The Importance of Setting

Thinking ahead to the movies coming out soon, it’s rather amazing to see the volume of films that are not particularly catching in spite of their great reviews. Maybe comedies just are not as appealing anymore, and perhaps the Fast and Furious series should have ended a long time ago, but many of these upcoming movies promise to be a hit among the general population. It’s interesting to wonder what makes them a bad choice for some of us, and why they don’t exactly fit our cinema palette. The best answer I’ve come up with so far is also the simplest—setting.

kitty_vs__godzilla_by_kevinlionheart-d3oiqo8Let’s be honest, drama that happens to more people is more exciting, and the setting has a huge impact on our first impressions of a movie. While Pacific Rim might have been a typical cheesy action movie with a very predictable plot and average (at best) characters, it was still a fairly entertaining movie simply because of giant robots fighting giant aliens across the entire planet. The bigger the better, after all, and this movie has us viewing gigantic MMA off of coasts, inside metropolitan cities, and even at the bottom of the ocean. And while we’re thinking about how a simply grand setting can really tell a story, let’s consider some of the biggest hits of the past.

Obviously we have to think of comic book characters, who continue to make the best movies of all time every time they visit the big screen. And, of course, more often than not these heroes are tasked with saving “the world,” or in some cases just a very big city. Batman’s very own Gotham City, which looks suspiciously similar to London and Chicago at times, is meant to be one of the largest cities in the world. Mentions of a land outside of Gotham are rare, and it gives the impression that these islands are the entire world, which gives Batman the ability to appear to be a world savior like Superman without the ability to fly. Of course, Superman himself might be a better example, as he does repeatedly save the globe and travels to other planets as well.

Space is a pretty big setting, after all, and it is a focal point of modern science fiction. With hit franchises Star Trek and Star Wars causing one of the biggest fandom arguments of all time, and even recent movies such as Gravity making big debuts, space is definitely a popular place to host a movie. In the end, space is pretty much just the next step above oceans, which are terrifying objects in their own right due to their seemingly-infinite vastness and depth. There is no shortage of hits set in the ocean, either. With top sellers like Titanic, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and even Finding Nemo covering quite a lot of ground (water?) by the end of the movie, it is no surprise to see these settings as key features of big hits. To sell big it seems you have to think big.

Big doesn’t necessarily need to mean size, either, and there have been plenty of hits that take a different spin on “larger than life.” There are a slew of great mafia and/or casino movies (often the same thing) that are centered on big spending, rather than big environments. These are a guilty pleasure that most people share, because there is nothing like watching Tommy DeVito live life to the fullest before getting whacked, or watching a gang of criminal masterminds try to rob a casino. It is entertaining to live vicariously through the high-life shown on screen, and these movies spare no expense in filming at the fanciest resort casinos. That includes a place like the Borgata in Atlantic City, N.J., which is the home of the World Poker Tour’s World Championship. With these movies comes a picture about the richest parts of social life, and it doesn’t hurt that mafia, casinos, and crime almost always go together.

Thinking about this just makes upcoming movies seem…too small in comparison. It is not surprising that they aren’t as exciting—what compares to drama that impacts the whole world, and beyond? Or crime that involves enough money for us to live comfortably for the rest of our lives, as well as eight thousand of our closest family members? Hopefully movies like the Godzilla remake in May or the next Transformers will be big enough to impress. And hey, if the movie itself isn’t that great, at least there should be no shortage of explosions to enjoy.

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

Reviewed This Episode: Blue Ruin, The Punk Singer
Trivia: Comic book Movie Villain Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: Should Sony Pictures spin the Spidey villains off into their own films?
Sponsored by: StanleyHelps.net , a great podcast about making money online! 

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo – also known as C2E2 – is a convention spanning the latest and greatest from the worlds of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games. Bringing the best of popular culture to Downtown Chicago, C2E2’s show floor is packed with hundreds of exhibitors, panels and autograph sessions giving fans a chance to interact with their favorite creators and screening rooms featuring sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit either the big or small screen!

J.AnthonyKosar

This year marked C2E2′s FIFTH year here in , and CinemaJaw was on hand to meet fans, grab interviews and imbibe craft beers.

chuck_yoda_go

Chuck Moore of Comic Related

We were treated to a SFX make-up discussion with winner of Face Off season 4 J. Anthony Kosar, a movies promotion talk with Ashley of Allied Integrated Marketing, and a comics, movies and podcast rap with Mr. Comic Related himself Chuck Moore. It was a wonderful time as always and we made a slew of new friends as well as visited with old friends! Plus, big shout out to Allison and William for traveling all the way from South Dakota to visit us at C2E2!

