Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A New House, Birthdays and The Social Network

Hello again bloggers,

I finally moved down to Newport a few weeks ago and so far I'm loving the new house along with living with my Uni friends. It can get complicated when it comes to cooking and cleaning, but we seem to be managing so far!

The place is really nice, it's on a brand new estate and really close to the new campus, so it'll be great when we don't have to take the bus to lessons!

My course is going really well, I'm learning the CGI software, Maya, which is incredibly complicated, but I'm learning quite quickly. I'm specialising in 2D animation for my current semester in which I'll be doing more character performance animation (I should be bringing back Danielle and Fred for at least one exercise!) and a soundscape project, which is about merging sound and image but thinking primarily about the sounds.

So far I have a "pulling an object that refuses to budge" animation to do and 10 sounds to find and record.

I also have this short stop-motion exercise that I did with Zara to demonstrate moving inanimate objects with emotion... My object was the "excitable" scissors, her's were the "irritated" gloves and the scene is a murder! :O

And as the title suggests, there have been a couple of birthdays! My boyfriend Alex had his over the weekend--we went back home to enjoy the celebrations with family, it was a great trip! :) My birthday was just yesterday... 20 years old! Shocking, I know. :P

I got some great presents, including Mass Effect 2 (YAY!), The Beauty and the Beast art book, The UP art book, the Deathnote anime boxset, Pinocchio and The Fox and the Hound on DVD, Ashes to Ashes boxset (haven't seen it yet but loved Life on Mars!), Alter Bridge's "AB III", Professor Layton and the Lost Future and Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light! It's been a good year ha ha!

But getting older has got me thinking... On the train back to Newport I was listening to Metric's "Fantasies" album on the day of my birthday, "Sugar Mountain" comes on (I believe it's a cover of Neil Young??). And I'm sat listening to these lyrics:

Now you say you're leavin' home
'Cause you want to be alone.
Ain't it funny how you feel
When you're findin' out it's real?

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
you're leaving there too soon,
You're leaving there too soon.

I just thought at the time how strikingly appropriate it was for that to come on the day that I'm 20... it's sad not to be a teenager anymore and scary to think about growing up and leaving home... but at the same time it's something everyone goes through and at heart, you'll always be a teen really. I think it would be sad to lose that in yourself. It's a great song though, really strikes those chords in you!

So yeah, I guess I was feeling rather retrospective in that sense, but then I got here and there were balloons and streamers everywhere (they're still up actually) and I was given a beautiful hand drawn portrait of me by my friend Bryony and we all went out for dinner and a film and I got another awesome card drawn by Zara of Alex and I as Scott Pilgrim styled characters and we came back home for birthday cake I felt much better! :3

Ah well, save those thoughts for another time, huh?

Speaking of the film I saw, it was The Social Network if you hadn't guessed by the mysterious titling of my blogs.

So The Social Network... it's basically about the founders of Facebook, how it came about and such, I think it's based on a book that was based on the real story, so the film is probably pretty diluted or exaggerated by this point.

While it was an entertaining film, I'm not sure what all of the fuss was about. It was full of number and figures, legal battles and people arguing over who did what first... not that there's anything particularly wrong with that, but at times it almost became boring. That doesn't happen to me often in a cinema, and I think the main problem was to do with the characters.

First off, the main character, (the co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg played by Jesse Eisenberg) is an arse. This is established from the very beginning of the film; he's an immature, stuck-up genius who's bitter after a break up with his girlfriend (which was his fault in the first place) with a single friend to his name and constantly looks like this:

So I gave him a shot, I thought: "Ok, so he's not exactly a positive character, let's see how he develops throughout the film." But that was the problem, he didn't develop, he stayed the same and possibly even became worse. Perhaps this was the intention of the film makers; to make a film with an unlikeable main character or perhaps this was staying true to the original story or people... but how does that make an engaging film with character's people can relate to?

Zuckerberg was only occasionally funny (such as going to a business meeting in your dressing gown and pyjamas or creating a multi-billion dollar company just to have a business card that reads "I'm CEO, bitch!"), he talked too fast and was usually uninteresting. Nothing against Jesse Eisenberg (I thought he was great in Zombieland) or the original creator of course, my issues are with the actual screenplay.

From my perspective, the only likable characters were the two women in the film intelligent enough to tell Zuckerberg that he was an arse and his "best friend" Eduardo Saverin (played by future Spiderman, Andrew Garfield) who gets screwed over by him. Saverin was a far more likable character and he wasn't even the protagonist!

But complaining aside, there were definitely some good things about this movie. For a start, the music. Where can you go wrong with a soundtrack by Trent Reznor? It was atmospheric and intense and it had me thoroughly enjoying the first 30 minutes. The cinematography and casting was also pretty good. The shots were great visually (especially considering it was mostly people talking) and the acting was really good. I was particularly impressed by Justin Timberlake, he was very convincing as the paranoid, broke businessman, Sean Parker.

Having not read the original book, "The Accidental Billionaires" I don't know what the original intentions of the story were. It could just be one of those stories that sound great at first, but when put into a narrative based film, it just doesn't work. I wouldn't say it's a bad film, and it's certainly worth seeing, but I found it rather over-rated.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. It's been a good day today and there's been enough negativity there! I had a really interesting workshop about sound this morning and spent the afternoon chilling and had a great home-made lasagne for dinner! I've also got my Mum and Sisters over this Thursday so really looking forward to that! :)

I'll be blogging again soon, but for now, ciao!
Love Gemma xxx