Final Post

I am glad I took this class.Before I only was able to talk movies but I realized with instruction and placing a deadlines, I was able to do what I was never really capable to do before. Don’t get me wrong I always loved talking about movies and have always been captured by them but now I find that I can actually write about them. 

All in all, I am happy that took this class but It was more in depth than I had ever imagined. I am proud that I actually put together 6000 words to write about film and i dont think I would have ever put together so many words if left on my own. 

My favorite films were 
1. Yojimbo
2. Contempt
3. Metropolis
4.Kairo

Those were the movies that resonated the most with me when we saw them. After watching these movies again out of class I found a great appreciation. Yojimbo and Contempt were two films that were so different but made me want to see more Japanese cinema and French cinema. 

 

A Clockwork Hugo

“”Hugo” is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life.”- Roger Ebert

I have to disagree this film is not his most personal, I thought it was his semi-autobiographical masterpiece Mean Streets. However being the cinephile that Scorsese is I can see why this might be put up to debate. This film caught me off guard but in the best way possible. I guess you can equate it to a Tarantino musical. I don’t think it would happen but i sure as hell pray.

This animation reminded me of the work in the newest Great Gatsby. I love watching all movies but I am not particularly fond of digital animation granted the digital animation did enhance the fantasy of the film but it also took away a great sense of depth. This film was 170,000,000 dollars to make. The Great Gatsby was 105,000,000 to make. Digital is expensive.

I think the money is what made the film great not the story. The story premise felt average to me. The movie didn’t make me think like Spirited Away did. I just sat there mesmerized like a blob mainly because everything felt given to me. I guess the audience is based for children should be not dumbed down, but more easily understood.

I think Hugo was a tribute to early cinema but i feel that one shot I would have loved would be the face of the girl mesmerized by her first movie. I didn’t really grasp her reaction or maybe i was busy tweeting.

All in all Hugo felt simple to me. But simple is hard to do. Just as a clock hand moves the devil is in its details.

Spirited Away!

This was the first time I have ever seen Japanese animation and I was blown away. I had prior misconceptions of the genre and It changes the way I look at animation. I always looked at animation as a cheap substitute for a real story but this film engaged me.

 

 Hayao Miyazaki is the director of Spirited Away and has made several academy nominated films, but Spirited Away held such and impact to me that I actually dreamt about it. I am absolutely in love with the story development and character development. The story development is circular and ends as the story begins except for the fact that a once spoiled little girl has developed by the pressures of her own being and the spiritual realm in which she was forced into living changed her into a more sufficient person. 

Another thing I loved about this film was the contrast between good and evil. The twin sisters Yubaba and Zeniba show Sen/Chihiro that the powers of good and evil are within. Yubaba takes a very philosophical stance: Humans are inherently evil and must be watched. This view comes from the German philosophical tradition and specifically from Arthur Schopenhauer. However Zeniba believes the opposite and looks fro the good in mankind consistent with the vies of Henry Thoreau believing that humans are born good but are typically corrupted by social institutions or society.

A major theme in this film is the power of greed and its tendency to bring about destruction. Greed can be seen from the gluttonous behavior of Chihiro’s parents to the spirits actions to have gold. Another thought that comes to mind about this film is how close the story line is to The Wizard of Oz.

Week 12

The difference between the American Pulse and the Japanese Pulse is in its levels of subtly, its lighting, visual effects, and dialogue. The American version kept me more entertained or maybe is was Kristin Bell. The American Pulse had a major shock value that the Japanese version lacked. The ghosts were scarier and more unrealistic. Although there were many differences, There were many similarities such as the over all concept. The later film felt very cliche in its dialogue and felt like it lacked depth but that is what an American audience is looking for entertainment over substance. The American Version of the film is also faster pace and implements jump cuts to emphasize shock. 

The lighting was very different between the two films. The later had a greener, richer, and darker atmosphere that the lighting established making a library, a home and areas meant to be lit as dark areas. The prior film had an erie feel in certain moments but mainly approached those moments not with lighting but through acting and story development. 

The American version of the film was not subtle in its delivery, but does it have to be? We tend to consider films good or bad depending on whether they make you think or not. That tends to be an aspect on how you rate a film. But I don’t see why this is a bad film despite its repetitive story line and dumbed down understanding. I found it enjoyable and easy to watch. The prior film was an interesting viewing experience but I found it as easy to follow as the later American film and I was able to get it’s existentialist backbone. But the prior film made me think more about universal loneliness.