JawHeads

We hope you enjoy!

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw 188, Baby Movies

Reviewed This Episode: Under The Skin, Captain America Winter Soldier
I for an I: Other Woman
Trivia: Father Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: Which Movie should you show your kids first, Wizard of Oz or Star Wars?

Babies are tricky little buggers in life and in film. The latter tends to use the wee ones as a plot device, which given babies impact is largely forgivable. At their worst many of the so called “Baby Movies” have been some of the most terrible, cutesy, celluloid travesties of all time. However, at their best Baby Movies can be transcendent.

Quinn

In celebration of Matt K’s most recent addition, Quinn, CinemaJaw is grabbing some diapers and a pacifier and covering their Top 5 Baby Movies!

In addition to additions we cover all the hits: I for an I, CinemaWAR, several reviews and another Matt Vs. Eliaz trivia bout (will Eliaz’s 6 and 0 undefeated record remain intact?). So let us swaddle you mentally, and rock you gently, and virtually. CinemaJaw is here so sing you a sweet sweet cellulullaby. Shhhhh… it’s ok.

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw Minisode #2

Hi JawHeads

As you may have heard, our very own Matt K. recently had a new addition to his family. A lovely chubby little baby boy, Quinn!

We didn’t want to go a whole week with nothing, so please enjoy a trivia segment that was recorded for our Indie Movie Special.

Back to new episodes this Friday!!!

Cheers!

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

Reviewed This Episode: Cutie and the Boxer, Noah
I for an I: Under The Skin
Trivia: Soldier movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: shold they make another Godzilla film?

What better way to explore CinemaJaw’s favorite Indie actors that with a couple of great indie filmmakers?

We welcome Charles Huddleston, Writer/Director of Blue

Blue – Trailer from Charles Huddleston on Vimeo.

and Edwin Avaness and Saeed Khoze the Producer and Director respectively of Damn Foreigners

It’s great to have on the creative talents of independent filmmakers!
Have a listen!

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw 186, Star Wars Special part 3 w/guest Cris Macht

Reviewed This Episode: The Muppets Most Wanted, 20 Feet From Stardom
I for an I: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Trivia: Jennifer Connelly/Russell Crowe Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: should the Walking Dead make a movie or stick to TV? 

Whether you use a blaster, thermal detonators, or a more elegant weapon you’ve kicked some ass on the outer rim. Perhaps you had a wookie sidekick and barely made that jump to hyperspace with an imperial star destroyer hot on your tail. Did you make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs? If any of the above doesn’t ring a bell then feel free to skip this episode of CinemaJaw because we are going to a galaxy far far away… that’s right its time once again for The CinemaJaw Star Wars Special. Part 3! This time out we stick to the prequels as we go round Beggars Canyon and divulge our Top 5 Scenes from the Star Wars Prequels.

CrisMachtCinemaJaw

Returning as he does for all our Star Wars specials is documentarian filmmaker and wookiepedia like expert Cris Macht. Cris now has two Star Wars documentaries under his belt and is turning his special brand of fandom exploration toward the world of The Walking Dead with his latest film The Walkers Among Us. We highly encourage you to support his Kickstarter!

In addition to all that, we have the usual antics. Lightsabers flash as we duel on trivia and CinemaWAR. May the Force be with you.

Also JawHeads, just a reminder that we will be at C2E2 this April 25-27. We will be giving away posters designed by our own Eliaz Rodriguez. Take a gander:

Jaws

 

This Episode Is Sponsored By: Lipa.dk

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw 185, Best Young Adult Novel Adaptations w/guest James D’Amato

Reviewed This Episode: Divergent, Mr. Peabody and Sherman
I for an I: Noah
Trivia: Kate Winslet Ashley Judd Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: Should Darren Aronofsky direct blockbusters or stick to the arthouse?

librarySparkling vampires, boy wizards, tom boys who are great at archery. These are the images that spring to mind when the subject of Young Adult Novel Adaptations gets brought up. But perhaps one my plumb a little deeper to get at the truly good stuff. Not that the aforementioned aren’t good, but we are seeking the gems. So this week on CinemaJaw we explore exactly that.

