Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Comedy & Laughter | "Ruby & Quentin" (2003)

Fig.1 "Ruby & Quentin" Poster
Apart from the various successful film genres we have today Comedy is one of them. Comedy movies make us laugh, make us feel good and satisfied, but most importantly it makes us relieve stress and relax us. The reason why we laugh at certain comedy movies is completely personal, therefore, one certainly cannot assume that if one comedy was appealing to one person it will automatically appeal to another individual as well. The following review is going to explain the different types of comedy, introduce theories why people are laughing and exemplify those with the movie “Tais-toi” also called “Ruby & Quentin” a French crime and comedy movie written and directed by Francis Veber which covers the story of Ruby a French mercenary who stole a large amount of money from a mafia boss and lands in jail. In jail he meets Quentin, an innocent-minded (sometimes stupid and childish) guy who failed trying to heist a bank for money. Thanks to Quentin’s personality he gets into trouble very easily with other prisoners who start a fight with him because Quentin asks them too many “silly” questions and therefore get annoyed by it. However, the fight always ends up with Quentin beating them up and the police officers are forced to place him into another cell. Eventually, Quentin ends up being placed into a cell together with Ruby who has not said a single word since his imprisonment to make him talk. With silly actions and plans they escape the prison and end up hunting for the mafia boss and being hunted by them and the police at the same time. Accompanied by sticky situations and humorous ways of getting out of them Quentin and Ruby end up achieving their goal: killing the mafia boss Vogel.

There are many different theories out there explaining why people are laughing. However, the most common ones are: “The Superiority Theory” which claims that humor comes at other people’s expenses (for example in “Borat”), “The Incongruity Theory” believing that surprises cause laughter such as the famous zombie kid saying: “I like turtles.”, “The Benign Violation Theory” basing on moral, social and linguistic norms violation, “The Mechanical Theory” relying on the fact of repeating character traits and “The Release Theory” exemplified by a punch line after a buildup. The four basic types of humor are: playful/childish humor which is focusing on playfulness and silly acts, toilet humor which is centered on bodily functions such as whoopee cushions, “Schadenfreude” originates from German which focuses on humor/pleasure derived from the misfortune of other’s and intellectual humor which is created around a depth of knowledge such as mathematical jokes.

Fig. 2 Quentin and his cow box
 Based on the childish and innocent personality of the main comedian Quentin one can already assume that “Ruby & Quentin” belongs to the category of playful/childish humor. The scene where they escaped the prison and heisted a shop stealing $15, a whoopee cushion and a cow sound making toy, shall be analyzed in order to prove its type of humor. After Quentin and Ruby escaped prison with the help of Quentin’s friend Martineau they get chased down by the subordinates of Vogel, the mafia boss. They both manage to fend off their attack and steal their car. After a little chase Ruby decides to call Vogel to tell him that Ruby will hunt him down for what he did. During the call Quentin plays with the whoopee cushion and the cow sound making toy. The fact that Ruby is making a serious conversation about life and death with Vogel and Quentin fooling around with the toy made the scene quite hilarious. At some point Ruby gets annoyed and throw the toy out of the window; however, Quentin apparently really enjoys playing with it and leaves the car to get it back. The contrast between the seriousness and the playfulness and carelessness makes the scene really funny to me, but also the way his innocence and stupidity are getting on Ruby’s nerves really quickly and shows it with an eye-rolling expression followed by ripping the toy out of Quentin’s hands and throw it somewhere to shut him up. This can even be seen as “Schadenfreude” since Ruby is obviously suffering from Quentin’s stupidity and wants to get rid of him any time possible. Apart from that, Quentin’s repeating character trait has also an impact on the humor as well. The audience gets used to his “stupidity” and starts to find it funny just like how people laugh at Homer from “The Simpsons” with his “stupid” personality.

All in all, comedy is personal it cannot be predetermined by some comedy experts in any way, everyone has their own sense of humor, even though, they may be similar in some ways. Comedy plays an important role in everyone’s life due to their stress relieving and relaxing effects. “Tais-toi” is one of my favorite comedy movies so far and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a mix between childish/playful and “Schadenfreude” humor. GĂ©rard Depardieu’s brilliant play of the role Quentin makes the movie enjoyable and entertaining to watch.

