The Grey Area – Man of Steel: Chances Of Survival

I have a feeling some of the misconception about survivors trapped in rubble stems from one shot of people climbing down into ground zero where a woman looks like she’s helping someone up out from under some debris. While the film clearly shows that these are people climbing down into the crater, as I’ve attempted to illustrate it also clearly shows that the chances of having survived within the area of impact are absolutely zero. Like we’ve discussed here before with General Amajagh in Batman v Sueperman, this criticism is a matter of people injecting information into the storytelling instead of simply following what they’e being given. And like that and so many other cases, the information they’re injecting is bad information, which leads to bad analysis and bad conclusions because people assume they know things they clearly do not. However, I suspect that the people who fervently stand behind this terrible criticism are not ones who will be swayed no matter how detailed an analysis might be. Like the song says; haters gonna hate.

The Grey Area – Batman v Superman: A Motivated Patsy

I have noted that much of the difficulty that people have in regards to assessing this movie is an unwllingness or inability to let go of certain expectations and presumptions so that they may view the material strictly as it is presented. This is true for the great majority of critics, but it is also true for many fans, especially when it comes to the character of Lex Luthor. How you analyze Wallace Keefe’s role in the film depends chiefly on how you analyze Lex’s. It’s easy to look at the character of Lex and interpret the storytelling in a way that supports the idea of the genius master criminal with the intricate two-year plan because ridiculously complicated schemes are what we expect from the character of Lex Luthor. A super-villains gotta super-villain, right? So we allow for certain assumptions to be made, regardless of how reasonable they may or may not be, because we understand Lex as a character that is as intellectually capable as Superman is physically. But that expectation flies in the face of the fact that every other aspect of the films storytelling is firmly rooted in some logical process. Just making sure to leave enough information on screen to allow for an analysis like this to even occur takes a hell of a lot of work, and my appreciation for it grows exponentially every time a challenge is met.

The Grey Area – What’s More Important Than Experience?

Writing this has been difficult for me because I really thought I was learning something about something in this game of talking movies. But what I’ve come to realize is that no matter how much information I gather, no matter how much of the lingo I absorb or how well I can phrase a critique, none of that matters. I don’t like director James Wan’s Aquaman. I don’t like how it’s written and I don’t like how it’s produced. But the reality is that none of the little nit-picks I have with it, none of the things that people might agree with me are weak or poor makes any difference because a lot of people had a really great experience with the movie. And my defense of films like Fight Club or Sucker Punch, no matter how factual or persuasive I might be, don’t mean a goddamn thing if someone had an unpleasant experience with the movie. There is, and has been, a great argument over whether or not film can be objectively analyzed or if everything is subjective, and that’s ultimately a terrifying conversation for someone like me. Because if film is totally subjective, and the only thing that matters is the experience it creates, then the reality is that nothing matters except what you feel, then what the hell have I been spending all my time trying to learn? Honestly; it can be incredibly humbling to realize how little you really matter.

The Grey Area- Home Theater 101

Jessi and I use our home theater for watching TV and movies, as well as just sitting in the dim evening light listening to music. With the amount of time we spend in that room, given that it is our living room, it makes sense to me to invest as much as I can to get the best performance out of that space. This won’t be true for everyone but, honestly; if watching movies and TV at home gives you pleasure, and you spend a substantial amount of time doing it, why not try to get the most out of it that you can? No one is telling you that you have to build a whole room and cram a lot of high powered, expensive gear into it – personal entertainment is not a competition. But by putting a little time into research, and making smart monetary investments, you can easily put together a good performing system that fits you space and your needs.

The Grey Area – A Certain Brand of Justice

A line of storytelling can be traced that runs through almost the entire first half of the movie, making the brandings something more useful than just Batman doing, “a really bad thing”; storytelling wise. There is an entire substructure of storytelling that operates beneath the main events of the plot, adding rhyme and reason to events that would otherwise appear random. An interesting thing to note is that even with the foundation this storytelling provides, because it’s never directly confronted by any entity within the story, understanding how it works becomes more or less irrelevant. The answers are there to find if you want to ask the questions, but you don’t have to have those answers for the movie to function. You don’t need to know why these things happen, you just need to know that they do. Could director Snyder have made all of this more obvious? Of course he could.

