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Franklyn the Movie In Depth Review

Franklyn is a 2008 fantasy drama written and directed by first-time filmmaker Gerald McMorrow. In an ambitious undertaking for a debut film, the story follows the lives of four individuals through two different realities; one in contemporary London, the other in the gothic, religiously fanatical Meanwhile City. Initially, the stories seem fractured and distant from one another, particularly the segments in the fantastical Meanwhile City. However, as the film progresses the threads of these stories begin to weave together one plot.

Eva Green’s character Emilia, battling depression and a rocky relationship with her mother, is working on a macabre art project in which she films herself attempting suicide. She meets a man after one such attempt that tells her that her suicide would not only be devastating for those she already knows, but also for those she has yet to meet.

Milo, played by Sam Riley, has just been jilted by his fiancé. He begins to see a woman around town he is sure is his childhood love, Sally. He comes face-to-face with her but it is obvious that she is not what she seems, as she has Emilia’s face. Milo’s mother tells him Sally was an imaginary friend he had created to comfort him after the death of his father.

Meanwhile, in the aptly, albeit rather obviously named Meanwhile City, we follow Ryan Phillippe’s character, the masked vigilante Jonathan Preest as he seeks to avenge the death of a young girl who died at the hands of a powerful religious sect, and its leader The Individual.

Lastly, Peter Esser (Bernard Hill) is in desperate search of his son David who has evidently escaped a veteran’s hospital after a violent episode. Following various clues, Peter charts David’s rampage through London in an attempt to find his troubled son. As characters Preest has menaced begin to appear in Peter’s search we start to understand that Preest is, in fact, David Esser experiencing a trauma-induced psychosis born from his military service and the untimely death of his sister.

These four stories begin to intersect as characters meet and relationships are revealed, but there is not necessarily a large payoff at the end. The way these four characters end their journeys is much less interesting than the themes that tied them together during the rest of the film.

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Tips For Making Professional Amateur Movies

Tips For Making Professional Amateur Movies

Have you ever tried to shoot an interesting scene but it comes out looking like a terrible Vine shot on someone’s iPhone 4? Making a film isn’t easy, and making sure it doesn’t look like garbage is even harder. But it isn’t impossible. Don’t settle for less than your vision. Here are a few tips for making your amateur film look more professional.


Having high-quality equipment is a no-brainer if you want your movie to look good. Not everyone can afford professional equipment but there are a few things you shouldn’t skimp on.


Bad sound is distracting, and can really ruin the entire movie-watching experience.  The microphone on your recording device is probably not going to be up to snuff if you want good quality sound. Rent a professional mic for the duration of your shoot. They’re surprisingly cheap to rent, and will make a huge difference to your sound quality.


Unless you’re making another Blair Witch sequel you probably want to keep your camera steady. Invest in a tripod to avoid the shaky cam look. You can also search for tutorials online that tell you how to make different kinds of camera rigs for cars and other spaces in which it may be difficult to film.


First, match the lighting to the genre of film you’re making. Horrors don’t take place on sunny streets and well-lit buildings. Before anything else your lighting will set the tone for your film so be aware of what you’re shooting, how its lit, and whether it gels with the genre of film you’re trying to create.

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Introduction to Neo Noir

Introduction to Neo Noir

The term film noir was coined by French film critics to explain a distinct American style of cinema that sprang up during World War Two. As the name suggests, noir films are dark, in both the literal and thematic senses of the word. Heavily influenced by German expressionism, noir tended to reflect the modern disillusionment of wartime and post-war America. The lighting is low, and the locations are seedy. Antihero protagonists with cynical world views are accompanied by femme fatale love interests with questionable morals who, as Roger Ebert put it, “would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa”. A tense air of mystery permeates the films as the hard-boiled characters wander dark alleyways and foggy deserted streets either committing crimes or trying to solve them.

The major noir era of American cinema began in the early 1940s, and continued to the late 1950s. Though there were several precursors to the era that used noir elements, many consider 1940s Stranger on the Third Floor to be the first instance of a film that used a deliberate and pervading noir style. However, perhaps the most famous example of an early noir film is the 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon.

