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Keith Hodder

WATCH: Oppenheimer, a film

Oppenheimer, a film by Nova Scotian-born and Toronto-based directors Keith Hodder and J Mitchel Reed respectively, captures a moment in the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb. The film takes inspiration from the works of David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh in it's visual approach, but offers a departure for writer Keith Hodder who used this project as a means of exploring drama heavily rooted in non-fiction. Watch the result below. Keith Hodder is a director and writes for the Prince Arthur Herald Read More

Television’s Nagging Housewives

First and foremost it should be noted that this article features spoilers for The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Dexter. You have been warned… There’s a frustrating and abused trend surfacing in television. It is culminating in wildly popular programs and no one is recognizing the issue at hand. In fact, some viewers are subconsciously welcoming it, not knowing that their loathing for the TV wives — created by writers who have no idea that their faulty creations are harming the way women are showcased in entertainment — is only allowing the problem to continue. This hasn’t always been the case. Think about it. Think back to the great shows that feature empowered, female characters, the leads that defined generations. And while most of these shows such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Maude, and The Golden Girls, did indeed have serious moments that tackled serious and current issues, many of these female driven shows were and mostly still are prominently categorized as sitcoms or comedies. Though Girls is somewhat of an outlier in the current climate, the more hard-hitting shows, those dominating the television marketplace, are driven by male leads. It’s arguable whether this is an intended objective created by a group of scheming execs, but the result of this trend finds that females are left to fill the roles of mothers and wives in most television programs. Now, the choice of roles isn’t necessarily the issue, nor is it the actresses. It is more about how the roles are executed in some current shows. Some of these women feel like unnecessary boundaries for the male characters that we’ve come to love, sympathize with, and understand. In turn for failing to come up with a better hurdle for these males to tackle, many writers decide it should be the… Read More

There is Heart in Video Games, Mr. Spielberg

Back in June the USC School of Cinematic Arts hosted a panel on the future of entertainment to mark the grand opening of the their new Interactive Media Building. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, along with Microsoft’s Don Mattrick (now Zynga’s Don Mattrick), were the featured guests at the event. Though the group of entertainment giants made some very apt predictions pertaining to a handful of mega-budget movies failing miserably (this summer’s Lone Ranger, White House Down, and R.I.P.D. as examples) the men seemed more than out of their league deconstructing the video game medium. Indeed, Spielberg and Lucas were both comfortable and prophetic in discussing the further niche-ification of the motion picture market, as audiences are growing weary with Hollywood’s drive to create one $250 million dollar film as opposed to several more personal projects, Variety notes. With Hollywood’s mega-budget films dominating the theatres and further ousting smaller projects, the two close friends also voiced that video-on-demand services will grow and profit by showcasing the films smothered by the shadow of the Hollywood blockbuster. But much like the late Roger Ebert refusing to believe that video games are an art form, the aging filmmakers aimlessly began to critique video games not only by stating that they were without heart, but that they were compromised only of violent actions or in a sporting environment. Spielberg and Lucas need to play more video games instead of making assumptions from their adverts. Though the most heavily advertised games are indeed popular because of their multiplayer focus, and though many of these games are shooters, Spielberg and Lucas haven’t experienced the single player campaigns rich with a deep lore that supports a slew of well-written and heavily developed characters. Halo 4 for example, a game known for its expertly crafted multiplayer features, also… Read More

Guns and Hollywood: A Horrifyingly Cool Mix

I grew up on a healthy dose of James Bond films. I admired the suave superspy and not only respected his charm and sense of style but also his coolheaded nature in the most daring moments. He’s been the epitome of cool since his debut in the early 50s and still today people revere his taste in cars, girls, and gadgets. And indeed his gadgets, albeit cheesy at times, became his cinematic calling card. But despite the exploding pens and laser-equipped watches, as a young viewer I was always drawn to his most important gadget of all: his gun. Along with Han Solo’s blaster, Dirty Harry’s revolver, and Robocop’s futuristic Beretta, James Bond’s Walther PPK is almost as famous as the character himself. Often Bond and the other well-known fictional characters are seen striking powerful poses with their guns on the movie posters used to promote their films. The characters seem to be in control and their presence commands a silent respect from the audience. They have the gun and they have the power. When the curtains open, the projector begins to illuminate the screen and the specks of dust hover in the theater this admiration remains, but the craving for power grows stronger. As I grew into my teens and my obsession for all things Bond deepened so too did my allure to guns. I never owned a gun, never fired one at the time, and totally understood the consequences of using one, but since it was part of Bond’s identity, and since I looked up to that identity, how could I not crave it? Herein lies the problem. Thousands of Hollywood films feature the use of guns. Often times the repercussions are minimal and the lead character brandishing the gun is an expert with the weapon and has… Read More

Can Comic Book Films Survive the Niche Threat?

The masked superhero visage is anything but an unfamiliar sight in today’s cinema climate. Even before their introductions on the big screen, heroes such as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men - and thus Wolverine - to name a few, had become household entities. Be it from the comics, the Saturday morning traditions that continue to this day, or the laughably cheesy TV series and serials, the general mythos behind the popular characters had found a means to weasel itself into North American minds young and old. Naturally the popularity of these characters exploded because of their cinematic adventures, supported by general audiences who had faint nostalgic memories of the costumed figures, as well as the minority of comic book fans whose knowledge of the characters and their universes was infinite. But as these characters move into multiple sequels and reboots, studio executives are beginning to explore lesser-known characters, a decision that is surely exciting for those who still have their noses wedged between the illustrated pages. But, will it move general audiences to fill the majority of their cinema’s seats? In the end this question may not be what matters. It will come down to how the studios market and integrate the newest property in correlation to their older, more developed, and popular cash cow titles. Surely the Avengers would have been a hard film to swallow if Marvel hadn’t taken the time to honour and develop the characters in their own films. Not to mention the story would have been crammed to the point of incomprehension due to the necessity to develop a mixture between the many origin stories and the film’s objective. Characters such as Hawkeye and Black Window would be lost in the mix and would merely muddle the film even more – X-Men: The Last Stand anyone? Luckily, Marvel… Read More
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