I’m working with Kate on this one and our plan for the project is on her blog:
The film, Gangster Squad, came out in theaters in the beginning of the year and just came out on DVD this week. I was very excited when this movie came out and disappointed when I wasn’t able to make it in theaters. It seemed like a tribute to the old school gangster films with a modern flare, which would really make for a great movie. However, this film simply came up short. The lack of depth in the main characters and the inability of the plot to surprise the audience kept this movie from being really spectacular. That said, it wasn’t all bad and if you are just looking for a fun new movie, this one will do.
If this film did something right, it entertained its audience. Although the plot was predictable, it was still fun. You can basically tell the story yourself based on watching the previews that told you it was about a couple of cops that had to throw their badges away to take out a mob boss. Another good thing about the movie was the action aspect. The shooting scenes, where there are bullets flying everywhere, were pretty cool and the special effects were decent.
As I said before, the characters were very shallow. There was supposed to be a love connection between Emma Stone’s character and Ryan Gosling’s. Although the two would make a very attractive offspring, I just didn’t feel the love connection. Also, I think the director wanted to present an internal struggle within the cops and them struggling with the fact that they must use illegal means to catch someone who breaks the law. But there just wasn’t enough character development for me to care.
Gangster Squad had the potential to be a great movie, but there just wasn’t enough done with it to bring it to the blockbuster level. Still, if you were like me and wanted to see it before, I would still see it. It’s still an okay movie, just not great.
Verdict: Watch if you are bored and want to see a different type of action movie, but don’t cancel any plans to watch it.
To be honest, I am just as confused about what we can and can’t use for this video assignment as I was before we started talking about the copyright stuff. It seems to me that as long as this video is not used to promote a certain cause that would raise money or promote certain people, then we can use anything. If this is simply a video made in an educational setting and that is not intended to be used for any other purpose, then how could we get in trouble for using anything that isn’t ours? I feel like as long as we cite everything we use that isn’t ours, then we should have no problem. I think we can use songs and videos that are not ours to achieve our educational goal for this class, as long as that is our only purpose (which it is). So I don’t really see how we have to balance fair use laws with author rights because for this project, we are covered under the laws. At least it seems it to me. I could be very wrong in which case I may end up going to jail. Think they’ll let me at least take online classes?
As we talked in class, many people were discussing how the power of words to evoke one’s imagination is far superior to the power of an image. I simply disagree, and I think John hits on some key points in his blog post about this. Sure, if we are talking about the description of a certain character in a novel vs. the image of this character in a movie, it is clear that the movie leaves less room for interpretation at the surface. What I find the key to this argument to be is the distinction between interpretation and imagination. While books require the reader to form their own images of what a character or setting looks like, movies don’t allow the reader to form their own interpretation about that specific character or setting. This does not mean, however, it restricts the imagination of the reader/viewer. It simply changes the frame of imagination in the audience. By this I mean that while books require their readers to use imagination to form images, movies require viewers to use their imagination to form context of an image. Take the picture of the orc vs. a written description of the orc. The text obviously allows you to form a visual picture in your mind of what the orc looks like and acts like, which requires imagination. The picture of the orc makes people associate that image with other images in their life (as John described the image of the Devil) which in turns sparks the imagination of the viewer to make assumptions about the image. These assumptions can be about the character itself, yes, but images allow for a deeper imaginative quality. Images allow the viewer to use their own personal experience to form a backstory about the image, about its past and what happened before the image, and about its future and what happens after the image. Essentially the point I’m trying to make is that textual description is a bottom-up imaginative process. Many words are used to help a reader form images about the subject. While images are a top-down imaginative process in which a viewer takes an image and uses imagination to form the context and story behind the image. Both text and images require imagination to interpret, but one is not more powerful than the other.