During the 40s and 50s film studios churned out hundreds of these darkly lit, intriguing crime dramas complete with gruff private investigators and their salacious would-be lovers.

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Film Noir Hero: The Most Challenging Role

Film Noir Hero The Most Challenging RoleThe classic film noir genre has always enjoyed a cult following. It’s not quite like any other genres in that the movie is principally pervaded by dark moods that include disillusionment, bleakness, melancholy, evil, moral corruption, alienation, paranoia, pessimism, desperation, and ambiguity.

Movies like Franklyn exemplify these classical, dark films that were produced and gained popularity during the 1940s. In these movies, the heroes and villains are presented as gangsters, government agents, socio-paths, conflicted cops or detectives, petty criminals, politicians, crooks, murderers, war veterans, or any law breaker. The subject often deals with moral-ambiguity which pervades the entire gloomy and dark theme of the movie. The protagonists are not like in any other film genres because they embody generally negative values of cynicism, sexual obsession, menace, sardonic, fright, disillusionment, sinister, insecurity, depression and everything abject.

Getting a role, especially a lead hero (or anti-hero) character, in a film noir requires preparation for the actor or actress. The emotions and themes that these actors are called to act out in the movie require careful study. Delivering a disturbing and repressively negative portrayal is much harder than the predictably morally upright protagonist. More than just preparing physically for the role, the actors have to study how to effectively deliver the story and theme in a precise and realistic way possible. Unlike in many of today’s Hollywood movies, where actors spend a lot of time preparing physically, some actors even enroll in intensive physical training to achieve the desired look or spend time studying the action routines through practice with a grappling dummy like those reviewed here, film noir requires internalization to successfully give life to the hero of the movie. The preparation in a role in film noir is more on psychological and emotional than physical.

Many of us think that film actors and actresses have the easiest jobs in the world. They go the set, act out the story, speak their lines, pack up, and leave. While some actors do it this way, it can never be the case in challenging roles like in film noir. Only the real good ones, those who study their role and do a lot of study and hard work, are successful in effectively portraying roles in black films. The names of Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum, Glenn Ford and Humphrey Bogart stand out in the film noir genre. Apart from appearing in various film noir flicks, they seemed to have developed a unique persona that is perfectly suited to the genre.

To successfully portray a film noir role, these actors go to great lengths to study and internalize what their roles are actually feeling and going through. Their preparation involves research so that they know the background of the character. It’s difficult to assume the very conflicting and ambiguous role of the protagonist in film noir. If the actor does his job well, it’s likely that he can deliver a convincingly real and truthful portrayal of the character, which is also a critical ingredient in the success of black films.

The Importance of Lighting in Filmmaking

The Importance of Lighting in FilmmakingEver wondered why there are a lot of bright lights on a film set? To someone who’s not really into filmmaking, you might find the film set needlessly over lit. Why do filmmakers use too much light?

Think about this — if you want to make a film look realistic and natural, you simply get to the location, set up the cameras and start rolling, right? Doesn’t it sound logical? But what filmmakers do is to take enormous care to use film lights, which entails a lot of money and time to set up. We’re not talking about the regular LED lights that you see at home or any other LED lighting. Don’t even think about LED grow lights, for that you have to check this link instead. Lighting in films use high-powered light equipment and tools that are carefully set up on set.

Filmmakers use lights because video does not respond to light like our eyes do. On the contrary, video and film record the scenes in a rather reverse way. When you shoot a film with just normal lights, either the highlights will go completely bare or the shadows will be lost totally lost. Ironically, the only way to make a scene look realistic is to have enough artificial light. The artificial film lights help the video to create the scene the way our eyes sees.

In cinematography, the goal is more than just to make the location or the actors visible. Lighting is a crucial element in setting the mood of the film, and it can only be achieved through careful use of artificial light sources. Furthermore, there are many instances where the natural light is not enough to provide adequate exposure. For instance, you can barely shoot a scene in a cramped up, enclosed space without lighting.

