Friday, May 6, 2016

Last Post for the weekend

Yeah, I know, I don't usually say "I'm about to blog/not blog for x amount of time", except for that last time I said, "hey, I think I'll try blogging daily". But this weekend, Stephen and I are doing a "Digital Detox" (Thank you, Straight and Curly, for the suggestion). What this means is NO ONLINE ANYTHING from 9 p.m. tonight (local time) until 9 p.m. Sunday night (also local time). The gals over at Straight and Curly are in Australia, so they're already well-entrenched in their DD Weekend, and by the time they get any notice that we're also participating, we'll still be knee-deep in it, and they'll have hit their Sunday nights.

If you need to reach either me or Stephen this weekend, we will have our phones on/with us, but they'll be looked at ONLY as phones. That means No Texting, No Emailing, No GAMES, No GPS, no anything "smart" that a smartphone is built for. It'll be a throwback weekend, if you will, to the time when you had to call someone on their landline, and possibly leave a message, and wait to get back to them. It'll be like, when you made plans to do a thing, and the only way to back out of those plans was In Advance. I'll be attending a birthday party for my friend Stephanie. I've already mapped it out, and I need to Write Those Directions down (or print them), because as of 9 p.m., I'm not only going to turn off our internet router for 48 hours, I'm also going to turn off my computer. Gonna give it a break.

I've already let Stephen know that he can still write this weekend, but it'll have to either be longhand, or just in his non-internet-based word-processing software. We're not having a Luddite Weekend. We still have access to technology. But we're turning off the blue light as much as possible. We're going to go to bed each night after winding down without a small screen.

If you think you might like to try a Digital Detox, go ahead. Tell me about your experience. I'm sure I'll have something to say about mine, after 9 p.m. Sunday.

In the meantime, would you like my review of Captain America: Civil War? Yes, you know you do.

I love movies. In the past several years, I haven't seen nearly as many movies in theaters as in my younger past, partially due to time, partially due to money, and partially due to just inclination in general.

I love comic books and superheroes and the movies made about comic books and superheroes. I'm as much a fan of an action flick as I am of a broad comedy or weepy romance or epic historical drama. I want there to be a good story, though, and I want that good story to unfold in a visual way so that I can follow it.

We've been binge-watching the Marvel Avengers series of films (on Blu-Rays, because that's how we roll). We're completely caught up on the story they've been unfolding for us. As we were watching Age of Ultron last night, I commented to Stephen about some visually-stunning portion of the film. He knew exactly where my comment was going. The camera was either locked-off, or on a dolly, or possibly on a steadicam rig, so the cinematography for this particular action sequence was fluid, followable, and really quite beautiful. They slowed it down for just one little bit. It wasn't jumpy or frenetic, and yet it was still edge-of-your-seat action.

This is my problem with Civil War. It has a good story, but for much of the first hour (out of 2.5 hours), it is Completely Unwatchable. Do you know why? Because the camera work was handheld. There were fights that happened, that I couldn't really tell you who was fighting whom. There were car chases, where again, I can't say who was chasing and who was fleeing. Car chases do not EVER need to be filmed with a frenetic, bouncy, cameraman-has-Tourette's style. There were also bits of two-people-in-a-room-talking that Just. Kept. Moving. STOP IT ALREADY WITH THE FREAKIN' HANDHELD CAMERA WORK!!!!

I know that filmmakers get younger and younger. I get that the handheld style was created for fight scenes, and to combat the short attention spans of Millennials. But the audiences are aging. What's the average age of the stars of this particular action film? 39. Thirty-nine is not young, people. I mean, yay, there seems to be more work for those of us who are not fresh outta high school or college. I mean, yay, there seems to be quite a bit of really physical work for actors of my generation. Did you know, that of the cast of "fighters" in this film, there are only TWO "Millennials"? Elizabeth Olsen is 27 this year, and Tom Holland is 20. Then we get four folks in their 30's, four in their 40's, and TWO in their 50's. I betcha, when they were watching the dailies, if they watched the dailies, almost every person who watched the handheld camera work looked away during those scenes. I'm also willing to bet that no one said a word. I'm sick of it. And what I mean by that is that it makes me feel nauseous to have to watch it, and so to combat that nausea, I look away. There were honestly three distinct moments during the first hour that I almost left my seat to demand a refund of my ticket. That's bad business, folks.

And so, even though, overall, I enjoyed this installment of the Marvel Avengers Universe, when the next one is about to hit theaters, I'm going to check the names of the director(s) and cinematographer, and if it's the same team that shot This One, I will not see it in a theater. Take this installment under advisement, especially if you feel the way I do about handheld camera work.

See ya in 48+ hours!


  1. I didn't really like the shaky cam either, but it was only in the first part of the movie. It mostly went away later on. Other then that I loved the movie.

    The Russo Bros will be doing the next 2 Avengers movies Part 1 and Part 2. Other directors will be doing the rest. So you can somewhat rest at ease.

    And good job on the digital detox. More people should do that kind of thing more often.

    1. Oh, and FYI, the Russo's are 43 and 42 years old.

    2. If they use the same DP, I won't see the next two in a theater. I wish more people who don't like handheld camera work would speak up.

    3. I know they mentioned it on Collider movie talk that they didn't like the shaky cam in the first few fight scenes. And I think people have spoken up about it on the comic book movie news sites as well, so hopefully they won't do that next time, as they didn't do it that bad for the Winter Soldier and the Russo's did that movie as well. Not sure what changed between those two movies.

    4. I am ready for the idea of "spasticam" do die a quick but PAINFUL death. I think the only appropriate time for its use is possibly horror flicks, but that's because I don't watch horror flicks because I don't like to be INTENTIONALLY frightened. If the camera is putting me in the room with the fighters (because WE are the lens, of course), then let's leave it for the people who WANT to be scared or startled.

      It wasn't just the "first few" fight scenes. It was every fight scene and every chase scene, and a LOT of just dialogue scenes in at least the first hour. They reduced the use of it by the time we got to the MAJOR fight scenes more than halfway through, but it just needs to go away. Can it just go away? Just go away? Please? Just go away? (<- paraphrasing Meg Ryan in "Kate and Leopold", fyi)

  2. Replies
    1. Um, okay, thanks, Garima? Not sure what your comment was specifically in response to, but I love meeting new commenters here, so now that I'm a week late seeing your comment, um ...

      You may have noticed that my more recent posts have been talking about Depression, so I hadn't checked my gmail for any comments on older posts; I've only been checking the blog stats directly, which doesn't let me know that there's a new comment if I've lost count... just that there's been at least one new visit. So, sorry 'bout that; whatcha wanna talk about? I promise I'll be better in the future.


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