Friday, April 16, 2010

Alex Proyas

I'm tired!   I don't think I got enough sleep last night, and maybe I still have that jet lag thing. Oh well.

Let me go find out who Alex Proyas is....

Lord Wiki says he's another filmmaker.

His movies include The Crow, Dark City, and Knowing.

Lord Wiki says that Baby Alex was born in Egypt on 23 September 1963. When he was about two months old, JFK was killed. I wonder if that was big news in Egypt.

Proyas parents weren't Egyptian. They were Greek. I wonder what they'd been doing in Egypt. I'm guessing maybe they were the traveling type. Then when Proyas was about three, the family moved to Australia.

There's not much here about Proyas' early years. He went to film school. I don't know which one. Then he moved to Los Angeles.

That's about it for Lord Wiki. I'm going to move on over to IMDb. I'm also looking at my dad's photos. He finally sent out photos from the Kiwi part of their trip.

It looks like Proyas has done a variety of work in film; directing, writing, editing, composing, etc.

In 1980, Proyas made the short films called Neon and Groping. I'm guessing he did this in film school. The Quiet Man blog has some information about Groping. The movie is about the rape of Kitty Genovese. This is that infamous New York story. The woman was raped, and the bystanders did nothing to help her.

Okay. I think I'm understanding this now. Well, see I was all confused about this blog. It's more of a celebrity website. I guess. It's about this guy named John Foxx, who's known as The Quiet Man. The article about Groping is on the site, because Proyas was inspired by John Foxx's music.

Here's the song that inspired by Proyas. It sounds familar....sort of.

In 1981, Proyas made Strange Residues. Fortunately, YouTube has the movie.

It's very creepy. And I hate the idea behind it. Dreams may be implanted in our minds by some evil extraterrestrial race. Now I'm going to get myself all paranoid.

I like to believe that dreams come from something much more benign.

I can't say I'm really liking this movie.

In 1984, Proyas worked on a short directed by Jane Campion. This was A Girl's Own Story. Proyas composed the music. He's multi-talented, I guess.

Here's a very short clip from the film. I wish it were longer. A YouTube user has sparked my curiosity. Suckerdwsp31 says, great little film. the end is fantastic. sadly, the people i saw it with misunderstood and just laughed. Now I want to know what happens!

Here we go. This website has more of the film. Cool.

This one's weird too....but interesting to me. I'm having a hard time following this. Is it an incest thing? Are the upcoming teen parents brother and sister?

I should be paying attention to the music, since this was Proyas' contribution. I guess it's pretty cool.

Now there's a girl singing a really weird song. It's about feeling cold. As I'm watching the movie, I'm also looking at my dad's photos of a sheep being sheared. I wonder if sheep get cold when they lose their wool.

In 1987, Proyas directed and acted in a short called Spineless. I can't find much about it.

In 1989, Proyas participated in a video project called Songlines. Basically, it was a collection of movie videos for a German Band called Alphaville. Proyas did the video for "Mysteries of Love".

Twice in the last five minutes or so, I've encountered He Died With a Felafel in His Hand on IMDb. First, one of the actors in Spineless later became one of the producers of the Felafel thing. Then I saw that one of the actors in "Mysteries of Love" appeared as a policeman in the movie.

I still haven't read the book. I want to. I look out for it when visiting used bookstores, and stuff. Tim's now reading Birmingham's time traveling book. He says he's loving it.

Here's the Mysteries of Love song. But Proyas' video is not there.

It sounds very 1980's.

It's interesting about the Songlines title. It's a German movie, but the title has Australian significance. Is that on purpose?

In 1989, Proyas made his first feature-length movie. It was a science fiction story called Spirit of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds. The gremlins in the cloud bit reminds me of that Twilight Zone story.

Proyas' film takes place in the outback. It's a post-apocalyptic thing.

Some of it was filmed in Broken Hill. We might go there in 2012.

Here's part of the movie.

It's slow.

The scenery is interesting. I like the decorated crosses.

I like the music. It's done by a guy named Peter Miller. He was the sound designer for The Ring. I'm not quite sure what a sound designer does. Is that like sound effects?

What's the deal with the cars standing on end? This movie is very strange.

I'm also still looking at my dad's photos. There are so many sheep pictures. And for the Australian photos, the majority were kangaroos and/or wallabies. What's the deal with that? Oh! Also, when I showed them our Hawaiian photos, they seemed most intrigued by the sea turtles. I guess my parents are really into animals now.

In 1994, Proyas was the writer and director for a movie short called Book of Dreams: Welcome to Crateland. The movie received a nomination at Cannes. That year was also the year of The Crow. This is the movie starring Brandon Lee. He died before finishing it. Didn't he die on set? I can't quite remember.

The movie about Lee's father had come out about a year earlier. It gave me a thing for Asian men with American accents. I decided I wanted one of those, and in 1995, I got one. Tim's not the first Asian guy to capture my heart though. In fourth grade, I had this huge crush on a guy named Han Wang. It was one of those pathetic things, because I was very shy around the opposite sex. I rarely talked to Han, and yet I'd overanalyze every minor interaction we had.

At our wedding rehearsal dinner, we had one of those this-is-your-life videos. For part of it, we used the music from the Bruce Lee bio-pic. I haven't watched that video in SO long. I'm not even sure where it is. I should look for it sometime.

Let me get back to The Crow.

The movie's about a guy who is murdered, and then comes back from the dead with the help of a crow. Then he seeks revenge. I haven't seen the movie. I'm getting this information from IMDb.

I'm reading the trivia page now. They talk about the death. It's awful. I don't fully understand it, but it was a mistake in gun stunt stuff. Brandon Lee was supposed to be shot for pretend, and I guess he was instead shot for real. It's so incredibly horrible. If I was an actor, I'd be terrified to be in any gun scenes after hearing that.

