Saturday, 25 October 2014

Let's Talk About Music - What I'm Listening To Right Now

Yes, another music post! Someone should really comment saying whether you actually like music posts or not, but no-one has complained (yet...) and so I shall continue on as planned! This is just a post letting you know what my songs of the moment are, maybe they'll spruce up your music collection or maybe you'll hate them, who knows!

AWOLNATION, not your fault, concert, singer, black and white
Everyone's eyes are blacked out ... art!
Rock out with this one guys, it's a proper ear worm and if you're not singing it three days after listening to it, then you're the only one. And it's not your fault. Puns(?)!

Manchester Orchestra, now that you're home, artwork, woman, television, bed, polaroid picture
Polaroid picture ... art!
Another rocky song, but what can I say, I'm really diggin' it right now.

Mary Lambert, secrets, woman, red hair, nose ring, floral dress
Nose ring ... art!
This is definitely a 'walking/dancing down the street with a big smile on your face' type of song. A type of song that makes you say, "I don't give a shit! You don't like me? I don't give a shit! Just missed my train? I don't give a shit, gonna take the day off!".

George Ezra, cassy o', man, blonde, lying down
Stairs ... art!
Anything by George Ezra is golden in my book, however Cassy O' is one that always stuck with me a little longer than the others. But only by a fraction, it was a tough call I tells yah.

cajun dance party, the race, sunflowers, artwork
Sunflowers ... art? Art.
I've had Cajun Dance Party on my iPod for a while now without actually really listening to them, so imagine my pleasure surprise when this gem cropped up on shuffle one day.

I know this isn't up to my usual standard of writing, but I'm going to play the university/part time job card again. Times are tough, ya-dig? However I really do enjoy writing for this blog and I want to ensure that I'm putting out the highest quality content I can every week, so hopefully back to regular broadcasting next Saturday. Hope y'all have a good week.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dr Toothbrush, or How I Learned to Stop Dancing and Stab my Own Face

My sincerest apologies, dear readers, for not starting out the next hundred historical posts of our wonderful blog on something more interesting, but I've had a rather busy week so the best I can do is give you one of them there life updates what the kids like doing nowadays. Here go:


If you don't already know, I took up swing dancing last year. That's the one with all the spinning and big bands and the like. Speakeasies, flapper dresses, other 20's malarky. 

The Great Gatsby 2013 Leonardo di Caprio champagne
This, but with more dancing and less social commentary/Jay-Z.
The past weekend was the first dancing workshop of the year by our swing society and it was the most hectic two days ever. I got about a total of 8 hours sleep between over 15 hours of shaking ma thang like it ain't nobody's business; and that doesn't include the dinners and drinks with the lovely people I was hosting for the event either. Swinging takes up a lot of time it seems. Also haha, yes, it's the same as that sex thing people do in car parks; we get jokes about it every event and I'm tired of it! Yes, we dance. Yes, we share partners in caravan parks. So what?

Caravan stock image
If ever there was a reason to learn Balboa...
Sadly the photos of my dapper outfits and epic swing-outs are yet to be posted by our resident photographer, but I'll be sure to update the post when they do finally surface. If you're interested in picking up some swing dancing yourself, look around your local area for a club or, alternatively, throw on some Glenn Miller and just get bouncing. Also I recommend you have a look at the legends of Lindy, Shorty George and Frankie Manning, and spend the rest of your night despairing at the fact that you'll never be as good as them.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

So, You Want to Make a Film?

Today guys, I thought I'd lend to you some tips and tricks in terms of film making that I've learnt over the years at university. I am highly aware that I have no real authority in film making that I can be telling you the do's and don't's, but I can tell you that I've made a lot of mistakes over the years (a lot), so I can tell you what I've learned from those mistakes and hopefully save you a bit of pain in the meantime.

Camera, Nikon, DSLR, external microphone,
As a canon owner I feel slightly traitorous posting a nikon.
Firstly, and I cannot emphasise this enough, is that audio trumps video. Your image quality could be amazing, so sharp and crisp and clear and so on and so forth, but if your audio quality sucks, then you're in trouble. Peoples eyes can take a bit more torture than their ears can. If I'm watching a short film and a character opens their mouth to speak and I cannot make out a word their saying, either because it's too quiet or muffled or static-y or whatever, my enthusiasm to continue watching said short film plummets by about 3000% in the space of 0.2 seconds. Same with audio being out of sync with the video, which is an unforgivable sin in my opinion - because it's not enough for me to stop watching whatever it is that I'm watching, but it is enough for me to sit and be irritated beyond belief. Sync your shit!

If you need to choose between camera quality and sound quality, it is sound all the way. I know that most DSLR's have internal microphones, I know mine does, but do not rely on these for all your sound recording needs, an external microphone is definitely something you should get your hands on. This is why I love it when we get assigned a filming exercise which doesn't require particular focus on the sound; like this week was setting a film to a piece of music, so all the audio that has been picked up by my camera will be deleted and it's not something we have to worry about. For filming your audio, I would recommend getting silent noise (I've forgotten the technical term for this, sue me), which is where you film something where nothing is happening so that you have some sound that you can loop for when you don't need any sound in a scene but maybe noise, like people talking or something, has been picked up in the background.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Aaand We're Back Where We Began: 100 Posts and VHS 2

I couldn't resist this glorious Tony Moore (The Walking Dead) poster. It's awesome.
Yup. That's right, the big one with the two zeros after it. A real life milestone. I don't do well at keeping going with or (on rare occasions) completing projects, so to have worked on a blog long enough for it to have reach three-figure entries is a big thing for me. In celebration of all of our hard work here (what? You think I'd have forgotten about Rhona's awesome efforts?!) I've decided to hark all the way back to the beginning. The origin. Patient zero.

