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A place for you to post comments on our articles.
74

GreenCine Film Primers
Topic by: markhl
Posted: July 3, 2003 - 1:27 PM PDT
Last Reply: November 24, 2003 - 1:36 AM PST

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author topic: GreenCine Film Primers
markhl
post #1  on July 3, 2003 - 1:27 PM PDT  
Hey guys,

Just thought I'd pass along my thanks for setting up the primers for the film categories. It'll certainly help me branch out into new genres in a semi-organized fashion. GC's turning out to be something like the discovery channel for me - you may spend a lot of time but you feel like you are learning something (thus time well spent).

I'm a bit curious to see when the "animation" category will be released. There are quite a few aged anime viewers/experts wandering the discussion forums here... potential land mines/critics.. heh heh :)
underdog
post #2  on July 3, 2003 - 1:37 PM PDT  
> On July 3, 2003 - 1:27 PM PDT markhl wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hey guys,
>
> Just thought I'd pass along my thanks for setting up the primers for the film categories. It'll certainly help me branch out into new genres in a semi-organized fashion. GC's turning out to be something like the discovery channel for me - you may spend a lot of time but you feel like you are learning something (thus time well spent).
>
> I'm a bit curious to see when the "animation" category will be released. There are quite a few aged anime viewers/experts wandering the discussion forums here... potential land mines/critics.. heh heh :)
> ---------------------------------

Hey Mark,
Thanks for the kind words! We're glad you like them. If by animation category you mean the primer, it'll be a little while (I know this because I'll be writing the "traditional" animation primer, and God knows it's a bear to write!) We'll also have an experimental animation primer, and an anime primer, hopefully all 3 of them will be going live this summer. We always will welcome comments, additions, critiques, praise ;-), of the primers!
Cheers,

Craig P
GreenCine
Associate Editor
craig@greencine.com


jeffgross
post #3  on July 3, 2003 - 9:37 PM PDT  
Are there plans for a Musicals primer?
dwhudson
post #4  on July 4, 2003 - 5:50 AM PDT  

> Are there plans for a Musicals primer?

That's an excellent suggestion, jeffgross. We will definitely add that to the list. Our initial list of primers-to-do is, of course, somewhat determined by what's available on DVD and by the immediate circle of ourselves and the writers we know want to contribute - and each of us has a few we're chomping at the bit to do first, so you'll probably be seeing those for a while.

Then, eventually, we hope to get every nook and cranny covered one way or the other.

But Musicals, yes, that'll be a blast.
underdog
post #5  on July 7, 2003 - 9:56 AM PDT  
> On July 4, 2003 - 5:50 AM PDT dwhudson wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> But Musicals, yes, that'll be a blast.
> ---------------------------------

I shall add it to our Primers To-Do list. We definitely had no intention (or reason) to neglect it!

C
dpowers
post #6  on July 7, 2003 - 4:36 PM PDT  
the primers are cool! i learned a lot from them.

hmm, they're buried in the menus, can they be dug out somehow? like maybe have a navigation page that brings together the "greencine suggests", "critics circle", and "award winners" menus. this page could be referenced liberally elsewhere in the interface, like in the blog sidebar, daily 5, another option for jump from the confirm-rent dialog (which could access the genres of the chosen rental to direct people to a matching primer)...
jeffgross
post #7  on July 7, 2003 - 6:41 PM PDT  
Thanks for the reply on the musicals request. I'm sure it's on the list but another primer I'd really like to see is Film Noir.
underdog
post #8  on July 8, 2003 - 10:05 AM PDT  
> On July 7, 2003 - 4:36 PM PDT dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> the primers are cool! i learned a lot from them.
>
> hmm, they're buried in the menus, can they be dug out somehow? like maybe have a navigation page that brings together the "greencine suggests", "critics circle", and "award winners" menus. this page could be referenced liberally elsewhere in the interface, like in the blog sidebar, daily 5, another option for jump from the confirm-rent dialog (which could access the genres of the chosen rental to direct people to a matching primer)...
> ---------------------------------


You're right about this and we definitely have planned on rearranging the menu options soon for better navigation. There will be a "departments" or "features" pull-down menu which should make it easier to find all this stuff. Soon, really. Thanks!

And yep, you betcha sweet patooties that we'll have a film noir primer. Actually, there may even be two -- classic noir and neo noir, but it depends. But definitely in the works.

Craig P
Associate Editor
GreenCine
craig@greencine.com
dwhudson
post #9  on July 8, 2003 - 2:07 PM PDT  
> ... like in the blog sidebar, daily 5...