IMDb says the footage of Lee's death was destroyed before being developed. That's GOOD. I think these days you have to do that....fast. Otherwise, it will end up on the Internet. It's not something that people need to see.

Here's a trailer for the movie. It looks eerie, but I think some of the eeriness comes from the untimely death.

There's a bunch of videos on YouTube comparing The Crow to The Dark Knight. I guess they kind of look alike....and they also have the tragic deaths in common.. Here's one of the videos.

In 1998, Proyas wrote and directed Dark City. I've written about this movie before, because it features two Australian actors....Melissa George and David Wenham. I don't think I'm going to rewatch the trailer, or read the IMDb stuff. But I might get some director perspective later in an interview.

In 2002, Proyas made a comedy about a garage band called Garage Days. That girl who swallowed bees is in it.

Here's the trailer for Garage Days.

In 2004, Proyas made I, Robot starring Will Smith. I kind of remember that being out. I didn't see it though. As you'd guess from the title, it's a science fiction thing. And it's about robots.

The IMDb trivia page says the movie uses something called the Wilhelm Scream. It sounded familar to me, but I didn't know what it was. So, I asked Lord Wiki. He says it's this stock sound effect thing used in various movies. The sound is of a man screaming. YouTube has a compilation. It sounds strange to hear it over and over.

Lord Wiki says it's used as a sort of inside joke. That's pretty cool.

Here's the trailer for I, Robot. Wait. No. That's not it. Here it is.

Now THAT looks pretty awesome to me. I should see it someday. This is the type of movie I like.

In 2009, Proyas made Knowing. I talked about this recently when I researched Rose Byrne.

Proyas has some upcoming movies. There's talk of him directing the Dracula movie starring Sam Worthington. Dracula now makes me think of this adorable Sookie Stackhouse short story. It's in the collection, A Touch of Dead. It's a kind of homage to Peanuts and the Great Pumpkin. Except here, the Great Pumpkin is Dracula, and it's Eric that is waiting for his arrival. It's very cute and funny.

Proyas is also set to direct an adaptation of a Robert Heinlein novel called The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. It's about a guy who has memory issues regarding what he does during the day. And the blood-like substance, behind his fingernails, worries him a bit.

The other upcoming Proyas movie is The Tripods. This is based on science fiction books about mind-controlling aliens.

I'm going to read the IMDb bio-trivia page about Proyas.

He went to the same school as Phillip Noyce; The Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Besides movies, Proyas has also directed a lot of commercials and music videos.

I'm going to do some post-holiday laundry and feet the cats. Then I'll read some interviews, or something.

Okay. I'm back.

Here's in an interview in a site called SPLICEDwire.

For the interview session, Proyas ate a waffle with fruit.

We had a waffle iron in our Hawaii rental house. Our friends were so excited about it, and I think they thought it was some kind of American icon. We had to shatter the myth by revealing we do not own a waffle iron at home. Tim made waffles though for our first dinner together. That was nice. We smothered them in butter and syrup.

Anyway, our days of no waffle iron will soon be ending. Tim said he's going to buy one soon.

The interviewer says Proyas ate his whole waffle without the interviewer seeing him take a bite. That's a bit freaky. I'm hoping it's just that the interviewer wasn't paying attention. Or does Proyas have some kind of magical power?

Proyas says the movie Metropolis was an inspiration for him in doing Dark City. I think we saw that in a film class, and I had the soundtrack. I just found the song I used to love. Ah. That brings back memories.

Cold machines that never stop
Even if a man should drop
Mercy never lets her face be shown
They draw blood from a stone


For some reason, that song reminds me of "The Closing of the Year" from Toys. Maybe I listened to them around the same time. My other song of that time was "The Crying Game". This was all during my heart break over a guy named David Van Ness.

I should get back on track, although I'm having fun with this nostalgia.

Proyas says, as a kid, he liked science fiction stories where people realized their reality was not reality. It was all pretend. I guess that's kind of like The Matrix.

I wish I remembered Dark City. It would help me understand this interview better.

Now I'm getting to some good childhood stuff.

What inspired Proyas to be a filmmaker is Lawrence of Arabia. He saw the movie, and then asked his dad to buy him a camera. Proyas says it took him two years of whining to get it. It seems his parents weren't all that supportive of his career. They wanted him to do something sensible.

Proyas is like me in that he doesn't like driving. That's one of the reasons he's not a fan of Los Angeles. It's so driving-centered.

I lived there for about three months, and this was before I knew how to drive. Then I moved to NYC. That's a much better place for people who dislike driving.

Here's a video of an interview with Proyas regarding Knowing. The movie was filmed in Melbourne. Proyas says he prefers filming in Australia.

Proyas has a very subtle Australian accent. I think it's been hybridized with an American one.

Proyas seems like a very serious-type man. Oh wait. Here we go. He cracked a joke, and smiled.

Proyas says end-of-time movies are popular now. His reasoning is that we live in troubled times, and people are concerned. I don't know. My feeling is...there have ALWAYS been troubled times. There has always been war, violence, disease, danger, fear, despair, etc.

The interviewer mentions that the movie deals with parental relationships. He asks Proyas if this was an intentional aspect of the movie, or did it just happen organically. Proyas seems somewhat annoyed by the question. He says nothing like that happens on accident. His movies are carefully planned. Okay. Yeah....Whatever.

I think when you make a story (either by filming, writing, painting, etc), you can plan a LOT of stuff. There are plots, subplots, symbolism, themes, connections, etc. These can all be carefully orchestrated. But I think often things seep in accidentally....subconsciously. The artist might not realize a motif is in his project until after it's finished, or someone else points it out to him. So, I think the interviewer's question was fair and valid.

I'm very tired, so I'm going to quit for now.

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