So this is it, the final film,  the final blog, the end. We finish out the year with the famous Bonnie and Clyde. Now unless you were born under a very heavy and dull rock, you’ve heard about these two lovers. They’ve been everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE. In the last decade alone you must have stumbled upon them on the History channel. Discovery channel. BET, MTV, VHI, HBO , IFC, and pretty much anywhere else that you can make a documentary, music video, or movie. America seems to be in love with their story. This mostly because it has something for everyone. It has the guy who bleeds out coolness, no pun intended. The strong yet vulnerable woman. The love story, the action, everything.

For that reason I think I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. I didnt hate it but it wasnt one of my favorites. In fact I like a lot of it. I mean who can say no to a young Gene Hackman and GENE WILDERRRRRRR. Sorry, I love the original Willy Wonka, but I digress. My problem with the film is that it tries to be such much and it results in having characters that I dont really care for. Take for example the opening act. It was so akward and weird how the two chracters meet and suddenly being to raise hell. I get the fact that shes bored with her life and that he’s no good. I feel like that first impression wasnt really given time to flesh out. From there we get a million other subplots like Clyde not being a “lover”, Bonnie wanting to go home, Clyde wanting to appease his brother and bonnie, Bonnie wanting to be alone with Clyde, Moss and his dad, Buck’s wife disapporval of their life. That’s just off the top of my head. Now we’re all smart individuals who have seen complex movies with multiple plots (looking at you Matrix lovers.), but this movie was trying to do too much and after a certain point you want resolution, not another subplot to take up screen time, I would of been perfectly happy if the movie was actually just about Bonnie and Clyde.

I just wanna say that I enjoyed honestly enjoyed this class, I love the fact that people are so passionate about films and I especially love the fact that the professor was passionate of the subject. I loved some of the films, wasn’t sure about a few, and hated a couple. So I’ll end this blog with my top 5 list and worst 5 list of the semester.

Top 5

1. The Public Enemy

2. Physco

3. Early Summer

4. M

5. Go Go Go/Mothlight (Can’t decide which one I liked more, I love the work that was put into both)

Worst 5

1. Meshes of the Afternoon

2. Lady Eve

3. Umberto D.

4. Citizen Kane

5. Memories of Underdevelopment

There you have it,  By the way, do yourself a favor and True Grit. It cmes out at the end of this month. The Coen brothers get better with each movie and this movie is no exception. It stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, ans Josh Brolin. What else do you need?

Normally when I choose to write about a movie in this class or any of my other media studies/film classes, I tend to lean towards movies I enjoyed. For this blog though I’ve decided to pull a George Constanza and do the opposite. Now I’ll admit that I didnt like some of the films we saw but, only one of these works was bad enough to inspire me to write about it. The film I’m speaking of is called Meshes of the Afternoon. Directed by Maya Deren in 1943, this short 18 minute film follows a woman and…… well just trying to explain the plot of the film gives me a headache. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not narrow minded when it comes to new ways of depicting films. I loved Go Go Go and Mothlight but this film, i just didn’t get it.

I’ve seen it twice already this semester and my (and i barely use this word in films, I always try to find a redeeming factoring in every film I watch,) hate for the film only grew with the second viewing. I can ramble for days about this movie but I’ll only mention my two biggest problems with the film. My first issue is the sound. You all know what I’m talking about, that LOUD banging noise that seems to repeat it self over and over and over and over and  over and again in my head like a Justin Beiber song (I work in target and his commercials play all the time in the music department, don’t judge me.) This ruckus is probably the worst thing I’ve heard in any form of media. Worst of all it didn’t even help the plot of the film, If anything it distracted me from the film and made me wonder “Who honestly believes this is worthy of praise and recognition?”

My second issue with the film was that it was trrying to hard to be weird and different. It really turned me off in two sequences. The first one being when we get a POV shot of the woman looking out the window and suddenly we get an almost wormhole view of the window. This bothers me because we already SAW the window through the POV and we get the fact that this is watch she sees. Instead of invoking the audience to think if what she sees is real or not, the director gives it away and shows us that this is what she sees in her head. The second sequence does not require and explanation, just one word and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The word you might ask…… Bread.

Now I see why blogger like to rant a lot in their blogs, it’s more interesting, Either way, to recap, this movie gives me nightmares. I’m all for artistry, but I refuse to like this film simply because it’s different. To some this post will seem cruel and harsh but trust me when I say this. Ms. Deren has the last laugh.

Don Siegel’s 1956 thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers, follows the story of Dr. Bennell (famously portrayed by Kevin McCarthy), as he uncovers the truth behind claims that people in his town are imposters. As it turns out, the people of the town are replaced by identical duplicates that grew from pods and plan to take over the human race. Don Siegel makes excellent use of filming techniques like tracking  shots and CU shots to keep the viewers at the edge of their seats throughout the film. In this analysis I will focus on the climatic scene where Dr. Bennell runs away from the pod people and into a busy highway where he tries to warn everyone that they’re in danger. I also thought of using the scene in which Dr. Bennell sees the townspeople suddenly gather in the center of town but, I prefer the anxiety caused by the climax.