But being obvious isn’t interesting.

The Grey Area – Watchmen (2019)

Watchmen isn’t like other comic book universes that exist only as a sandbox for the characters to play in. Watchmen had a purpose; a specific message it was attempting to convey that was laser targeted at the audience the book was going to attract, with the movie following suit in its own way. If the show is just using that world as a backdrop to tell a story about how putting on a hood, airbrushing your face black and driving around in a cool car can’t stop racism we’ve kind of been there already. If it’s a show that ends up being about the theme of legacy in some way that’s very cool, but I fail to so-far grasp why the Watchmen IP, with it’s specific narrative perspective, seemed like a good fit for that. Right now I don’t really care about any of the characters, the story lines aren’t grabbing me and it isn’t exactly going to be setting any new high-water marks for visual presentation. If something doesn’t bubble up in this next episode to really nail my attention to the grocery store counter I may not be willing to extend my disinterest any further.

The Grey Area – Man of Steel: More Adventures In Just Catching The Plot

Storytelling is a really weird, fickle thing that doesn’t always work the way we, the audience, believe it should. Sometimes you can’t see the strings being plucked but you still feel the vibrations moving things along. Other times it’s like a cat sitting on your chest, staring you right in the face and demanding your attention. The artistry is in the choices made; what to obfuscate and what to reveal, when to reveal it and then, finally, how. And these choices are all wrapped up in your intent; your overall approach to how you want the audience to take in the storytelling as you present it to them. These are just a couple of examples of how you can render storytelling in ways that aren’t strictly expository. Breaking down and understanding these ways of approaching storytelling here will help you build out your toolbox, and that can open up all sorts of new avenues for understanding and appreciating the art of film storytelling.

The Grey Area – Is Cinema Subjective, Or Is It Cinema Is Subjective?

Maybe the new wave of cinema is all about reactionism, and the art will be to find different and exciting ways to manipulate and control the audiences responses. It doesn’t sound all that great to me, but the world of film doesn’t exist to service my desires. So who knows; maybe the theme park is the new avant garde of film making and we’re all witness to a new renaissance of storytelling. I have my doubts, but thankfully it’s not up to me. Ultimately it’s up to the filmmakers to decide what the new cinema will be. But in this heavily corporatized entertainment environment where big spectacle incurs big costs, are the filmmakers really driving the bus?

The Grey Area – Batman V Superman: Generally Speaking, He Might Not Be Dead.

This issue is about more than just a particular scene in a Superman movie. There are a lot of films that bank storytelling on items of religion, science, engineering, philosophy, theology, etc., that are probably not within the scope of knowledge for the average movie goer. I don’t know if this is a uniquely American problem, but we have a tendency to see the intelligence of others as a threat; a perceived slight towards our own cognitive limitations that we simply cannot tolerate. My people here in the U.S.A. seem to take particular joy in poking holes in the work of seemingly intelligent filmmakers, especially when they refuse to play down to lowest common denominator. We’ll take any opportunity to blow up details in their films and smear the resulting intellectual goo all over the internet like we’re finger painting the phrase, “YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN ME!” in our own feces.

The Grey Area – One Aspect Of Artistry

Looking at one piece of storytelling By M.Schinke Its the little things, OpinionNerds. Before we get started an important note: I am not a filmmaker. I hold no position in the industry or artistry of film making. This piece is based on research and observation; not experience. So if I’m getting anything wrong I’d surely…

The Grey Area – Grounding Out

Sharing my fantasy By M.Schinke Before we even get started I want to get this out of the way: Yes, I know all movies are fantasies because they are all made up. That’s not what we’re talking about; stop being a pedantic prick. That’s my shtick and you’re trampling all over it. You only paid…

The Grey Area – Just A Copy Of A Copy Of A Copy…..

