story about the struggle of black Americans in the 60s, but it’s also about the struggle of America as a people. The issue of brainwashing generations into thinking that a difference in skin tone made one superior affected everyone not just white people. There’s a part in the film when Martin is sitting in a jail cell, tired but not broken. He says that even if they are able to vote one day what does he do about the blacks that have bought into the lie that they’re inferior? How does he break the cycle?  Unfortunately it’s something I still notice, so much of our bondage as a people is phycological. Some of us constantly tell ourselves we can’t do it because we’re not good enough, and yet we are. Our culture and history are both so deeply rooted and strong. Martin knew this would be difficult at times for us to remember and his hopes were that we’d be able to take the blinders off and see the world for what it really is, a land of opportunity.

The film was filled with powerful moments and speeches that took my breath away, making me fall in love with the power of words all over again. How crazy is it that Dr. King changed the world so much simply by the way he DIDN’T react to hatred, evil and violence? Powerful lesson there.

Let me not go without applauding filmmaker Ava DuVernay for displaying her amazing talent as a director and story teller. I remember the first piece I saw from her, The Door. I was in awe at the attention to detail, the beautiful way in which she framed the shots, everything was like a painting. Her passion is the same in Selma, the way she made sure every frame moved the story forward was flawless. The Bloody Sunday scene was especially haunting, but poetic too. Like this old Francesco Hayez painting from the 1800s. Eerily calm and chaotic at the same time. The “Fog of death”, temporally suffocating the hope.

This was such an emotional ride for me. Anger, hate, forgiveness and love. So many different feelings I had to sort out. Sitting there watching the credits role I silently thanked Ava for Selma. Thanked her for believing in this story enough to see it through to the end. I hope the rest of America will thank her too.