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 "Ruby &Quentin" Poster. At: http://www.impawards.com/intl/france/2003/posters/tais_toi.jpg (Accessed on 12/12/2017)
Fig. 2 Quentin and his cow box. (Screenshot taken from the actual film) (Accessed on 12/12/2017)

Monday, 11 December 2017

Adaptation & Transcription | "Fight Club" (1999)

Fig. 1 "Fight Club" Poster
The movie “Fight Club (1999)“ written by Chuck Palahniuk and directed by David Fincher is a story about a depressed man who suffers from insomnia and split personality disorder. Throughout the movie topics such as capitalism, aggression, Buddhism and communism are treated and analyzed thoroughly. The narrator is not given a name at the very start of the movie carried out until the very end when he actually finds out that his companion Tyler Durden is actually his other personality and therefore himself. “Fight Club” is one of the most successful movies having a box office of $100.9 million worldwide. The story of the narrator and his split personality friend Tyler Durden originates from the book with the same name “Fight Club” written by Chuck Palahniuk in 1996 which makes the movie an adapted film. However, how accurate did David Fincher capture the topics covered by Palahniuk in his novel and how did Fincher manage to bring the fiction to life?

Comparing the novel with the film the critical eye can see many differences. However, most of them are only small details such as in the film when the narrator found out his apartment blew up he went to a nearby phone cell to call Marla first and then Tyler whereas in the novel he instantly calls Tyler at the lobby or the fact mentioned in the book that the narrator is left a hole in his cheek after a brutal fight, however, in the movie this never happened. Apart from the many other small unimportant details there are some big differences too. In the book the narrator is shown as less of a scaredy-cat. In the movie Tyler at some point forces a convenience store clerk to change his way of life by threatening his life with a gun with the narrator standing by helplessly whereas in the book the narrator is threatening the man while Tyler is away collecting licenses from people.  The end scene is different as well: In the novel Tyler’s plan was to blow up the tallest building located on top of a museum, however, his plan failed and the bomb did not go off. The narrator shoots himself tearing a hole in his other cheek in front of the group. In the movie Tyler wants to reset the public debt to zero by blowing up all the credit card companies. The narrator shoots himself tearing a hole into his cheek in front of Tyler.

Fig. 2 "Fight Club" Novel Cover
In addition to those differences, the movie implemented scenes not mentioned in the novel and vice versa. For instance in the movie the narrator and Tyler hit golf balls in the front yard of the Paper Street house at night or the conversation about which famous figures they would fight against such as Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and William Shatner and why which does not happen in the novel at all. However, some events happens in the book are not mentioned in the movie such as the scene when Marla exposes the narrator in front of the cancer support groups that he does not have cancer at all or one of the final scenes before the detonation of the bomb, members of Project Mayhem pushing filing cabinets out of the windows of the Parker Morris building.

Fig. 3 Final Scene
Despite the fact that the movie and the novel differ in many different scenes, Fincher manages to stick to the original story as close as possible and treat the same topics as the books such as aggression in the modern society and its suppression with their founded fight club, capitalism ruling over the society and communism as the answer to it exemplified by the narrator’s apartment and his obsession with his furniture with Tyler Durden as his communistic tutor and guide, and the topic of Zen-Buddhism and its concept of the life circle exemplified by the way of living of Tyler Durden.

Overall, Fincher manages to adapt the novel to a film capturing the themes and topic discussed and treated in the novel marvelously. Looking at the numbers the movie “Fight Club (1999)” succeed at the box office with $100.9 million worldwide.

Illustration List:
Fig.1 "Fight Club" Poster
. At: https://dspncdn.com/a1/media/692x/9d/b9/36/9db936757d9fd84117baafc043eafdb2.jpg (Accessed on 11/12/2017)
Fig. 2 "Fight Club" Novel Cover. At: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/514qXrYZ5sL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (Accessed on 11/12/2017)
Fig.3 Final Scene. At: https://i.imgur.com/JK4WmBA.gif (Accessed on 11/12/2017)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Collaboration Project | The Granny (Textured)

The following Moom model including the props are not my work, it is actually the work of my colleague Greta from our group project. I decided to give the model some additional details through texturing such as the knitting logo on top of the helmet, the buttons on her shirt etc to let the model resemble my concept art as such as possible.