Damn, I wish I'd thought of that. More points, right over there, please! Thanks. Duly noted and soon to be implemented.
AKrizman
post #10  on July 8, 2003 - 4:15 PM PDT  
These primers are exactly why I love GreenCine.

When I first joined GreenCine, I read David Hudson's article on German Expressionism. It made a lasting impression; I realized that GreenCine wasn't just a place to rent movies, but a resource for film study. I was hooked, and have been looking forward to introductions to other film movements ever since.

I've been able to find similar epiphanies among GreenCine's other forums: It was a member's list that introduced me to Italian Giallo, it was a message board discussion that taught me about China's Fifth Generation directors, and it was a movie review of Todd Haynes' 'Far From Heaven' that led me to Douglas Sirk's melodramas, and subsequently to his influence on Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Francois Ozon. The primers are a great idea because it gathers all this info into one place.

I guess I'm suggesting potential primers: Giallo, Fifth Generation, and Melodrama. German Expressionism is already on your in-the-works list - I would think that you could just use the article.

How frequently do you folks plan on turning these things out? Are you planning on posting new primers on a regular basis (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.) or sporadically as they get written? I vote for a regular schedule so I know how often to check back.

underdog
post #11  on July 8, 2003 - 5:05 PM PDT  
We thank you! And yes, we echo your sentiments -- the primers were simply a logical next step in the expansion of our vision: of GreenCine as a place to learn more about cinema. As Krusty the Clown once said, we hope "to make learning fun! hahahahaha.....ahem..eh."

At any rate, just so you know, we just assigned a very fine writer (from the San Francisco Bay Guardian) to do a Primer on Italian Horror, which will include much about Giallo in it. She is going away for two weeks so this one likely won't go live here until mid-August, alas, but I assure you it will be worth the wait.

Which brings us to your last question...
>
> How frequently do you folks plan on turning these things out? Are you planning on posting new primers on a regular basis (i.e. weekly, monthly, etc.) or sporadically as they get written? I vote for a regular schedule so I know how often to check back.
>
>

Yes! Er, that is, regularly, and sporadically. We're trying to put up at least one a week, but sometimes it will be less, and sometimes it will be more (quite a bit more even). So consider it to be about a weekly occurrence, with the usual disclaimers inserted here (depends on the writers own lives and schedules, other last minute emergencies here that delay us, etc). But if all goes well, we should have about 30-40 of these up by sometime in the Fall. (Er, give or take a season or two.)

Hope this makes sense. Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement!

Craig Phillips
GreenCine Associate Editor
craig@greencine.com
dwhudson
post #12  on July 9, 2003 - 3:23 PM PDT  
Hey, folks, a new one just went up: Godzilla!

Even though only a limited number of titles are available on DVD, we've got those that are, far as we know. "We," being, of course, the almighty ggsuperhero. And Sean Axmaker's given us a great and fun read.

I'd love to flag this new addition tomorrow with a Daily 5 and you can be in on the fun. The theme is: "Scary Monsters... Super Creeps." What are your favorite scary monster movies? What should go on the front page tomorrow?

I'm taking suggestions for the next 12 hours and, provided the DVDs are immediately available, we'll throw 'em up there!
JKaminskiJr
post #13  on July 9, 2003 - 3:49 PM PDT  
The scariest movie I ever saw is the original "Psycho", with the original "Night of the Living Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" tied for a close second.
jkaminskijr

> On July 9, 2003 - 3:23 PM PDT dwhudson wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hey, folks, a new one just went up: Godzilla!
>
> Even though only a limited number of titles are available on DVD, we've got those that are, far as we know. "We," being, of course, the almighty ggsuperhero. And Sean Axmaker's given us a great and fun read.
>
> I'd love to flag this new addition tomorrow with a Daily 5 and you can be in on the fun. The theme is: "Scary Monsters... Super Creeps." What are your favorite scary monster movies? What should go on the front page tomorrow?
>
> I'm taking suggestions for the next 12 hours and, provided the DVDs are immediately available, we'll throw 'em up there!
> ---------------------------------

dpowers
post #14  on July 9, 2003 - 4:39 PM PDT  
the only time i remember actually getting scared by a movie monster was alien. runners up for me are the blob and jaws.
AKrizman
post #15  on July 9, 2003 - 5:15 PM PDT  
ditto on Alien. Or its inspiration, the original The Thing.

Any of Ray Harryhausens monsters are cool. 20 Million Miles to Earth is his most Godzilla-like.

Supernatural monsters rarely scare me as much as people, but Tim Curry's Evil Lord of Darkness from Legend still gives me nightmares.

As far as giant monsters that rampage through cities are concerned, the most memorable one to me is the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.
oldkingcole
post #16  on July 9, 2003 - 6:56 PM PDT  
> On July 9, 2003 - 5:15 PM PDT AKrizman wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> ditto on Alien.