Some of the best films ever shot are able to convey a heightened interpretation of reality. If the cinematographer is able to make the scene “more real than real,” it can perfectly evoke the emotions that the movie would want to depict. In other words, lighting helps create a realistic scene; one that is not bland. Carefully planned lighting provides an enhanced view of reality which the video captures.

There is a wide variety of light equipment that a filmmaker can use depending on the requirements of the scene. Under the supervision and in coordination with the cinematographer, the lighting director does the tweaks so that the scenes perfectly convey the themes or emotions in that particular scene. At one point, the lights are used in combination. There are also different lights that are used based on the type of camera or video.

There you have it. Lighting is a crucial element in filmmaking, so the next time you find yourself on a film set, don’t be surprised to find the drastically over-lit film set. Lights are used to get the precise depth, texture and contrast that would appear realistic on the big screen.

Dangers of Religious Radicalism

Dangers of Religious Radicalism

Before getting started on our usual Franklyn fare, it seems appropriate to take a moment to say something about the people of Brussels, in Belgium. Like many of us, they too know now the dangers of religious radicalism, and what can potentially happen when extremists are allowed to have their way. Don’t get movies and reality mixed up though – this isn’t some simple bad ending with a lesson to teach. People perished, and for that we send out our condolences. Know that you’re not alone in grieving for loved ones and wanting justice for those who would commit such egregious attacks in the first place.

It’s a shame that ruthless faith and religious fervor don’t stay in movies, where they can’t cause real harm to real people, but this isn’t Franklyn – this is real life. The recent attack in Brussels is a stark reminder of what happens when radicals are left unchecked by more moderate minds, and it is so much more powerful a message than the one told by our favorite movie that it almost seems silly to talk about a piece of film when something so much more relevant is happening right at the same time.

So today when the news is filled with tales of destruction, we want to encourage people to create something, to build something. It doesn’t have to be something complicated or something large, because even small experiences can take us very far when they teach us things we did not know about ourselves. Consider taking up gardening, growing flowers, vegetables or fruits indoors with the use of electric lighting. With the right tools and mindset, creating is actually easier than destroying, and that’s an important lesson for people to learn. The information at Plantozoid can help you more with growing.

It may seem kind of morbid, but if you put together the string of attacks which have ripped through the European Union and other parts of the world over the last year, you might just have a movie. It’s hard to imagine who would want to watch such a movie, but there has been enough killing and terrorizing to fill at least a couple of hours at a stretch. And again, this is the real deal, not people acting on a stage, picking up roles and faking injuries they walk off as soon as they leave view. If only that were true, these times wouldn’t be so tragic.

Even if you’ve got no green thumb and the thought of growing something fills you with dread, it might be a good idea to find some other way to be creative and produce something. Maybe recording your own thoughts about the recent happenings and sharing them with the world through some social media outlet or video sharing website would be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if gardening works, that’s quite a bit easier. Just check this website for more information about how to get started doing that and good luck to you.

Our Top Favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy Movies

Our Top Favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy MoviesGoing through the same routine day in and day out can take its toll on a person easily. At times like this, a person may wish to escape from reality leaving everything behind, even if it is for a short time. Watching a fantasy film, is one such escape that many people embrace gladly. Whether it is a young kid or an adult, people love fantasy movies. They have been for a long time providing enthusiastic fans with charming, bizarre, scary and thrilling other world scenes. Here are some top all time fantasy movies that have you transported easily to a world of incredible, bizarre yet fun filled events.

The Last Unicorn

This 1982 movie, adapted from Peter S. Beagles’ book, has quite a spectacular imagery that has obviously drawn a lot from Japanese animation. And what makes the movie even better is its stellar voice cast of Alan Arkin, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee and Jeff Bridges.

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope movie

Star Wars is an all-time favorite with fans in all age groups. This 1977 movie is one of the best in the series. The starry skies and glittering space ships are a sight to watch. One of our members has an entire collection of Star Wars LED deco lamp collection. He is fan of LED bulbs too and recommends using the LED bars at LightBarReport for a safe and happy nighttime travel. This science fiction extravaganza has Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill,, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Phil Brown among others in its cast.