Talking about sources and changes By M.Schinke Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! Turn and face the strange, OpinionNerds! In 1968, author Richard Hooker (real name  Dr. H. Richard Hornberger) published his book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. Based on his experiences in the Korean War the book was somewhat a success and in 1970 the book was…

The Grey Area – A Cartoon Outlook

Talking two-dimensional desires By M.Schinke Let me explain myself, OpinionNerds! I was supposed to be taking a break; a little mental vacation from analysis and breakdowns and just trying to figure out people for a little while. But I have a thought that keeps bouncing around my head as I continue to see comments about…

The Grey Area – Captain America: A Journey Of Character

Examining Cap’s arc in the MCU By M.Schinke I can do this all day, OpinionNerds My contemporaries over at ComicBookDebate.Com recently posted an article that takes a look into the arc of the Captain America character as it appears across the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The article makes the point that as a…

The Grey Area – Calibrate Your Expectations

Talking picture quality By M.Schinke It’s better to be accurate than good, OpinionNerds! I think it’s fair to say that everyone who has a TV, projector or monitor display of some kind knows about these settings that control how the image looks. Brightness, contrast, LCD back light, color, sharpness, gamma, color temperature and a whole…

The Grey Area – Deconstructing Mythology

Tearing down tall tales By M.Schinke Have I got a good one for you, OpinionNerds From all accounts, Zack Snyder has an affinity for the concept of mythology and how it relates to the modern world. Also from accounts, Zack Snyder has a love for deconstruction because he made one movie that deals with the…

The Grey Area – How Do You Do That Do You Do

Thinking about thinking about movies By M.Schinke Analyze this, OpinionNerds! Something no one has been asking me about is how it is I go about the work that I do for my What Was That All About series of articles, wherein I attempt to interpret the metaphor or allegory of a particular film. Well much…

The Grey Area – A Fantasy of Heroism

What did he say this time By M.Schinke Wake Up, OpinionNerds! At a recent event where the 2009 film Watchmen was screened for a private audience, director Zack Snyder made comments that after the original book was released and tore down superheros to their roots, those who hold to the idea that their superhero’s are innocent…

The Grey Area – Speaking In Film

What is film language By M.Schinke Do you see what I’m saying, OpinionNerds? Around these parts when we’re discussing movies we often get into talking about what we call the language of the film making. In context, the definition of language we’re concerned with is the use of an agreed upon system of expressions (images,…

The Grey Area – Cinemas Fidelitus

Talking pictures By M.Schinke Let’s get technical, OpinionNerds Fidelity. In our context of film and home video, fidelity is defined by by Dictionary.Com as, “The degree of accuracy with which sound or images are recorded or reproduced” Fidelity is the reason why motion picture cameras and lenses cost so damn much, why so much money…

The Grey Area – Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

Discussing darkness for darkness sake By M.Schinke In the grim darkness of the internet, OpinionNerds…. Not that we haven’t covered this already but let’s do this again – there is no such practical concept as a piece of storytelling being dark, “just for the sake of being dark” unless it is being purposefully exploitative. It…

The Grey Area – What Do We Know and When Do We Know It

 Informing a sequel By M.Schinke The Grey Area is all editorial content by our writer. These pieces are not specifically analytical or scientific, and the opinions contained within may be ones you do not agree with. So try to keep that in mind when replying. Fore warned is fore armed. Not too long ago I…

The Grey Area – Stream of Consciousness

Streaming movie mayhem By M.Schinke Hear me read this for The Film Exiles Podcast HERE! So hey OpinionNerds, Zack is back. The news hit today that director Zack Snyder, joined by his wife an producing partner Deborah, oh he of the Superman and Batman of the pop culture mainstreams darkest nightmares, is joining the man…

The Grey Area- Stream Of Consciousness

Welcome to a new section here at *NotThePopularOpinion we’re calling The Grey Area. This is a place where I can post just some quick thoughts I have, short statements, questions for the world, stream of consciousness stuff and whatever else is on my mind. Call it a more or less real time peek inside my…

The Grey Area – Error and Growth

Learning from mistakes By M.Schinke Believe it or not, I love being wrong about things. If I’m wrong about something it means I’ve engaged in a subject that I don’t have the proper information about, if I have any information at all. Being wrong is an opportunity to learn something new. Learning is growth, and…

The Grey Area – Can Good Acting Make A Pointless Scene Worthwhile?

Examining a scene from Captain America: Civil War by M.Schinke Action, OpinionNerds! Captain America: Civil War (2016), written and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, is not my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m going to apply a phrase here that I use a lot when talking with my friends, “I don’t hate…