Saturday, March 26, 2016

Dawn of Justice: Because Sometimes Even I Do Film Reviews

The following is a film review and attached to a blog which is connected to my webpage.  Odds are the pictures were gotten online from another source...but they are for reviewing purposes only.


So, after a much shorter rehearsal than I am used to I figured I would go see Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Sadly I had gotten ahold of some spoilers months before, but these are my general thoughts.

I didn't hate it.  Was I a huge fan?  Not really.  Was it the worst movie ever?  Oh please.

Let's start with what I liked about the movie.
Sexy Alfred.  Really, Jeremy Irons was my favorite part of the movie.  Mostly because no matter what he does Jeremy Irons exudes this charm and intelligence that just makes my little nerd heart go crazy.  He aged well too.  He is everything Alfred was ever meant to be, and then some.  A strong character to protect and shepherd a lunatic (Bruce Wayne) on his mission for vengeance, retribution and justice.  He is kinda like cowbell.  I gotta fever, and the only cure is more Alfred.
I know some people will hate me for saying this.  But, I really liked Eisenburg's Lex.  Hear me out.  When the villain first entered the Superman universe he was an aging mad scientist bent on world domination and destruction.  Then he was a super man or sorts himself fighting crime using machines until Super Boy turned him bald and killed his creation whom he loved as a son.  Ooops.  Then in the 80's they totally revamped the character and turned him into the most evil thing imaginable.  A corporate executive.  Most recently he was retold as being the son of an abusive alcoholic.  Born into poverty he vows never to be poor again.  This is what they did with Eisenburg.  This bizarre hipster Zuckerberg wannabe is actually what we'd get if we made Lex a real live person in the modern era.  Disgusting and creepy isn't it?  "BUT HE WASN'T BALD," you say.  Like with real people, even in the comics, the baldness occurred with age in the case of Luthor.  He always started his maniacal rampage with hair.  They really just didn't give this particular Luthor a decent plot line.  Even Eisenburg must have been saying..."why would I do this?"  But I think the character was pretty spot on.  He'd have been a great Riddler in another time.

Ben Affleck will never be Bruce Wayne, but he was a good Batman.  I didn't hate his performance as much as I thought I would.  Dude got yoked.  The scene at Luthor's Party is amazing.  Holly Hunter is always amazing in everything she does.
So what did I not like about it?
I will ignore the plot holes.  Which are explained in detail here.  
First of all.  If you want to make the Death of Superman.  Make the Death of Superman.  Honestly it's like they couldn't pick what movie they were making.  
If another movie about Batman opens with his parents dying I am going to strangle a kitten.  Seriously, Thomas and Martha Wayne have died enough.  We know what happened by now.  Please let the Wayne's rest in peace.  Bruce is old enough I think the nightmares about their death have gone from nightly to weekly at least.  Why is Bruce always waking up from a dream in this movie anyways?  He aways seems to be suffering from night terrors.  If he is sleeping with all the socialites and models I am sure they would have warned one another by now.  "Liz, I know he is hot and rich and seemingly normal.  But the other night after a really good session, he woke in such a fit he nearly beat me to death.  Seriously.  I didn't run into a door."  All those dreams could be pulled from the film and nothing would be lost.  Not a single, solitary plot point would be missing.

So many questions.  When did Lois and Clark start dating?  Doesn't this pretty much prove the glasses disguise isn't working?  Why is Superman such a jerkwad face?  Honestly?  They give him absolutly no reason to hate Batman.  Why is it that Bruce and Clark hate one another?  From the second they meet they are at odds.  I think they both might be a little more kind to one another.  Seriously Bruce?  You are gonna tick off a press man?  Clark, you are going to pick a fight with the richest man within a hundred miles?  Why is Wonder Woman even here?  She doesn't even serve a purpose until the fight with Doomsday.  And who was their costume designer for Wonder Woman.  They need a strict talking to.

If you think about it, they give Batman very little reason to hate Superman.  He tore down my building and killed a lot of people, including one I may have liked a little and orphaned one little girl.
 Seriously, Batman didn't even known Wallace until he found him trapped under a beam.  It just seemed like the characters would have understood one another a little more.