This movie has the 1950s idealism colliding with 1990s easygoing optimism. Gary Ross has done a commendable job of infusing life into this colorful fantasy albeit part of it being in black and white.

The Last Witch Hunter

This 2015 film is a treat for Vin Diesel fans. Diesel keeps flitting between a dream world and New York to help defeat the Witch Queen who plots to destroy humanity. This movie is an excellent example of contemporary backdrop for a modern fantasy. Our members had a great time watching this movie on a Saturday night. Although it was long drive back, we didn’t have to worry as we had these awesome curved LEDs fitted to our vehicle. Having a powerful light sure does give you a great deal of confidence and comfort.


For fantasy movie fans, this 2009 film is a sure treat. The film has some really frightening visuals and is so meticulously detailed that it is an awesome frightmare, which hard-core fantasy enthusiasts would love to gobble up.

Toy Story 3

Lee Unkrich’s third in the Toy Story series, this film featuring an awesome voice cast of Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, Tim Allen, Whoopi Goldberg, Ned Beatty and others is a delight for fans who had lapped up the earlier two movies with relish. This film too doesn’t disappoint fans and is indeed a fitting ending to the series.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 2003

This movie is the best of the trilogy and has some wonderfully redeeming features woefully absent in the earlier two of the series. With spectacular special effects and an arresting storyline this movie gives the best ever fantasy experience.

Tips To Improve Your Cinematography Skills

Tips To Improve Your Cinematography SkillsKnowing about medium, wide, and close-up shots is not the only requisite to excel in cinematography. There are plenty other aspects that you should be skilled at before you can take videos with that special touch. Here are some such tips that are sure to improve your cinematography and take it to new heights

Life experience

While it is allowed to get some hints from the work of other cinematographers, the best way to be unique is to develop your own way instead of copying from other cinematographers. When you increase your footwork and get more of practical experience personally, it can help in more ways than learning from a film, tutorial, or a school.  In short, cinematography cannot be copied or for that matter learnt. You need to learn the ropes by your own life experience, which is more significant than having the necessary technical knowledge.

Art of story telling

Whatever latest technology you may be using for your cinematography, the crux of it is telling a good story. While the latest gadgets and cameras may be awe-inspiring and produce great looking images, forgetting the fundamental storytelling can make all those gadgets go to waste.

Although you may get new and advanced technology, the art of storytelling with your camera, frame, and light settings is still the same just as we all need shoes for walking no matter what new things are invented. Since cinematography involves standing on your feet for long periods, using effective and solidly built shoes is a wise choice.


Light is without doubt the most important tool of a cinematographer. When you know when, how and where you can apply your knowledge of light to tell a story the right way, you have mastered it all. You need to ensure that your subject is visible and has the proper lighting. The challenge however lies in making the light itself a subject and letting it speak more than the other characters.

Doing the job right

As mentioned before there is no finite number of ways to complete the job. The trick here is finding the right environment, work and process, which helps you, be productive and efficient. Once you start experimenting with things, you will find the pieces fall in place and it will be just a matter of time before you build upon the core and form a unique style of your own.

For good cinematography, you need to have the right equipment and experience to get the right touch. And wearing shoes like those at helps to reduce the strain on your body, while working for long hours.


You need to know that when you are hired for a job, it is your vision that matters here and not the vision of other expert cinematographers. You may spend hours trying to reproduce the work of a popular cinematographer. But if the producer had wished for the work of that cinematographer he would not have hired you? You should understand that they depend on your unique ideas and vision and have hired you because of the good impression your style has made.

Play Us a Tune

Steven knew it was practice time. Every day at 4.30pm, an hour after school finished, he would sit down in front of the piano and practise for an hour. Steven was 14 years old and had been learning the piano for 7 years now. Was he any good? Well, his parents thought so, as did the extended family. Every time there was a party or gathering at their home, Steven would be asked to ‘play us a tune, dear’. In some ways it felt a little tedious but secretly, he loved to play for an audience.

