Brassed Off Britannia

Brassed Off Britannia

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:54 pm 
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Spouseperson and I went to see "Lincoln" last week (recommended) and had time to peruse the approaching attractions display in the foyer.
In order, they were "Mature scenes - sex scene, brief gore", "Mature scenes - violence, sexual references", "strong violence, coarse language", "supernatural themes and violence", "strong bloody gore", "nudity, coarse language and sexual references", "coarse language and drug use", "mature themes and coarse language", "strong sex scenes".

All but one of these are "recommended for mature audiences" viz must be 15 years of age. (But who checks?)
One was MA = must be 15 and attending in the company of an adult (someone 18 yrs +). A team mate, brother's friend etc will suffice.
I've worked with these people; they are NOT mature at 15. Their brains and moral codes are still being developed.

What is it that fascinates people with high-level violence that they would choose it for entertainment/relaxation?
I had a 14-year-old that carried a laptop (well before it was common, even for adults) on which he had saved "Tennessee Chainsaw Massacre", which he watched repeatedly. When I asked him why, he said because he thought it was fun.
What once - a generation ago - was banned is now 'mainstream'(?). Sequences of films like "Saw", and many like them, none of which I am likely to see, are pitched at a prurient interest in violence.
Likewise the masses of horror which now occupy space in the local DVD stores.

I enjoy the TV series "Bones" but I have to wonder why it must include the lurid scenes of disemboweled cadavers with maggots crawling out of the eye sockets. Is this what we want to watch in order to enjoy ourselves? Surely it can't be germane to the plot for us to see in such detail and extended viewing.

Adelaide has had - atypically - several shootings since New Year. A police reporter said, "Ten years ago, you would be punched to the ground, five years ago, you would have been stabbed. Now you're likely to be shot."
What has changed? Not the availability of weapons, but the willingness to resort to them. Where life is cheap, why preserve it?

Repeatedly, I find I turn off programs of comedy festivals etc, simply because I cannot endure the constant level of profanity that now seems essential for comics. I heard plenty of it as an OR in the army and even more in high school (yet vastly less while in the prison). I have no taste for it in my life when I seek genteel refinement.

Besides, what's wrong with "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phil 4 vs 8

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:35 am 
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I cannot disagree with any of that Grizzler but 2 Corinthians 4:4 seems to offer the answer as to why.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:40 pm 
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GG, I have a theory or two. You may not find them convincing.

I think the trend is - so to speak - mission-creep. Each director tries to outdo his predecessor; audiences who have witnessed one semi-horror are constantly being primed for a greater horror; there is a vicious circle in the making. And there is - again so to speak - a quantum leap with each new generation: a youth inured in childhood will not recoil in adolescence or later, until, in maturity, he might be concerned over his own children. Too late: the pattern is set.

In the films of my youth, there was a bang and a cowboy baddie fell from his horse; it was impersonal. Leone and Peckinpah, deploying colour, introduced the gouts of blood which, had we stopped to think, we knew were really there; the frailty of the human body was revealed, a death was slightly less objective now. A hideous logic takes us on to the current bloodbaths. Interestingly, the Bond franchise has largely resisted the trend to retain favourable certification.

Why violence at all? I think we all know that dismemberment and the like is always possible - warfare, of course, but also terrorism, RTAs, industrial accidents - since human physiology is so vulnerable. And I think sane people, of any age, are aware they could barely handle the trauma of the reality, whether as victim or witness. However, the situations where such violence often takes place have their own appealing excitement (action, adventure, heroism, the adrenalin rush), and there is an attraction in experiencing these situations by proxy: we all like to prevail. Hence not just movies but video games, which advanced from Pacman and Space Invaders (violent us-against-them routines, though disguised as innocent) to the current less innocent batch. Just as colour admitted more realism to film, so technology and CGI have facilitated the representation of violence.

Now I'll venture something more contentious. I think this trend was launched, in principle, by the Swinging Sixties. I know I address those who have only admiration for this era, but the sudden release of social constraints opened the door for the porn and horror industry. Hitchcock's crafted suspense gave way to Poltergeist (or whatever), where even the preliminary stages of horror were visually horrific, and sex more explicit. Once boundaries are crossed, there is no way back. We have arrived at a stage where adults feel they can do/watch as they please without regard to any social criterion; simultaneously they have lost some control over their children, who expect the same privilege. It is a downward spiral; its up-side - the easing of undesirably restrictive codes of behaviour (from dress to dating) - is only modest compensation.

I'll leave for now the serious matter of copy-cat violence.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:20 pm 
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Senex Iracundus wrote:
GG, I have a theory or two. You may not find them convincing.

I think the trend is - so to speak - mission-creep. Hence not just movies but video games, which advanced from Pacman and Space Invaders (violent us-against-them routines, though disguised as innocent) to the current less innocent batch. Just as colour admitted more realism to film, so technology and CGI have facilitated the representation of violence.


I agree. When I hear, "...pushing the boundaries", I translate that as transgressing the limits. i.e. trespass (legal term).
I believe "Wild Bunch"was the first film to show the cowboys being shot where the slow-motion shows the impact with the chest and the exploding haemorrhage. Yes, imdb tells me it was Peckinpah.
I am aware of CGI video games where points are added for car-jacking, abducting the woman driver, and beheading her while an accomplice restrains her. Who wants to do this "for relaxation?"
To my eye, the woman bears a disturbing resemblance to Sharon Stone. Why? And would it matter if it were an anonymous female? Or child?
And now we have 'R'-rated games, previously denied entry into Australia. Does anyone genuinely believe these will not be played by 12-year-olds?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:37 pm 
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Could there be another side to this? The suggestion is that graphic violence with faces blown away and much splattering of blood might lead the young into violence, but what is the effect of those cosy cowboy films where everybody dies so nicely without a bullet hole in sight? Does that not give the impression that killing and dying are easy and clean? I have on a few occasions watched scenes of shootings that have shocked me sufficiently to put me off any idea of even handling a gun, let alone shooting someone with it. Cinema without violence would be pretty boring and some of the ghastliest, most graphic murders take place in Midsomer to delight the nation, and the gorier the better.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:55 pm 
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One of the most enjoyable films I've seen recently is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Not a bit of violence, sex, indeed anything that would upset your grandmother.