 

Ridley Scott’s Neo-Noir Sci-Fi Blade Runner

Ridley Scott, a director of mainly science fiction films combines the genre of film-noir with his tool box of sci-fi “awesomeness”. When I think of film-noir, I think of the 40’s and 50’s classics such as Double Indemnity which is one of my favorite Billy Wilder films. The beauty of Blade Runner is how it transformed the genre of Old School Noir into Neo-Noir. The uses of light only emphasize mystery and uncertainty like most Film-Noir movies. The colored lighting is something I have never seen before because typically Film-Noir movies tend to be in black and white not just because of the time it was made but due to the way shadows can be played with and manipulated. Despite implementing many revolutionary aspects to the genre of Noir, it also held true to many tendencies that film noir incorporates. 

Film-Noir has its roots in the German Expressionism movement and the sets of Blade Runner proved that the roots are still firmly in place. The use of props also made this film feel like a homage to the Film-Noir genre using trench coats, fedoras, and cigarettes. There was one shot that stuck with me that I thought was absolutely beautiful, and that was a dissolve from a puff of cigarette smoke. Ridley Scott stayed true to Film Noir by the interplay of sets, props and low key lighting. 

Blade Runner was also a very influential early science fiction film also. After the initial release of Star Wars in the 1970’s the interplay between an older genre of Noir and a  rapidly evolving genre of science fiction satisfied and even wowed movie goers. The elements of science fiction can be seen all around from the face LED Billboards on buildings to the hovering police crafts to the advanced guns that the characters were armed with as well as the story.  

Disappointment :( DJANGO

Today we watched two films Django and I don’t know what rubbish the other one was. Ok, Sukiyaki Western Django was a disappointment for me. I was looking for more, and it just wasn’t there for me. The action shots are amazing and the digitalization was terrific and the sound editing was marvelous but it lacked everything else. Sukiyaki Western Django is not a homage to the spaghetti western it is a desecration. I have seen a couple of Takashi Miike other films such as the 13 Assasins and Audition and I dont know where this film came from. I just feel that its is not supposed to even be taken seriously which heavily disappoints me. Also another let down came in the acting, it felt so unnatural and faked. The horrible english of most of the characters makes the movie hard to understand and I feel that it was a mistake to even attempt it. But in my strong disapproval of this movie, i feel that for a 3 million dollar budget it had high production value but I also thought that Miike was high on a bad LSD trip when making this. I am just at a lost for words. I feel that this movie was not supposed to be a comedy but i was typically laughing at how bad it was. sorry if this sounds like a rant but I don’t think it deserves to be in the same category as the original Django or Django Unchained.  Sukiyaki Western Django reminded me of most Robert Rodriguez movies because he isnt trying to make them into something that it isnt however i feel Miike tried to make Western Django into something that it isn’t thus a very mixed reaction. See if he made a film that was not meant to be taken seriously like the cliche dialogue in del Toro’s Pacific Rim it would get a better reaction in general. Not my cup of Saki

 

Mephisto- The Green Scene

Aside

What an interesting film, to say the least. This film is very well put together and has a very intriguing story of a man obsessed with success and finds meaning in life by turning his back on the people that love him and knows best for him. I loved the shots in this movie, the lighting, and the mise- en -scene.

One scene that stood out was the scene where the German Chancellor brings aside Hendrik Hoefgen. The aura of the scene and the mysterious feel the scene gave off was absolutely marvelous. The green light that is intensified from underneath the players made me realize the irony of Hendrik as Mephisto and the motif of The Chancellor calling him Mephisto when in reality the chancellor is a Mephisto-esque character in the way he deceives Hendrik and by his devilish power.  What made me realize the irony of the film was how the green light made The Chancellor looks like Mephisto. His baldhead, and his pale circular face, is very similar to the demon like character that Hendrik plays. Although, Hendrik plays a demon he has many Faustian characteristics. He is easily persuaded, and manipulated just as the ancient legend of Faust was.

Mephisto, is a movie that plays with the themes and style of the German expressionist movement. The use of makeup, the mise-en-scene, and the lighting are very particular and quite unique. The way the chancellor is portrayed by the green lighting gave me the sign that he is the demon and the actor Hendrik is simply a blind follower who is only motivated by the power of future success and greed.  The lighting is essential in bringing out qualities within the players to emphasize the point of the ironic nature of the film and the themes it identifies.

Also I think the look of Mephisto is used in Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal looks quite similarImageImage

Kubrick is a Horse of Perfection

Kubrick’s genius comes from the way he plays and manipulates with all the small things. To some filmmakers, sound is thought to be irrelevant for cinema is all about the shot and all about the illusion of movement, because all a camera is device that takes pictures and when put under a light bulb moving at 24 frames per second we get the illusion that people are moving. Films that did not have sound such as the early works of Buster Keaton and Chaplin had their own genius for the main effect would be visual in acting, or in movement.