Honestly, while the heroes look like the comic book versions of their characters (save for Xena:Wonder Warrior) they can't play the every day versions of the characters.  The closest, and you will never hear this from me again, is Ben Affleck.  Cavill is the same guy as Clark Kent.  (I miss Chris)  

Gal Godot.  Don't get me wrong she is very pretty.  You could bounce a quarter off that face.  This is why she will continue to be hired, because they can't tell me it is for her acting.  (Kate Winslet had a better butt:See Triple 9) Gal Godot has a gorgeous face and can throw a punch, but she really needs a dialect coach to get rid of that accent.  I will say this forever, Wonder Woman was patterned after a female body builder.  Did Zack Snyder even read the comics?  Have you seen the muscles drawn on Wonder Woman.  Her creator, William Moulton Marston, had a serious desire to be dominated by women.  Good Grief!  She will beat you down!  Gal Godot is way too small to be Wonder Woman.  I know she worked hard.  Diana was drawn after female body builders so as they got more muscular, so did she.  Sure she is a scientist and healer, but she is also an Amazon.  And this is me nitpicking here...why didn't they give her blue contacts?  Wonder Woman is Blue Eyed.

I could go on forever about unnecessary plot devices and how they were trying to make the franchise.  Is it worth a watch.  Ehh.  A good rental when you want to join the "in" crowd.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bitter Bloggings of An Optimistic Actress:Money Makes the World Go Round!