It simply offers a sharp script and a host of fine British actors.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:56 pm 
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Cumberland Cockney wrote:
I have on a few occasions watched scenes of shootings that have shocked me sufficiently to put me off any idea of even handling a gun, let alone shooting someone with it.

Having carried a loaded weapon professionally and been trained (and trained many others) to use it, I can separate need and legal purpose from 'leisure'.
And a simple rule applies: don't carry it unless you're prepared to use it.
Quote:
Cinema without violence would be pretty boring...

What a shocking indictment of our era. I'd elect for the noble, the uplifting, the inspiring, the challenging in preference any day.
Quote:
and some of the ghastliest, most graphic murders take place in Midsomer to delight the nation, and the gorier the better.

Really! Not in the version we see in Australia. I see no similarity between the Midsomer version and the 'slasher' films where mutilation and gore are central to the story.
A simple scientific principle applies here: that of stimulus and response.
The first ride on the roller coaster is terrifying, the second is thrilling, the third is fun, the forth... why would you bother.
When you're 12 years old and have seen it all - including the bestiality- what do you do next for a thrill?
Why watch when you can participate?
Thus, as the threshold of stimulation is raised, so the response to anything less is diminished.
When you hear the loud bang, and spin around to see the pile-driver, the second bang might make you look up, the third is background noise and produces no further reaction.
So it is with explosions, car crash scenes, the rapes, the killings.
Hence the escalation.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:09 am 
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Cumberland Cockney wrote:
Could there be another side to this? The suggestion is that graphic violence with faces blown away and much splattering of blood might lead the young into violence, but what is the effect of those cosy cowboy films where everybody dies so nicely without a bullet hole in sight? Does that not give the impression that killing and dying are easy and clean?

Logically, there might be cause for concern. But it doesn't seem to work that way. After watching such films on a Saturday morning, a gang of us would romp around the fields with our own six-shooters, downing the foe, or sprawling dead on the turf when it seemed right. We knew it was play-acting because we could do it too. I think the message of Hopalong Cassidy & Co was that what is good and decent triumphs over what is bad and dishonourable: I actually felt some of that even when I was 9. It may be a naive message that has to be radically revised later, but it's not a bad starting point for kids untroubled by practicalities and nuance.

Possibly part of the problem now is that the advances in realism obscure the fact that the entertainment is still only play-acting at root, while the more complex plotting and reliance on visual SFX over-ride any moral component.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:23 am 
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Grizzled Grizzler wrote:
Quote:
and some of the ghastliest, most graphic murders take place in Midsomer to delight the nation, and the gorier the better.

Really! Not in the version we see in Australia. I see no similarity between the Midsomer version and the 'slasher' films where mutilation and gore are central to the story.

GG, you are traducing a national institution with this foul slur! OK, the Midsomer murders may not be quite in the blood and gore category of Saw, but Orlando Bloom was beautifully impaled on a pitchfork and when the carefully sawn through barn floor gave way another victim fell squidgingly onto the upturned farm rake machine deliberately placed below. We had the stage performer who slit his own throat with the (replaced) prop razor during Amadeus, girl stabbed through the heart with the home made trident, the magician's 'Janet' in the Cabinet of Death when the retractable knives didn't, spun to death in the tumble dryer, several beheadings, and who can possibly forget the Death by Trebuchet? Brilliant! And the body counts! People wrote in to complain if any episode had fewer than four.

British drama at its best!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:02 am 
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They're doing it again.
"Carrie", a film I was happy to avoid in the mid-70s is back in a modern form, duly adjusted for 21st century taste (needs?).
Yes, MA 15+ this time, even allowing that more is admitted in lower rated films now.
So be assured, your need for more gore, greater horror and more gratuitous abuse will be catered for.
To think this is our diet for relaxation, recreation, enjoyment. And people wonder why street violence in our young is escalating. Again this week, a middle-aged man came out of a pub and was bashed by three young strangers. He died soon after.
Another young man was stabbed to death after a disagreement with a fellow patron at another venue.

Another common element is the abundance of cases that happen after 1 a.m. Now why is that?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:16 am 
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I'm afraid I have to disagree with you again, GG, because I regard the original Carrie as a masterpiece. Far from being a slasher film packed with gratuitous violence, it was for the most part a condemnation of school bullying and fanatical religion that destroyed a young girl's life. The revenge scene near the end was brilliantly filmed to show how such bullying might turn a timid child into savage killer, the twist being with her kinetic ability that allowed it once her mind was turned, the point being that in her disturbed state the violence was indiscriminate, not directed against her aggressors.

I doubt I shall bother with the remake, agreeing with you that it is probably built more on the violence than the psychological trauma and will completely miss the point.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:01 am 
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In an era where multiple car crashes, torture and mayhem, gratuitous sex (of all kinds) and horror are 'leisure' (sic) activities for our entertainment, spouseperson and I celebrated my birthday with something gentler.
Yesterday, we saw "Swimming with men" and found it gently delightful. No, it won't win any awards or become one of the classics but a bit of genuine humanity goes a long way. Some robust laughs and mild pacing were welcome in an era of loud soundtracks (even to the partly deaf) and stroboscopic imagery that have become mainstream.

Recommended: three stars.

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