The scene consists of 20 shots (from the point in which Dr. Bennell reaches the highway). The first shot is one of my favorites because of the use of tracking. We get a MS of Dr. Bennell when he discovers the highway and instead of cutting behind him, Siegel decides to track him as he runs. This shot gives us two different backgrounds without cutting (the woods behind Dr. Bennell and the lights of the cars in the highway in front of him). The sudden tracking of him helps the viewer understand his sense of fear and panic. The next shots show the townspeople’s reactions but the shots really shine when Dr. Bennell is in the middle of the highway trying to warn the drivers. The three shots of him arriving at the highway cause great anxiety for the viewers. The mix of Kevin McCarthy’s acting and the continued tracking shots made me personally anxious because I wasn’t sure if he might get hit by one of those cars. This may seem a bit far-fetched but my hypothesis for the use of tracking by Siegel was that it was symbolic of how Dr. Bennell could not escape the townspeople just like he couldn’t escape from the camera’s eye.

Towards the end of the scene, the more effective shots were the ones that made use of CU shots. At one point Dr. Bennell jumps on the back of a truck. In this sequence we get a CU shot of his reaction to seeing pods in the truck. Dr. Bennell’s eyes widen in disbelief and we get a sense of his state of mind. Finally the scene ends with a mini-monologue in which he continues to warn everyone. This sequence was CU of him. His face consumed the whole screen. I loved this because this shot finally let’s all the suspense And anxiety explode out of the protagonist. The CU gave me a sense of no escape from fate for the character.

It’s unfortunate that film didn’t finish after this scene. (But that’s a fight for another day). This use of shots was reminiscent (and a bit more settle) to some of the scene from Vertigo in the sense that we get to share the emotions and feelings of the protagonist. It’s almost like a “hands-on” experience in which we don’t just watch the film; we participate in it as well.

Early Summer, Less Is More

October 26, 2010 | | 3 Comments

Before I begin my review of Early Summer. I want to first recommend  Seven Samurai by Mr. Ozu. It’s a great film that should be watched by anyone who enjoys film. Now Early Summer, which was also directed by Ozu, is also a brilliant movie. It was such a change of pace that it caught me off guard but still kept me intrigued. Ozu took away action and dialouge and yet he still evoke emotion.  With early summer the notion of “less is more” to a new level.

The actors played their roles perfectly. Especially the young women. They hid the charactors true emotions over fake laughs and smiles. From watching many movies I can tell you thats no easy task.  The male leads played their parts well as suffiscticated men hiding emotion to provide for their family members. I love how it seemed as if the characters had no time to show their emotions. They were to busy trying to keep things as they were and be as settle as possible.

Ozu’s balanced composition and and camera placement made Early Summer look like a piece of art. Once again using “less is more” , the camera had no movements whatsoever, keeping the camera for the most part at a low angle. He also broke the 180 degree rule and put the camera where it was suited best. It worked. That in a way sums up why i love this movie. It’s unique, ballsy, and gets it’s point across with over or underwhelming us. This man is a cinematic genius. Good day

I’m A Bit Late But…

September 22, 2010 | | 4 Comments

Hello everyone my name is Oneil and this is my blog, sorry for actually writing so late (the word blog really bothers me). I warn you now I tend to ramble on when I don’t have to have a writing structure so bear with me. I guess i should start by saying that I love movies like most of you. Before this Semester I mostly stuck with with modern films. The only real classic film I’ve seen before would be “Physco”. After that my movie knowledge is mostly based from the 70’s till now. To be honest It took me awhile to get used to old cinema. The acting, dialogue, and directing of the time period we are watching in class is very different to me and at first it felt weird. But fortunately I’m getting the hang of it. Mostly due to my favorite  film that we’ve seen so far “The Public Enemy”

It is my belief that one character has the ability to raise a film from good to great (or from horrible to watchable). For me that one character was Tom Powers played James Cagney. When he was onscreen it was impossible to look away. The man stole every scene and line in the movie. You couldn’t help but to root for the man even if in real life you would never support such a person. The rest of the cast was great as well. His best friend and right hand man Matt Doyle played by Edward Woods really made me sympathize for him. You could tell he wanted out of that life but his bond with his friend kept him on the inside. Ultimately leading to his death.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of these classics in class and outside when I have time. Though I haven’t enjoyed all the films so far, (looking at you Citizen Kane and Lady Eve) I’ve read and heard many good things about the upcoming films. If any of them include James Cagney I’ll be a happy man.

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