#JOURNAL: Watching Films

I used to be quite the "purist" when it comes to feature films, needing to view the movie in the best possible cinema environment, with crisp sound and clarity of visuals, to bathe in the onslaught of sensory surrender, and to revel in the fantasy unfolding before me!

These days, post-Stroke and of nagging financial woes, I do not enjoy the luxury of being surrounded by the darkened theatre as much as I used to, or remembered. These days I treat myself to pre-loved DVDs as much as I can afford and find them (the demise of EZYVideo put a skyscraper-sized monkey-wrench in THAT equation @#$%&#@") , and most times, watch online streaming movies, with less than stellar visual quality, suspect sound, and often constant pauses with the infinite cycloptic round-n-round icon in the middle of the screen as my company.

This habit has forced me to view movies in a slightly different light now. I am no longer distracted by the visual beauty, and instead react directly with the story, of how the scene is told, without the "frills", so to speak.

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Of course I know "filmmaking" is all these and more. Filmmaking is a convergence of all thing sensory, like visual, sound, colors, tones, dialogues, to form a complete product that pleases, scares, saddens and stimulates your brains. I certainly taught these in my tenure at a local arts college offering filmmaking, for the brief time I was part of the group which taught making short films.

Where before I excelled in Art Direction for years - both my core career in the industry and my strength - my tastes veered toward the visual senses, with a distinct slant towards directing - for what is the use of a pretty set, when it is not used to it's optimum effect with actors, and the camera?

If the story does not resonate with me, the less likely I would go beyond switching off my laptop after viewing it. But with a good viewing, I would be more than happy to scrounge up money to procure the DVD for prosperity, and repeat viewings.

Having enjoyed WHIPLASH online, I would be glad to revisit my jazz-loving past and procure the OST, rather than the DVD.

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The humble DVD - which to many is just some $$ - is now to me a heightened way to support what I like. The purchase of a DVD is for repeated viewings, and as well a chance to revel in the crisp clear visuals, beyond the story, which maybe be either earth-shattering and life-changing, or simply fuckdumb enough not to worry too much about it. Or it could just be to sate my geekery, no hard and fast rule here.

To be fair, I would watch DREDD in the big screen than to watch a bootleg online, whereas I would gladly watch Whiplash online, than venture into the darkened theater to view it.

[ JOHN WICK Reviewed Here ]

Watching movies was a big thing for me, even before I was involved in making them. I would dedicate my weekends to them, and my savings on local film festivals, ever ready to devour both the blockbusters and indie films. I had a voracious appetite, and because of a monthly salary, I could afford to indulge myself. Pirated movies were an absolute no-no, unless I knew certain movies might not be found in local cinemas, and for a short period of time, foreign films blossomed in the VCD market too, which was quite a boon to a cinephile I claimed myself to be.

In the ten years while I had plied my trade in the local media industry, I went from a passionate devourer, to a lecturer who regurgitated what I loved to my students.

Perhaps I took my job too seriously. Perhaps I overstepped what my "job" entailed (there is no "perhaps", I knew I did, and was constantly reminded by fellow teachers and heads of department), and I burnt myself out of teaching, faster than I burnt myself out of filmmaking. I could not make the long run, as I did not plan for one either.

I had wanted to share my passion and knowledge in both my work and for my students, but in the end, I left the industry which gave me a platform for my passion to burn, but alas burnt to an ambered crisp, or so I have convinced myself of, all these years.

[ CHAPPiE Reviewed Here ]

I remembered my first movie in the cinema - after surviving and recovering from Stroke in hospital - was Zack Snyder's SUCKER PUNCH, in early 2011. A glorious time to be had! Well, except for attempting to watch it with an eye-patch on, and struggling to see the sharpness of the image … fast forward to my most recent film, CHAPPiE, wearing my new prescription glasses (and seeing the screen very clearly too!), but also with my eye-patch on, although now, it is not ON all the time, just less often, as my eyes adjust to the surroundings/the vision on screen yaddayaddayadda

This is not an "excuse". This might not necessarily be used as a "reason" for my actions, this is just my personal story, and it remains simply as that. Be that as it may, how this particular blog will function - in the case of "film reviews" - is that; anything is game. Be it cinema-viewing, dodgy online videos or perhaps one day soon: DVD reviews. And of course I will continue to mention the origins of said viewing. Nothing to hide here :)

Meanwhile, I am now still stuck with my laptop screen for convenience sakes. And with my lappie's CD/DVD-player gone done busted, I am left with online streaming movies, and that infernal turning cycloptic round-n-round icon that I-do-not-know the technical-name-for.