Returning for his third appearance on The ‘Jaw is none other than our go – to guy and fellow podcaster, host of One Shot, James D’Amato. James is a hilarious golden voiced champion of nerdery and geekdom at large and his voracious appetite for film closely rivals that of Matt K. And Ry the Movie Guy.

This episode is bursting at the seams with laugh out loud moments. We hope you will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!

Special thanks to James for hosting us and guest engineering.

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw 184, Movie Club: Citizen Ruth & Dark Comedy

Reviewed This Episode: Citizen Ruth, Awful Nice
I for an I: Need For Speed
Trivia: Movie Car Trivia
CinemaWAR: Is Aaron Paul Ready for the Big Screen?

Welcome to another fine episode of CinemaJaw. This week Ryan and Matt take a look at their favorite Dark comedies in honor of this month’s CinemaJaw Movie Club pick, Citizen Ruth. They also go in depth on Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth with plenty of feedback from the Jaw Heads woven in.

CitizenRuth

Also, Ry got out to the Midwest Independent Film Festival last week and caught up with the creators of indie comedy Awful Nice. Awful Nice, filmed in Branson, MO by director Todd Sklar, his co-writer and lead Alex Rennie and an outstanding cast and crew. Thanks to Mac from MIFF for arranging the interview!

All that plus some announcements. It’s a jam packed ‘Jaw as always!

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

I for an I: The Grand Budapest Hotel 
Trivia: Wes Anderson Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: Should the Watchowskis make anouther Matrix film?

“It puts the lotion in the basket”, “I’m your number one fan!”, “heeere’s Johnnny!” If these quotes terrify you, then you’re not alone. Seeing psychopathy portrayed on the silver screen can be a harrowing and fascinating experience. Just like the crash on the highway that we do not want to look at, but at the same time can not look away from, psychos have captured our attention and seeped into our nightmares. That is why this week on CinemaJaw we are taking a look at our Top 5 Movie Psychopaths.

StevenOggCinemaJaw

Joining us on this journey to the dark corners, is a man who is well known for his turn as the psycho, the character Trevor in the massively successful video game Grand Theft Auto V, actor Steven Ogg. Who better than the man behind the deranged and murderous lunatic that we all love to take on joy rides in GTAV to help us pick out the best movie psychos? No one.  In case you didn’t know Steven was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and had his acting debut with the National Film Board of Canada, he will be in the upcoming film by Justin Zimmerman, Safe, and is one hell of a cool dude! Seriously, after hours and hours spent playing Trevor and basking in Stevens amazing acting and performance as the character, getting to talk to him was a real treat. Thank you Steven for joining us, and JawHeads we know you will enjoy this episode… or else we will find you…

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace

CinemaJaw 182, The Oscars 5 Years Ago w/guest Owen Weber

Reviewed this episode: Ender’s Game
I for an I: Nonstop
Trivia: Airplane Movie Trivia
CinemaWAR: Which series should stop now, Terminator or Transformers?

Let’s face facts. The Academy gets it wrong QUITE often. They botch it, screw it up, kerfuffle, and take a mulligan. Especially when looking back years after the fact it is easy to see the glaring mistakes that make the word snub seem meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, we here at CinemaJaw LOVE LOVE LOVE the Oscars! It is our Super Bowl, our World Series. We just wish that maybe they would reflect of the lasting impression of a film and perhaps wait 5 years to name the winners. That is why this week, we are taking a look at the 81st Academy Awards, the awards given to the films of 2008, which took place in 2009. What did they get right, get wrong, and what films were overlooked completely?

OwenWeberCinemaJaw

Joining us this week is comedian/filmmaker extraordinaire, Owen Weber. Owen Weber is a Detroit native who has spent the last eight years in Chicago performing live and creating comedy shorts . He has worked with nationally-touring comics like Chelsea Handler (E!’s Chelsea Lately), Greg Vaccarello (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The King of Queens), Steve Iott (A&E, Comedy Central) and Ben Creed (Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen).  Owen can currently be seen doing standup and improv at a variety of venues across the Midwest. so, Owen journeys with us down this Oscar hole (that sounds dirty) with us and helps us second guess the Academy 5 years after the fact.

Take a listen!

 

Share the Jaw!
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • MySpace
Tired of slow, unreliable Wordpress web hosting? Try the host recommended by WordPress.org!