There is a chemical reaction in your body when you are asked to do certain things. For example, public speaking is feared only second most to death! For a musician, playing in public has its moments of doubt, but if you are reasonably accomplished on the instrument you play, then the initial nerves dissipate relatively quickly. In fact, the empathy you get from an appreciative audience soon has you playing with a lot more passion than you would feel during a lesson or practice with the teacher.

And so it was with Steven. His playing for family and friends seemed to elicit the best out of him and his recitals were always received with a big round of genuine applause. Steven’s problem was not that he couldn’t play, it was more the fact that the piano they had in the house was old, old, old! It had belonged to his grandmother who would lovingly caress the keys every time she was visiting as if patting an old dog.

Steven wanted to play in a funky, modern group, but you could hardly carry a piano around with you to band practice, could you? His 15th birthday was coming up and he had dropped enough hints to his parents that he would like to move from the old upright to a more modern style of piano. This family heirloom of a piano he was using was okay, most of the time, but it had a tendency to stray out of tune more often than Steven liked. That meant phoning old Mr. Bennett, the piano tuner, and asking him to visit again to tune the darned thing. It seemed Mr. Bennett was the last living tuner on planet Earth. Even he had suggested to Steven’s father that they should think about upgrading. Surely he would be out of a job if they decided to buy a digital piano, wouldn’t he?

Like clockwork, at 4.30pm, young Steven sat down on the old seat. It was one of those ancient models that had a liftable top and inside which you could store hundreds of pieces of sheet music, some keyboard replacements, both black and white, and the wood varnish and cleaning cloth needed to shine the old girl up on occasion. As Steven played, all thoughts of changing to a modern keyboard disappeared as became totally immersed in the piece he was playing. There’s nothing like a beautiful tune to carry you away to another world with little or no worries!

Dressing Up for the Movies

Dressing Up for the MoviesThere’s nothing quite like a planned evening out that includes going to the movies. Some movies come out with a lot of hype and advertising and hopefully, you want this film to be entertaining. I once had a class that I was teaching English and one of the topics was: Good Book! Terrible Movie! The lesson was about how some books that are great to read turn into very mediocre films. There have been plenty of them. On the other hand, there have been books written that have been taken by a film director and turned into a very entertaining movie. A good example is the Harry Potter movies, which, though not as detailed as the books, were great entertainment and didn’t deviate too much from the core of the story.

Then, you have movies that were very successful. They were SO successful that the movie companies just had to make a sequel…then another sequel…and another. You get the picture. Rocky movies are a good example, albeit the last movie “Creed” finally got back on the ‘good movie’ train. One of the best jobs in the world would be to be a movie critic. You get to see all the movies for free then you have to write about them. This is when you get the chance to be creative and use all the descriptive words in the English language to give your opinion on how good or how bad a movie is. An AWFUL movie – disgusting, dreadful, horrible, terrible. A WONDERFUL movie – fabulous, fantastic, marvellous outstanding. STUPID movie – absurd, dumb, silly, ridiculous. A STRANGE movie – bizarre, unusual, weird, odd.

One of the really amazing aspects of movies is when they are set in the past or the distant future. Add to that, movies that are fantasy or fairy tales. The directors spend a lot of time and money recreating cities, vehicles, fashion, and atmosphere for the period in time they are trying to portray. The actors have to pretend they are either in the future or the past. Clothing has changed a lot since the 30’s and 40’s and changed completely from the time of the Middle Ages or from historical eras thousands of years ago. In the case of costumes for the past, the designers have some historical pictures or ideas of what was worn. But what about the future? Who can guess what people will wear then?

I visited a costume design business located in Los Angeles some time ago and this was one aspect of manufacturing that will never be handed over to 3rd World countries. There were about 10 work areas and on every one there was a serger, which is a fancier sewing machine than your mother ever used. These machines have multiple cotton feeds and are highly computerized so that they can be programmed to stitch and sew some complicated costumes, quickly and accurately. The whole operation is overseen by the Costume Director whose job is to ensure the accuracy if the clothing is for the past, and if it’s in the future, to make sure the final product is as per the technical fashion drawings.