My second review on this blog was of the low-budget cult anthology horror V/H/S. If there are two things I love it's horror films and anthologies of horror films, so it's only fitting that to hail in another 100 posts of barely coherent raving we should look at its successor: V/H/S 2.

Tagline: "Rise of the Betamax"

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone ... more like Winter's Groan, am I right?! Nah, I actually really liked this film, I just couldn't resist the joke. Please, read on.

Winter's Bone (2010) Poster, jennifer lawrence, boat, trees, woods
Tumblr has ruined pictures like this because all
I can think of is this shit.
First things first (I'm the realest...), Winter's Bone is a 2010 adaptation of the novel of the same name, featuring a then unknown, (every age I've read so far has been different, so let's say between eighteen and) twenty year old Jennifer Lawrence. It's director Debra Granik's second film; the first being Down to the Bone (what is with this lady and the word 'bone' being in the title?), a movie that put Vera Farmiga on the map. Right, back to the point. Winter's Bone follows Ree Dolly (Lawrence) as she tries to track down her meth-cooking father because he put their house up as his bond, so when he skips his court date, the local sheriffs come a-knockin'.

gif, jennifer lawrence, winters bone
Hat equals want.
Almost everyone that Ree comes into contact with whilst tracking down her father are relations of some sort - this is a very family-oriented film. Ree is trying to find her father to save her family home, where she raises her two younger siblings because her mother is severely mentally unwell. It's a story about a very tight-knit community as well; everyone knows everyone else in the town - Ree's neighbour helps her out with food and other such things because she know's their family is struggling . This kindness is a commodity that Ree relies upon greatly (her friends also help her with transport and such), because she would never ask anyone for help; as she tells her younger brother, "Don't ask for what ought to be offered".

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Film Favourites: Army of Darkness

Army of Darkness 1992 bruce campbell sam raimi film poster
You just grew an extra testicle simply by looking at this poster.

The Film

Sam Raimi's third and most spectacularly over-the-top outing in the Evil Dead Trilogy, Army of Darkness, pits our super-everyman hero Ash against legions of evil Deadites in 13th century England, answering the age-old question: What would happen if you made a one-handed chainsaw-wielding chin fight medieval demon zombies? The answer is the collective sexual awakening of the universe.

Army of Darkness 1992 bruce campbell sam raimi film boom stick
I think my stick went boom.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Some Short Films for Your Enjoyment

In Ben's previous blog post he highlighted how difficult it is to juggle doing university work and writing high quality posts every week for you lucky readers to consume, so I thought I'd reiterate that a little bit before I reveal what today's post is going to be, because I know y'all are gonna groan whilst rolling your eyes. So, yeah, I agree, it's difficult trying to put a lot of work into university whilst simultaneously trying to put up a decent post on this blog once a week. That's about it actually. On with the post!

I'm cheating a little bit this week by combining university work and putting a post up - winning - by going through some short films that I think you should have a look at; how does this relate to my university work? Because my course is awesome and watching short films actually constitutes as work. I watched 'Avengers Assemble' last night which equalled as doing work. Well, watching that was work, but that's for another post. As per usual, I'll be linking to where you can view the respective films in their titles and this isn't presented in a top five structure, so surely it counts as something new and not at all another list article, right? Oh bugger off, lists are cool - and so are short films! No longer bound by conventional narrative that feature length films often adhere to, short films are left to their own devices and what beautiful devices they are.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Easy Ornaments: Squishy Balls in a Vase

Difficulty - 1/5
Duration - 1/5

Ben Thompson red and blue bio gel spider plant vase
"I shall call them squishy and they shall be my balls."
Who'da thunk third year of medical school would be so darned difficult? If you've not noticed over the past few weeks, I've been having quite a bit of trouble making sure we hard working folk here at The Pop Culture Cynic have the usual premium quality content that you've grown to expect ready and waiting for you twice a week, and it's not looking like that issue is going to let up any time soon. The schedule is all over the place and I've not even the time to bash out a few emergency posts, so essentially consider this a formal warning that things might be less than structured for a while thanks to the joys of adult responsibility that come with pursuing a career in the dark arts. What ever happened to the simpler days of youth, eh?

suave baby with man sunglasses
"When Don Cuddleone asks for mashed banana, he means now, damnit."
Sadly, this less than desirable situation has meant you're getting the crappiest post imaginable: I'm going to show you how to put a plant in a vase. Yup, shit is getting straight up fucking mental in here. I'm a crazy person, I don't know what I might do next! Crochet? Cat breeding? A light spot of synchronised dusting? Anything could happen! I'm almost embarrassed by how boring this is, so I've decided to aim this post at a very specifically pitiful demographic in much need of being pandered to: divorced, unemployed 40 year old men.

Your wife has left you. First, buy a vase and a pot plant. Sure, you're still alone, but now you're responsible for the well-being of a basic life form; you have purpose! Then buy these really cool things: