Thursday, August 10, 2017

~Blog Project Two~ Topic #4

🎥 Media Product Review 🎥



Hello to all my beautiful readers! I want you to know I spent a significate amount of time searching for the most perfect movie for my Blog Project. For this project, I hunted for something new that I hadn't seen before! After watching movie trailer after movie trailer, I decided on renting the movie, Unforgettable. The main reason I decided to rent this movie was that the movie trailer shows the deceptive use of social media.  I also happen to be a fan of one of the main characters--Katherin Heigl.





🎥 DESCRIPTION 🎥 


Unforgettable was directed by Denise Di-Novi. Di-Novi isn’t new to Hollywood; however, she is better known for being a producer. Di-Novi’s most recognizable works have been on Edward Scissorhands—1990, The Nightmare Before Christmas—1993, and Crazy, Stupid, Love—2011. Unforgettable was Di-Novi’s first directing work.(IMDb) Di-Novi was impressively able to shoot this movie in just 30 days!(VarietyThis production stars Rosario Dawson, Katherine Heigl, and Geoff Stults. 

In brief, this is a psychological thriller about a crazy ex-wife that plots to alienate and discredit her ex-husband's new girlfriend--with hopes of rekindling their marriage. 


Unfortunately, Unforgettable seemed to be a bust in the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie's domestic total gross was less than the production budget. Unforgettable ranked  #7 its opening weekend and then continued to decline there after. 



 🎥 ANALYZE 🎥


Being that Unforgettable was Denise Di-Novi's first movie that she has directed, I have nothing to compare it too. It can be noted that Di-Novi has the history of being involved in the production of dark and romantic comedies. This is Di-Novi's first attempt at the thriller genre. The story of the crazy ex is nothing new to the big screen. However, Di-Novi aimed to set her movie apart from the rest of the cliche plots within this genre.


“I think having compassion and understanding the female villain is what makes this movie different for me,” Di Novi continued. “It’s amazing how much women actually relate to the Katherine Heigl character.”(Variety)



Katherin Heigl is best recognized for her character "Izzie" on one of my favorite television series, Grey's Anatomy--from 2005 to 2010. In 2007 Heigl won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Grey's Anatomy. Heigl movie career consisted of films that cast her as more of an upbeat, fun, and quirky character. Such as The Ugly Truth27 Dresses, and my personal favorite--Knocked Up. Heigl plays more of a psychotic twisted character in Unforgettable, and this is another reason I found this movie intriguing. I have been a fan of Heigl's work since I seen here on the Disney Chanel performing in Wish Upon A Star. 


 🎥 INTERPRETATION 🎥


In today's society, we are seeing more blended families--due to divorce, than ever before. According to the US Bureau of Census"50% of the 60 million children under the age of 13 are currently living with one biological parent and that parent's current partner." So, if you yourself are not directly affected by divorce, I am sure you know someone who is. Unforgettable takes you into the importance of effective co-parenting. Co-parenting can become difficult for some when a new partner is introduced--especially if the ex still has romantic feelings for the other. Unforgettable identifies the heartbreak of watching the one you love moving on with a new partner--then amplifies the reaction with violent behaviors. This film calls out parents that use their children as a bargaining tool to hurt their exes. This film is for not only aimed towards lover's of the thriller genre, but it is more focused to target women. It is geared to intrigue those who are both the ex-partner, and the new partner. 

Unforgettable briefly exposes the growing trend known as 'Catfished'.  The informal definition of 'catfish' according to Urban Dictionary is, "a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances." It can be harmless chat to something as extreme as seen in this movie. In 2015, "54% of people believe someone they’ve met via online dating has used false information, and a survey found that women are 50% more likely to give false information online than men. 1 out of every 10 online dating profiles is FAKE."(Andersen)


 🎥 EVALUATION 🎥

I think that this film was a solid piece of work. It wasn't the greatest movie I had ever seen, but it is by far from the worst. I found that it was suspenseful, with shocking, and yet highly predictable reactions from the main characters. It is hard to not give away the details of the movie to when thinking of examples to share with you. However, I will say that the action scenes were weak, and they could have been amplified for better entertainment--thus adding a higher shock value. Also, if these few scenes had been more impactful, I think it would have made more of a 'date night' movie; thus possibly increasing the revenue of the film. I am not a professional movie critic by any means, but I will say that I agree with the following critics.

"Though this movie has its outrageous moments, 
Di Novi puts the female emotional journey up front
and treats things respectfully. 
But every erotic thriller needs some crazy,
and thank goodness for Heigl's
full commitment to her character's insanity."
Los Angeles Times--Katie Walsh


 "The film gets there eventually,
but one wishes it weren’t so timid about
embracing the inherent schlockiness of the genre."

Austin Chronicle--Kimberley Jones


"Among the less-noted cardinal rules of cinema is
that any movie that takes the title 
Unforgettable will prove to be anything but."
The Atlantic--Christopher Orr



🎥 ENGAGE 🎥



Unforgettable had set up a Facebook page with over 140,000 likes. I remember that Facebook is the first time I had seen the preview for this movie long before it hit theaters. I actually shared it on my sister's page with hopes of getting to watch when she came to visit. We knew that it was a 'chick-flick' date-day movie. In comparison to other Heigl movies such as The Ugly Truth with 1,333,000 Facebook likes--Unforgettable was most definitely a bust. Even with WarnarBro. running the trailer on during their evening dramas.  I excitedly called my sister to tell her that I was going to use this movie for my project. Thinking she tease me about watching it without her--she casually responded with, "Oh yeah, Guy (husband) and I watched that the other day. It might work. I don't know it was okay."  I recognized her passive tone as a sign of unenthusiastic feelings about the movie we once were so eager to see. 

🎥 SUMMARY 🎥


Now in retro spect, after not hearing much about the movie after its release was an indicator that it most likely wasn't that great. It wasn't bad enough for people on my social media to complain about, but there surely was never anyone raving about it. It wasn't until this project that I realize the value in using social media to inquire reviews on movies. I believe that using peer reviews hold a higher value than some of these professional critics. When I read their reaction of not only Unforgettable but other movies--I find my rebellious inner-self wanting to watch the movie! I say this because I do not agree with many of their reviews, and I also feel that is their JOB to be mean! So, the next time I am contemplating on breaking my bank to enjoy a movie at that theater--versus Redbox, I will use my social media accounts to do some investigation. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week 6 Topic 1

Week 6
Topic One

Newspapers


I gather most of my local town news from Facebook. I am part of a few groups that post information on event and issues going on in my town. People on these groups will share articles from digital newspapers, the city council, school district, fire department, and police department. Also, it provides a platform for all the members to share new on any level they would like to share with others.  I follow the original sources on social media as well, however, I have found I appreciate The Buzz in Lebanon for its sense of urgent community matters. The opportunity for community discussion about the information shared is another reason I like this page. I can exchange ideas with others on matters—gathering opinions, clarification, and reasoning. My local news, here in my town, is part of my daily morning coffee routine. I follow this with my Fox 12 News. 


I don’t pay for any news subscriptions right now. I would like to get the Sunday paper—mostly for the coupons, but right now I cannot afford it. I looked up what it would be to have the Albany Democrat-Herald delivered, and the cost is just under $14 per month. This price isn’t that bad; however, I still can’t afford that. I am a poor college kid. So, I buy a paper when I am at the store most weekends. I just hope that there will still be a Sunday paper in circulation by the time I can afford and enjoy a moment to read it.



I am so guilty! I am ashamed! I do not know that much. I personally am dealing with--an overwhelming amount work and stress. I hardly have enough time to do my homework. I watch my morning new sometimes and stroll through Facebook. But even lately I haven’t been on Facebook much. The news is important, but I also am trying to take care of what I need to take care of. 

Week 6 Topic 2

Week 6
Topic Two

Fake News


I do not think that it is appropriate for the president to use his place of authority to undermine particular news companies or take a stance against particular stories. Freedom of the press has some restrictions for libel and slander if they were to be circulating information that was vagrantly untrue or detrimental to President Trump there are a more appropriate means through due process that he could take. Publicly attempting to diminish their credibility undermines the vital role that the news plays for the public, creating distrust for anything they may publish.


The press holds a unique power and responsibility to inform the public of the going on’s of the government. Freedom of the press has been established for the reason--to be allowed to tell the whole story in order educate the public with our being reprimanded. If the press cannot tell the stories because of the members of the government don't want to be heard then it leaves the public powerless to defend themselves. Many tyrannical regimes gain their power by suppressing media and creating distrust of the news, and an uninformed public is left unable to unite against an unknown threat. When the president attacks or restricts the press he is harming the safeguards in place to hold the government accountable. This harms democracy by misleading the public, influencing how they may vote.
Use some examples that demonstrate that President Trump is just telling it like it is or where you think our democracy is strengthened or weakened by the current state of affairs regarding the media and journalism.


These are just a few examples of tweets from the President of The United States. Perhaps these could be seen as telling it like it is but I, personally cannot say they are words from a professional, respectful commander in chief. This of itself could be seen as a mark against democracy by making a mockery of the presidential office, using the authoritative platform to carry out personal vendettas.



“low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe”

“While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS”

“With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!”








Thursday, July 27, 2017

FIRST AMENDMENT, COPYRIGHT AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

WEEK 5 
TOPIC 1

FIRST AMENDMENT, COPYRIGHTANDFREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

I found it surprising on how many people were prosecuted for downloading music. I remember the days of Napster. I was one of many that downloaded music—using old school dial-up internet. My dad used to become infuriated with me when he found out I was downloading music. He watched the news a lot more than me in those days. He was more aware of the severe financial situation the fines were causing families. I was convinced that everyone was downloading music, so it was very unlikely I would ever get in trouble. Well, I was never fined, but could have been prosecuted.


I don’t recall what internet provider that we used at the time, but they used some type of software that tracked the usage. My mother received an email, and certified letter stating that we had a set amount of time to permanently remove files and program from our computer—this is the first time I understood what an IPS address was. If we did not remove them the internet provider would discontinue out service and turn us into the authority. The program was Napster, and it listed 4-5 songs to remove. I remember one was a Lonestar song and the Ying Yang Twins. Needless to say—my dad flipped out and I lost my computer for a summer. I was more upset and concerned about what the fact that they knew what files were on my computer! So, when watching this documentary and learning the history of the situation during that time—I understand why my dad was so upset. He was frightened we could become part of the mass crack down on piracy.


I also thought it was alarming the information the documentary gave about Disney. I did not know that they had their hands in so many different entertainment industries. Also, that is was after Walt Disney died that the company pushed for different change in the laws.
  

I find that it is ridiculous that the different music companies are asking for royalties for songs in once they are reused in movies or another song. Now I completely understand downloading a copy of a song or movie without paying for it. However, once you have purchased that piece of art you should have the right to do whatever your will is with it. Does a person have to pay some type of royalty for cutting out letters and images out of books or magazines to create a collage or dream board? Why should someone have to fear getting in trouble in creating new art out of old art? If a person purchases the original songs then they should be able to create whatever they can with it. Mash ups are one of my favorite types of music to listen to. The largest concern is money is robbing people the opportunity to express themselves freely. Art is dying as it is—so, there should be an encouragement in getting new generations involved in art. There is no such thing as too much art.


Westboro Baptist Church happens to be one of the first groups that comes to mind when I think of free speech gone too far. They are known for their extreme view on abortion, homosexuality, and the soldiers fighting in the wars. They have had a case go to supreme court after they picketed at a Marine soldier’s—by the name of Matthew A. Snyder memorial service. WBC made absurd claims that the parents "raised [Matthew] for the devil" and taught him "to defy his Creator, to divorce, and to commit adultery". WBC cite and information link.

The cited link can give you all the details on the case. They were ordered to pay the family of the fallen war hero a settlement for damages. The WBC has been banned from Canada and the UK—for good reason. This group takes free speech way past the line of protection because they are spreading violence and hate speech. Which should not be okay, and thankfully the Supreme Court agrees. 

Above is my husband rocking his free speech! 

WikiLeaks

WEEK 5
TOPIC 2 

WIKILEAKS


I view WikiLeaks as a very controversial topic. After watching the TED Talk I feel that Julian Assange is being very responsible in the way his team holds and releases information. The information is good for the people to know so they can be informed. My husband, who is prior military, does not like the WikiLeaks. He was convinced it was just a bunch of hackers spreading classified information. After watching this video, I realize that it is the ‘whistleblowers’ who work with in government and corporations that are passing what they feel to be valuable information. I believe that WikiLeaks is good and useful. Assange created a ‘safe space’ for people wanting to come forward with information.


What I like about WikiLeaks is that they just don’t put anything and everything they receive out there right away. They go through the process to verify the information. Now, what would make WikiLeaks bad? It would be if they begin to only show partial truths to persuade a group of people. However, I don’t think this is the will be the case at all. Assange appears to be genuine when he explains that he wants to give out this information so people can be informed on all the information about issues. I believe there is not enough whole truth in our media, thus I applaud Assange and the WikiLeaks team on the work that they do.


History is a fitting example of why this news platform is needed in today’s high-tech society. I don’t want to learn what is going on with in our government and world politics in a history book when I am helping my future grandchild with homework. I don’t want to learn the ‘truth’ after it is beyond too do anything about it. The overused expression—If I knew what I know now then… fits perfectly with life in general. We the people must be informed on what is happing with OUR government and deals with other countries. I think that it is our right to know.


Above are two links regarding Trade in Services Agreement that was being negotiated between the US and 23 other states, also I included the analysis of the documents. These are important things the impact our country which in turn impacts you, and me. I think we all would have a better understanding of what is happening in our world today. How can we the people change things if we don’t know what is going on? I also saw a very interesting article that I want to share and hope others read about Vault7. This will explain the power the CIA has in the technology world. What they are doing and can do is something out of a sci-fi conspiracy movie. 

It is ironic that those who want to suppress freedom of speech are the same people who want to keep secrets, yet know all of yours. I have always believed that the truth will all way see the day of light. It is hard today for the average Joe to know what the truth is in today’s technology driven world. I feel that if the government was always doing ‘shady-shit’ then there wouldn’t be an issue with transparency. The capability to spread mass amount information through the internet allows people of like minded ideas find each other. It opens the doors for information that we need to make well rounded and educated decisions that affect us. However, I understand the difficulty in finding where to draw the line when someone had gone too far with their ‘free speech.’


I had to deal a cyber bullying case with my son. There was a rap diss-track video created by a child that had been bullying my son. This video that talked about my son and how this boy was going to put him in a well, and that if Mikey—my son comes at him, then “Bang-Bang.” I viewed it as a threat at took it to the school and law enforcement. The other boy’s mother argued that it was his artistic expression, and he would never really hurt anyone. But what about my son? Calling him hurtful names, belittling him as a person, then threatens violent harm on my son. In the end, it was a seen as a freedom of speech—wrong and hurtful, but no the less it was art and there was no gun in the home and it was removed off of social media. Then you have the West Bureau Baptist Church showing up at military funerals. Their rights to feel how they feel and believe how they believe. Even though I don’t agree.


In the end, I firmly believe that it is not a freedom of speech issue, government, the internet, or a WikiLeaks issue. It is a human bean problem. Can you imagine what the world would be if people only spoke with LOVE and TRUTH!? This is why I believe in writing and my freedom of speech. There needs to be more people writing truths and getting them out there. I feel WikiLeaks is a step in the right direction.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

~Blog Project One~


Topic #2--Television Show



I for this project I wanted to shed some light on the positive cultural influences that television currently has. There is a show that is produced by Jennifer Lopez, Peter Paige, and Joanna Johnson that airs on the television network, Freeform. Freeform was once known as ABC Family until January 12, 2016 when Disney–ABC Television Group decided to launch the rebranded version of the network. Similarly, too many television networks today, Freeform offers an app that can be downloaded offering viewers the opportunity to watch their programs without having to subscribe to a cable company. This drama is an episodic series that I would classify as a serial program. First airing on June 3, 2013, this family drama is now currently airing its fifth season. I watch it every Tuesday at 8 pm Pacific time.






According to Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, The Fosters got an 88%, and 96% of the audience like it. 

"Intelligent enough for adults,
accessible enough for younger viewers 
and entertaining enough for both, it's a great 
show for parents and kids to watch together, 
and will give them plenty to 
talk about."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gail Pennington



"On the basis of the pilot, the 
show does a slightly better than 
average job of turning off-the-shelf 
ingredients into something diverting
and occasionally moving." 
-The New York Times, Mike Hale



This show is breaking the molds of the Americanized families that we have all grown up watching. The dynamics in families nation wide have changed drastically from the "Leave it to Beaver" days of the 50's. It is nice to see a network that produces television that draws a positive message of unity among all people--, especially youth. 

The "Moms"--as referred to in the show, are an interracial lesbian couple. Stef is a white police officer who works at the same station her ex-husband--Mike. Thier son--Brandon, lives with Stef and her wife, Lena. Lena is a black woman who is a principal at a school called Anchor Beach Charter. This gorgeous school rest right along the beach in California. Brandon, along with his adopted brother and sister all go to this school. Jesus and Mariana are Hispanic twins that the Moms adopted from the state--after their removal from their drug addict mother. The couple adopted them at toddlerhood which gave a chance for the deep bonding and history to develop within the family. The Foster family grows when Stef and Lena decide to take in--then later adopt, Cali and Jude. 

The story line closely follows Cali as the main character, or lead role. Through out the seasons, there has been a lot of drama in each individual characters. Fast forward to the most current episodes, and we find well-developed characters that are deeply entangled with different issues that are seen in real life. Adult issues--parenting, work, and marital. Young adult issues--jobs, college, sexual identity, drug and alcohol, pregnancy, legal and so forth. 

I think of this show as, "If 7th Heaven and Modern Family had a baby, they would name it The Fosters." 

The way the writers tackle current issues reminds me of the show 7th Heaven. Like 7th Heaven, writers show empathy on issues to help teach the audience to think of situations differently in order to understand and 'accept those that are different.' This also offers comfort to the viewers that identify with the different issues. I would say that both 7th Heaven and The Fosters are on they are on the same emotional level. Where there are moments of comic relief, it is nowhere near the comical entertainment of Modern Family. Both shows are allowing the normalization, and voices of the 'different'--minorities in our society, to be broadcast to a large public audience--making them seen.

However, there are a few things that I believe that the writers should have done differently. The biological parents of Jesus and Mariana are depicted to be recovering drug addicts that could not raise the children. The father is a stereotypical Hispanic construction worker. Other minor characters feed into the racial stereotypes. A black character is the one having trouble with his older brother getting in-trouble with gangs and drugs. I recognize that writers are helping reconstruct the 'cultural norm' but they are failing when they continue to allow subconscious stereotypical message flow through the background of the story line. 

Over all this show is a revolutionary show that I believe is helping shape our American culture to become more excepting and tolerant.  It is teaching us that your income, sex, color, and sexual identification are completely irrelevant in the bigger picture. Most important, is love for one another. because we all are the same at heart and soul. The continuous themes I have recognized through out the years has alway come down to the ideas of--It is okay to be you, so be you.

I must include one of the repeated commercials that have been airing during this show--consistently twice an episode that last few weeks. I believe this ad re-illiterates the values of the show will targeting the family as a whole--parents and children.



Something a little extra.....





Thursday, July 13, 2017

~Week Three~ Topic 2

TOPIC 2
PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES


~Works~

Samsung paired up with Tasty—an extremely popular video blog that shares recipes, seen on YouTube and Facebook. Samsung has a how to make Frozen Yogurt Bites. The twist is it is promoting Samsung Smart Refrigerator in the video. This ad opens with a mother looking at touchscreen that is built into a refrigerator door. She selects to view the digital calendar that reminders her of a birthday party. It continues to show a mother creating a delicious easy to follow batch of chocolate cover frozen yogurt bites for this child’s birthday party. With the aid of her smart fridge she can set the timer to let her know when it is time to move on to the next step in making the yogurt bites. Throughout this process the video gives clear important shots of the fridge—to promote its awesomeness. This add is clearly targeted to the middle and upper class busy families. When I saw the video I shared it, not because of the frozen bites—they do look amazing, but because I want a huge freaking cool smart fridge!!! The space, organization, and smart abilities would make any busy family want one. The fact that it centers around a preparation of a dish for a child’s party—were in the end of the video she serves the bites to the party attendees, shows that this is who Samsung was targeting. The fact that they teamed up the Tasty was an intelligent strategical move by their marketing team. Tasty videos are designed to be easy to follow how-to-cook recipes. I would assume anyone ever on Facebook has seen these videos in their news-feed at some point. Many I am sure are like me and watch and share them more times than I would care to admit. I would say there seems to be a touch of snob-appeal with a bandwagon effect type of persuasion going on in this ad. I say this because of the sophisticated and upscale product that is places in a large beautiful kitchen. Seeing this makes one dream of having something so fancy, while those that can afford it must have this amazing product—hints the snob-appeal. When viewing is ad in a video like this—the cooking ones that are shared thousands upon thousands of times, makes people want to get one to—in particularly when they see their friends posting comments and pictures of their smart fridge on social media. I think this was a great ad. I know it made me want to look into their product more and all those on my news-feed.
Sam's future fridge!!


~THE DUD~
I have been seeing the SAME commercial for over ten years now! I am sure it is one that we all have seen at some point. It has been running for over a decade. The save pets campaign that uses the Sarah McLaughlin song, “In the Arms of an Angle” This campaign is against animal cruelty. Which is NOT the issue. I am sure they must have had some success or they would not continue to be using the clip between infomercials in the middle of the night. However, it has now become an annoyance, and a laughing joke among many. “There is that damn song and poor animals, always making me cry.”  This ad has been using emotional branding to target the already sad and lonely insomniac for way to long. Yes was is moving and successful in the beginning, like 8 years ago. But come on already. The over use of this same old, same old, commercial has naturally lost its effectiveness. So please, someone come up with something better. I sure am not going to donate, so convince me in some other way that doesn’t involve me slipping into a depression, and causing me to eat my feelings at 3AM.