When I was a little girl, I dreamt of being in plays and on TV.  I loved it all.  The glamour, the clothes, the paychecks, the classes, the good friends.  Everything about acting was everything I wanted.
Things have not changed today.  I still dream of being on set.  In my worst nightmares, I am onstage with fifty people making up lines and hoping we get to the next scene, completely unaware of what the next scene is even about.  In my greatest dreams, I am sitting backstage playing musical instruments I could only hope to play and singing for an audience that isn't even there.
*Seriously, I have been memorizing lines and last night I had a terrible dream that I was running 
late on opening night."*  
Well, I can't actually say they haven't changed.  They have.  Now I have bills to pay, most of them forced upon me(but let's not talk politics), some of them of my own doing, but all of them have to be paid.  This is the cost of being alive.  I don't have cable.  I cook at home for myself as much as I can.  I take maybe one vacation a year, and that is usually for two days.  When I am not doing a show I teach acting and dialects, bartend and hold the occasional CPR class.  You know, the things that are necessary to eat and not dig a deeper hole for myself while I try to make my way towards living the dream, working as an actor 12 months out of the year instead of 9.  And I am making headway, no thanks to the economy and the world in general.
Where is this all going and where did this come from?  Yesterday my boyfriend handed me a newspaper.  Yes, I still read newspapers.  In this newspaper I saw a few plays listed and one given a great 10 our of 10 review by a friend and fellow theater lover.  I love seeing good theater reviews, but that was not what got to me, it was WHO put it on that make my brain itch.
Last year, while I was in Beaufort playing Pirate and auditioning all day, a friend of mine sent me a link to a great studio they had been attending.  I looked it up and instantly fell in love.  They offered training workshops for longer periods of time where you spent a day to seven days a week rehearsing and practicing your craft.  That is so great, I thought, I can go here and practice acting every day.  Then I looked at the cost.  I'm not saying it was expensive, but I don't think I could live off the universe for 4 months.  Seriously, a month at this place would cost me a third of my yearly salary and literally did not guarantee I was going to be making money afterward, just that I would be a better actor.  While I think it is worth the cost, I have starved for my art and will do it again, to spend that money would go way beyond starving for my art into killing any more chances I have to audition.  Did I mention this friend who was taking classes was quite wealthy?  
This bummed me out for a day, until I went to do some modeling for a painter.  So I went in and told her about how bummed out I was and she had this great story.  Once, when she was a little low on funds, she paid for a workshop with a well-known painter by working for him.  This gave me some hope so I emailed the head of the studio asking how to join and mentioning that I am REALLY short on cash, any cash I make has to be used to get to auditions and feed and house myself, but would be willing to work it off, be it by teaching something or taping or selling tickets or scrubbing the toilets or cleaning his house for free.  It didn't matter what it was, and I wasn't asking for a handout, I just would not be able to pay cash.  
The response from the head of the studio made me first sad and then angry.  He said he only accepted cash.  I get it.  He offered me a class where they only met once a week that still cost 3 times more than I spend on food in a month, and I love eating.  And said if I couldn't afford that, I could always take their one day class.  Which cost $10 less than that.  If I can't pay for the more involved studio, I am not paying part of that to meet for 4 days, or worse, once.  Seemed really offended that I would ask him to teach me in exchange for anything but cash because he had been in the acting game for fifty years and he was worth the price.  I get that you worked hard sir, and I respect that.  But even I give a few free classes to students because they can't afford it, or because I don't know if they are going to like what I tell them. And it's not like I was asking for free.  I was offering one service for another.  I am sorry if you were offended.  I just really wanted to work with you.  He then said to email him back when I had the money and was serious about my career.  
At this point, I politely thanked him, said if I ever had an extra 6 grand lying around I would happily pay him (and I do sincerely mean it) and if he ever offered a scholarship to please let me know.
He then immediately emailed me back and said he would never offer a scholarship.
So I have been applying for grants to go to this acting studio.  I told you I meant it.  Yes, I think acting seven days a week is worth it and there is never a bad education.  This was who put on the show with a cast entirely from his studio.
It's what is rarely discussed in this profession.  It is meant for the wealthy.  Or for children whose parents devote their lives whole lives to giving their child an acting profession in some way or another.  I have met several people in my life who were at Sundance this year, funny enough they just started getting enough money to pay for things on their their 30s.
Honestly, people are talking about it.  Even the great Dame Judi Dench mentioned it.  Even Spacey send the ladder back down to help people up.  *As a quick side note, Middle-Class England families include doctors and lawyers, in other words people who can afford to pay for school.  Yes RADA and LAMBA still charge their students about $10000 a year on top of their government funding.  If you are American and want to go you are looking at $20000 a year American not including the cost to live there.  I wanted to audition and so I looked.*  
Let me just break it down for you.   Good headshots are a minimum of $200.  Really you should be getting those every three months (hands on anyone who actually does?), or every time something on your face changes, whichever comes first.  You have to pay for a casting websites.  I know most of them offer a free version but you have to pay $2 for ever submission, why not just pay for a small package that gives you access to self-submit.  That runs about $300 a year...over $500 if you include IMDb and Backstage.  Then there is the equipment to shoot auditions, which is thankfully only a one time cost, but still, about $900 for a basic set up.  Or you can pay a taping service $25 every time you tape  You can't live off a regular phone anymore so you need a smartphone to keep in touch with the world, $80 a month.  $75 to cut your reel together.  $10 a month gym membership.  $250 to pay someone for a speed scene if you have no film to put on your reel.  The list goes on and on and that doesn't even include having to pay for food, rent, utilities, gas, health...which, according to the government, should equal about $1600 a month for a single individual.  No wonder most of our most famed actors came from families who could afford it.
Is it fair?  Probably not.  Is it right?  Not even a little. We have lost hundreds of Mark Ruffalos...Ruffaloes? the need to eat.  Seriously, Mark Ruffalo did a Clearasil Commercial in 1992 and then didn't work for 8 years.  There are so many AMAZING actors out there who can't afford the big acting studios.  They can't afford to attend the premieres and watch the plays due to the cost.  I know I will not go see a show simply because I can't afford it.  They can't afford to pay the best headshot photographers out there to get headshots done.  Really, if you can't afford to pay for these things,  some may say you should just give up on acting and find another job.  It's not for you.  And for some, this is for the best.
But there are those of us who are just stubborn.  Maybe a little proud and insane too.  Maybe we just want this more.  So we work, and save.  We quit jobs to go work regional theater.  We take 3 weeks off a good paying job, or just quit altogether, to go and shoot a film where we make $125 a day.  We sit in our backyards and tape short films.  We save for 3 month to take a workshop that costs $100.  We beg a little to get into studios, or save to be able to go to The Actors Studio auditions in NY.  (By the way the Actor's Studio is free.) We apply for grants.  We don't sleep.  Much.  We are poor actors, and we will not go quietly into the night.  We will prove we are worth it and we will show you we can.  And when we get as high as we can go, we will reach back and pull others up.  If we can't climb and high we will push those who need it most higher.  Who knows, maybe one of those someones will reach back with a helping hand.