Saturday, June 23, 2012

Auto-Tuning Hurts Everyone. So Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wives, and Hide Your Husbands

Auto-tuning is a fad in music these days that really needs to be laid off on. Okay, I will admit that in the rarest of cases, auto-tuning can add an interesting splash to the odd song. But the majority of the time? Music is being irrevocably hurt by it.

Auto-tuning a mediocre singer to make them sound better? This cheapens music to make anyone think that they can become successful in it if they have enough money or technology. What about the people with real talent who should be in the spotlight? It makes it harder for them to get the recognition they deserve.

And then there are those that believe people those who do in fact have good voices can get away with using auto-tune. For example, someone on my local radio station said he felt that since Nate Ruess, the lead singer of "Fun." has quite the pipes on him, it’s okay that he uses auto-tune in many of his songs. But why? Why take away from his natural vocals by covering them with an effect? Sometimes the technology can in fact make someone sound worse than they are naturally. I mean, I’m sure Rebecca Black isn’t nearly as scratchy in real life as she sounded in “Friday," right?

I mean, I don’t have anything to do with the music business or any say at all in what becomes poplar, so I’m sure this fad will continue for a long time to come. But that’s the great thing about the diversity of music these days; I can just choose to listen to something that I do like! And that's the ticket to ride on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pixar's "Brave" is Coming! And People Will Find Any Reason to Make a Fuss

The new Pixar film Brave comes out this friday, and I am very excited to see it. The main character, Merida, looks adorable, sassy, and ambitious. What's not to like?

Yet I've caught wind that certain circles have been raising some issues about this character. Why? Apparently it is due to the belief that she is simply a perpetuation of the "fiery redhead" stereotype.
This leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
How many times have people moaned about how there are no strong, independent female characters for young girls to look up to? How many princesses have come and gone that simply sit around and wait for a prince to make it in the world and rescue them? Merida is making huge strides as a princess who wants to make her own way in the world, even though she could arguably have everything given to her on a silver platter. She appears to be a great role-model for young girls to live their own lives, uninfluenced or governed by any man, so I really don't know why they are picking on this tiny little fact that she has red hair.

It seems to me that even if there is this stereotype of a "fiery/feisty redhead," at least it's better than all those other jokes about redheaded children having "gingervitis" and having no souls. Not to mention that maybe they gave this Scottish princess red hair because-- in medieval times, especially-- many people of Scottish descent just happen to have red hair.

Also, do you know how many times I've seen the stereotypical "ditzy blonde" character appear in a film? Countless. And I don't hear anyone harrumph-ing about that one.
So I don't know what to make of this. All I know is that I am very excited to see this film when it comes out this weekend, regardless of any issues other people may have.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There's a Lot of Deep Stuff About Prometheus Out There, So Let's Get Superficial

*** Pretty Spoiler-Less, but tread carefully just incase. 

People are writing really deep articles on both the thrilling and problematic aspects of Ridley Scott's new film, Prometheus. Generally, these focus on theme and plot, but I just want to talk about one aesthetic thing that confused me in the making of it.

Leading up to the film, essentially all of the promotion was focused on Charlize Theron, making it seem like it was basically "her" movie, despite Noomi Rapace being the arguable star of the whole thing. Well, that makes sense given that she is the biggest name, and many people still don't know who Michael Fassbender is (for shame). But with the big names of Charlize Theron and Ridley Scott behind it, you'd think that no other huge names would be needed.

Well, then they decided to cast Guy Pearce in the role of an old, decrepit man. And believe me when I say that I am a huge fan of Guy Pearce and love him in absolutely everything, but it seems to me that this was a bit of a misstep. He wasn't needed --that is unless you count the promotional pieces he was involved in with the lead up to the film. I just don't understand why the creators would take all the time, money, and energy to put prosthetics on his face when they could have just gone with an older actor. It's not that he didn't do a good job, it's just that with all the makeup work, he looked fake and it cheapened the experience. Frankly, he looked like old Biff in Back to the Future, Part II.

So in the end, that's all I really wanted to point out from the film. Think what you will about the plot and the visuals and the thematic nuances. I'm not here to tell you what to enjoy or not, I just was troubled by that one, superficial aspect of the cinematic experience. Especially considering how all the other aesthetics were quite brilliant (in my opinion).