 

The beauty of sound in A Clockwork Orange is the underlying irony riding on it’s back like a jockey on a horse. I’m going to run with that metaphor. Just as a jockey is small and to some meaningless (I mean who was the guy that rode Sea Biscuit?), the jockey is important none-the-less. Sound is the same way, one does not pay attention to it as much as the visual content presented but it influences the out come of the film. Sound can make or break a film, and so could an unorthodox jockey, imagine Dim from the movie as a jockey he would literally break the horse not because of his stupidity or his bulldog looking appearance but mainly because he is a husky lad (sound could also over power). Kubrick is the horse of perfection; he has done the training and is ready for the race. He has perfected the details,(the race has begun) he has made Beethoven’s work a motif through out, (Kubrick is coming from behind) he has made the sound psychologically unsettling, (Kubrick takes the lead) he has got me in the sick head of Alex, and back out, and back in (I guess that is the old in and out). But more than all he worked with the details such as the doorbell that ring’s in the writers home, is no other than Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. ( Kubrick wins! “Hey I won, where’s my Oscar?”)

Week 7 Blog Assignment Hitchcock’s Sabotage

Please watch from (50:54-52:59)

I remember as a kid, one year for Christmas I got a VHS collection of 20 Alfred Hitchcock movies. But it was not until a couple years ago that I started watching them, I saw the classics The 39 StepsThe Man Who Knew Too Much, PsychoVertigo, Spellbound, Rebecca and a couple of his more famous TV episodes, but one day when i was bored over the summer I decided to watch some of his more esoteric films or the films that were not extremely monumental to his career like Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder, and especially Sabotage.

Sabotage stood out to me in its somewhat intrinsic sleepiness. The scenes are very dark and drawn out. The plot of Sabotage is about a family that owns a cinema. The head of the household is Karl Verloc who is not only a movie theatre owner but, a contracted terrorist. To make a long story short Verloc gives his son a bomb to deliver at the specific time of 1:45. However, the boy deviates from his fathers orders and ends up not delivering the package on time which sets off a ticking time bomb that is wrapped in package paper and adjacently held with a flammable film canister. The moment leading to the explosion was one of the most beautifully edited pieces in cinema that I have ever seen. This scene has meaning and arouses us as viewers at our psychological core, which is something that Hitchcock can do quite well. The montage presented by Hitchcock brings together meaningless shots and when combined creates a great sense of urgency within its context. The constant shots of the kid playing with the puppy show the innocence of both the kid and the puppy albeit, the shots of the clock changing its minute hand only getting closer and closer to 1:45 adds a sickening sense of urgency.

 The extra diegetic music is absolutely amazing and I would assume that would be part of the editing process as well. The way the score is arranged allows for a development that makes you want to run into the bus and save little Stevie from the bomb that is about to go off in his lap. Also the shots of the traffic and the stop lights also induce fear into the viewer, making us know for certain if the traffic persists the little puppy, the old lady and the bus attendant that allowed Stevie to get on with the promise that Stevie does not sit by him would all die tragically together. This scene has a psychological uneasiness to it due to its conflicting emotions. The innocence of the kid is contrasted with the reality of the bomb that is about to explode, and the time that is set at. We know how the kid will end up dead and since we know there is nothing that can stop his fate it is the feeling of sorry hope with in us that kicks in and fights for the kid; it is just human nature that we almost feel parentally responsible . I feel that by watching several Hitchcock films contrasting emotions through editing provide a certain tension within the viewer that creates psychological distress. 

JEAN LUC-GODARD’S CONTEMPT

Jean Luc-Godard’s Contempt is a film about the never-ending strain of a couple’s relationship from love to ruins. Contempt makes use of cinematography in order to emphasize and tell a deeper story by the use of its beautiful shots and cinematographic excellence.  

 

Several scenes stood out to me concerning cinematography, such as the bedroom scene where the couple lays in bed.  Middle focus is used and gives a traditional perspective of the events unfolding. The deep shadow of Camille who is naked covers the face of her “Love”, Paul. Both are framed in quite closely and a deep focus is used allowing a total focus of the entire picture. The use of deep focus is repeated through out the film. Deep focus is a key characteristic of French new wave cinema because of Andre Bazin’s preference and its realistic characterization of events. 

 

Beautiful cinematography and framing is also used in the scene where Paul is about to meet the American producer he is walking along the street which is a shot with a short focal length then as he arrives at the American producer’s building the scene hat began as a short focus, tracking shot that added distance, with a turn of the camera the shot suddenly becomes very flat which is a characteristic of a long focus. As Paul arrives at the building the camera tilts up and then the image of the producer becomes flat but centralized, there is a quality of hierarchy of scale that the producer has as he is above Paul. He exerts a level of control, which is similar to the control that Camille’s naked body has over Paul while he is clothed in the bed. The camera movement following his lengthy pattering continues with a pan/tracking of the producer’s movement. Another significant fact about this shot is the framing. The way the ledge is used plays up the element of theatre. The producer gives us a performance.