Yep, I think the original Alien is one of the best movie-monsters of all time. I think this due not only to the genuinely scary look of H.R. Giger's alien, but also because director Ridley Scott is careful never to give you too long a look at it.

Other scary-monster worthies include the numerous, truly frightening monsters Tim Robbin's sees (and again, only fleetingly) in Jacob's Ladder. The shaking-head demon, or the one that Elizabeth Peņa briefly transforms into are twice as scary for being nearly subliminal.

Monsters who are aspects of ourselves have the benefit of being scary twice -- first, in and of themselves, and second due to the horror of becoming them. In this vein, I like the first two thirds or so of "The Architects of Fear" from Disc 1 of the original 1960's Outer Limits -- Season 1 collection. There is something very Cronenbergian about the transformative biological horror depicted in this episode. And although it probably seems a bit laughable to us today, when the episode first aired, "the creature was judged so frightening by several local television stations that they actually blacked out the screen during the Thetan's appearance!" [from the liner notes to the laserdisc release]. This episode was also a major influence on Alan "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Moore's landmark comic book series The Watchmen -- there's even a panel near the end where a TV in the background is clearly broadcasting this very episode!

Another bio-horror monster, also from the first season of the original Outer Limits TV series, shows up in "The Mutant" on disc 4. There's something rather effective about the simple alterations to the actor's face that makes the monster surprisingly scary. I think the horror is enhanced by the very slightness of the deviation from normality. It emphasizes how near we all are to the deformities that scares us.

Well, dang. That was probably more than you wanted to know.
dpowers
post #17  on July 9, 2003 - 10:24 PM PDT  
i had a really hard time coming up with scary movies, actually. i'm still way behind on horror movies. still haven't seen any of the living dead flicks, or texas chainsaw massacre, child's play, scream, any of that. haven't exactly been avoiding them...
dwhudson
post #18  on July 10, 2003 - 3:31 AM PDT  
That was fun, everybody. AKrizman! What can I say? Excellent suggestions... so excellent, in fact, that they seem to be pretty popular titles, too.

I definitely agree with everyone on Alien which, as has often been said, pushed the very idea of what a monster could be and do to a whole new level. Without pushing too far, either, since if anything is possible, all tension is lost.

About Jaws, I'll always remember it as a classic movie-going experience. I went with two friends on opening day to a huge, packed theater -- and everybody just went nuts. We were all screaming and then laughing at ourselves, people were jumping up out of their seats, diving under their seats, chewing on their seats... It was just great, great fun.
AKrizman
post #19  on July 10, 2003 - 11:06 AM PDT  
Human monsters scare me more the supernatural ones because they are more real.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is freaky because it's based on a true story and demonstrates how shockingly easy it is to get away with murdering strangers, which makes the alarming suggestion that most serial killers are never caught.

The Talented Mr. Ripley takes this one creepy step further; not only is he human, he's disturbingly sympathetic. You can (almost) relate to his motives, and (almost) imagine yourself doing the same things.

As culturally important as Norman Bates is, he's not the most frightening to me. His instability is almost reassuring; you'd think you'd be able to spot him coming, and be confident that he'll eventually be stopped. He's not even the first movie psycho; Peter Lorre played an earlier psycho, Franz Becker, in M. As far as I can tell, Fritz Lang was the first to use the 'balloon flying away to symbolize a child being snatched' trick (or was it the ball bouncing away variation).
dwhudson
post #20  on July 10, 2003 - 11:58 AM PDT  

> Human monsters scare me more the supernatural ones because they are more real.

Overall, I agree. Especially when you reflect on movies objectively. But sometimes, within the timeframe of the film, for those particular two hours or so, when you're caught up in it all, fear (or, maybe more superficially but more immediately effectively, suspense) can be relatively hard to measure.

Again, Alien's a good example. But even 'from a distance,' i.e., after the credits roll, the effects of a film like Alien can linger. A beast birthing itself from a belly? Hard to argue that doesn't touch on something primal and deeply disturbing.

And for me, that goes for just about any story that plays with our biological make-up (which is why Cronenberg movies tend to stick with me for a long, long time). Naturally, the story is a step or two away from reality; but in me, anyway, they tend to stir stuff that doesn't settle back down again for quite a while.

> You can (almost) relate to his motives, and (almost) imagine yourself doing the same things.

Why are these 'almost's in parentheses? [g]

> As far as I can tell, Fritz Lang was the first to use the 'balloon flying away to symbolize a child being snatched' trick (or was it the ball bouncing away variation).
>

'Twas a balloon, IIRC.
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