Body Texture

Helmet Texture

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Documentary and Mockumentary | “What We Do in the Shadows“ (2014)

Fig. 1 "What We Do in the Shadows" Poster
In the year 2014 the New Zealand mockumentary horror comedy film “What We Do in the Shadows“ written, directed by, and starring Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement was released reporting the every-day-life of vampires. A selected camera crew was granted the permission to record the daily activities of the vampire group consisting of Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr and later on their new companions Nick who eventually becomes a vampire and Stu who becomes a werewolf after a certain incident. However, what makes “What We Do in the Shadows“ a mockumentary film?

First of all, what is a documentary film? It is most commonly known as a non-fiction movie whose sole purpose is to inform the audience about nature, crime, historical events or cultural facts by investigating events according to the topic of the documentary via camera. Mockumentary, also known as docucomedy, is a subgenre of the documentary film which focuses on the comedic way of informing the audience about the topic through its fictional setting and parody. This film genre mostly utilizes improvisation as a means to help maintaining the illusion of reality. Instead of having a narrator “What We Do in the Shadows” utilizes the interaction of the fellow vampires with the audience and the interaction between themselves as the way of communication and information transfer.

“What We Do in the Shadows” starts off with written text explaining what the documentary is about: every-day-life of a secret society and a camera crew is allowed to film the occurring events and is granted protection during the filming. After this short introduction the audience meets one of the vampires: Viago. He was sleeping in his coffin throughout the day until sunset, so he will be able to move around without being burned to a crisp by the sunlight. The comedy already starts here: instead of waking up as a normal human being he rises from his coffin as if gravity does not have any effect on him. Soon after he introduces the camera crew to the remaining vampires living in the house including Vladislav who is disturbed while being cozy with some girls, Deacon who sleeps like a bat and Petyr the oldest of the vampires aged around 8000 years with an appearance resembling Nosferatu.

Fig. 2
Throughout the movie the audience is presented facts about vampires in a humorous way ranging from having troubles getting up from the coffin and having meetings about daily chores to having the ability to hypnotize mortal humans and not being able to see their own reflections in the mirror which leads to asking other fellow vampires for advice in choosing a suiting outfit for the night hunt. The camera crew follows the group of vampires around while they are hunting for food at night. The gentle soul of the three Viago always worry about the furniture or the floor getting too dirty with the human blood while feasting and lays down newspaper. They document their night walks, run-ins with another werewolf group and their attempts of joining a club.  Afterwards Nick and another girl are invited for dinner at the vampire’s place. However, they eventually end up as the secret society’s dinner. Petyr accidentally turns Nick into a vampire and so the camera crew gets the chance to document the transformation from human into a vampire, how to deal with immortality, the sun, having the ability to fly, being able to turn into a bat etc. Soon after Nick introduces the secret society Stu, a mortal human who manages to widen their worldview and shows them how to use computers to search for information. Eventually, during a tragic accident Stu gets turned into a werewolf by the group of werewolves which the vampires always pick a fight with.

Overall, “What We Do in the Shadows” manages to parody the conflict between vampires and werewolves with various humorous interactions. Even though one might think it is a horror movie, it is actually the exact opposite: entertaining and funny.

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 "What We Do in the Shadows" Poster. At: https://zuts.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/what-we-do-in-the-shadows-poster.jpg (Accessed on 09/12/2017)
Fig. 2 At: http://www.forgetthebox.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/what-we-do-header.jpg (Accessed on 09/12/2017)

Monday, 4 December 2017

Collaboration Project | Car's Interior

 I took the car model from my group project colleague Graeme and tried to texture the interior of the car. The results are shown below and the scene will be used as the first one in the animation when the granny tries to put in the key to start up the car.


Friday, 1 December 2017

Collaboration Project | Granny's Car Key

The development of the granny's car key. I was modelling the key in university and continued working on the texturing at home. However, when I opened the file on Maya 2018 at home the model was a complete mess. I had no other choice but to redo the entire key. This was the result of the messed up opening key folder when I opened it at home.

Afterwards, I had no problems with the file, so I would finish making the key and texture it.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Character Design Class #7

In today's character design class, we were given to draw staging exercises with a combination of couple characters. The ones that I got were: a mad scientist and his creation.
As for my character project, I have moved to storyboarding.