May 17 2010

Bonnie and Clyde

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After the screening in class, it was the second time that i have watched this film and watching it again was more enjoyable than the first time. Already knowing how it was all going to end, i started to pay attention to every scene individually, trying to find a connection with the ending. Most writers and directors like to put scenes in the first half of the movie that foreshadow the ending, so that’s what i started to look for. One scene that stood out right away was when they went to visit Bonnie’s mother, as soon as the scene started, it looked as if they were at a funeral because most of the people were dressed in black and everyone had a worried look on their faces. Another scene was when they captured the sheriff and started harassing him. The first time i watched the film, i didn’t realize that at the end, it was the sheriff who was part of the shootout that killed Bonnie and Clyde. The second time around, after the first scene with the sheriff, i started to expect him to retaliate.

Also this movie had a lot of sexuality in it that were portrayed in different ways, sometimes very obvious, other times it was hidden meaning. For example, in the opening scene of the movie, Bonnie was walking around  her room completely naked, and she even looked out the window to speak to Clyde without putting anything on. This scene also showed that Bonnie was very bored with her life and was looking for some sort of adventure that will change her mundane life  into something a lot more interesting. Another scene that i thought had hidden sexual meaning was when they first met and were standing outside the grocery store, Bonnie asked Clyde if he has a gun, after he showed it to her, she asked him if he knows how to use it. The only reason that i figured this related to something sexual was because later on in the movie, whenever they tried to make love, Clyde backed off and told her that he wasn’t much of a lover boy, meaning he had a gun, just wasn’t to good at using it. LOL.

Overall the movie was great and as well as the writing and acting. The writing i think was very thought out because everything related to something that either happened or would happen later in the film. And even though Bonnie and Clyde were both bank robbers that killed people, they still had the audience on their side. I wasn’t too fond of the way the movie ended because i wanted them to survive, or at least if they had to die, i would’ve liked to see them fight for their lives rather than just get massacred.

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May 17 2010

Auteurs and the New Hollywood

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When i first think of auteurism, Quenton Tarantino is the first person that comes to mind. The fact that Corrigan began his article with Tarantino made me smile. Tarantino’s movies are very distinct and can be recongnized within the first 10 minutes of the movie. He shoots his films in a way that can be considered unorthodox because he usually puts his scenes out of conventional order, which keeps the audience guessing till the very end. What else makes them so distinct is the dialogue that he puts in most of his scenes. The conversations that the characters have are usually somewhat philosophical, which makes the audience really think about what they are talking about. This makes his films very fun to watch and makes them stand out when compared to other movies in the same genre.

I think auteurs are very important to the success of certain films because it is the celebrity of the director that makes people want to watch certain films. For example (and this might not be a great example), when i just heard of the movie Kick-Ass i didnt think much of it because i just figured it a another one of those parody movies on comic books. When i learned that Mathew Vaughn was the director of Kick-Ass. i became more intrigued because i knew he produced many of my favorite movies that were directed by Guy Ritchie. I always thought that those guys had an eye for good great movies which is why i started to look forward to watching Kick-Ass. This also holds true for directors like Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, and QuentinTarantino because due to their previous success, many people now look forward to watching new movies that will be made by them in the future.

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Apr 29 2010

Jean-Luc Godard

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Reading about Jean-Luc Godard was very interesting in that it was a lot like reading philosophy. He shared a lot of ideas about what its like to be a critic and a director. Personally, I never knew that going from being critics to directors was a common thing, but I always thought it would be logical to do so. The critics judge the movie from every angle and in a sense, would know how to make it better if they were in the directors shoes. When Godard talked about writing about his colleagues, and how hard it is to write a bad critique about a friend’s movie, it reminded me of Citizen Kane when Jedediah had to write reviews about Kane’s wife’s singing.

What made it sound like philosophy was that after being asked a short question, Godard would answer with long rants that were full of interesting knowledge. When he spoke of quoting others, he made a great point when he said that if you have something that y0u want to say, you should just say it and not be accused of anything. But maybe he says this because he is a critic and he is best at discussing other people’s work.

He also spoke about going to television if cinema were to ever disapear. This reminded me of the show Entourage where Vince (the main character) alsways talks about never going to doing shows, because he will never be able to come back to film afterwards. With Godard talking about directing in the similar sense made a lot of sense, even though he didn’t seem to mind as much. He will always be a critic even though he is a director, and throughout the interview it seemed as if he was critiquing everything that goes on in the film industry, from the critics, to the directors, to the producers, and to the films themselves.

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Mar 18 2010

Yasujiro Ozu

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Reading about the early life of Yasujiro Ozu reminded me of someone I know who is also interested in a film career but has parents who appose the idea. Ozu journey to becoming a director was pretty impressive considering he was an alcoholic. From an assistant cameraman to assistant directer, to a director who also wrote scripts must have took a lot of work for him to accomplish. It’s sad that 18 of his films no longer exist.

Most of his work seems to be about the Japanese culture and traditions (and how some people defied it). This was somewhat of a surprise to me because when I just started reading about Ozu, I was expecting his films to be similar to a monster movie such as “Godzilla” or something about Kung Fu. I was actually more happy to learn that his films were about something different.

I wasn’t aware that he came up with the “360 degree rule” (the technique – not the name) but I’m not sure if I like that type of camera angle. When watching an actor speaking directly into the camera makes it feel like a play or a soap opera. I think the “180 degree rule” is something I’m a little more fond of.

Hard to believe he died on the exact same day he was born, 6 decades earlier.

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Mar 13 2010

Umberto

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“That was a good one!”
“What? The movie?”
“No. The prank that the professor pulled on us…the movie was so boring, even she didn’t stay to watch it.”   -LOL

But all jokes aside…
The movie was a little slow paced and lacked moments that keeps the audience wanting to see more. I felt that the dialogue in some scenes was kind of pointless and didn’t lead anywhere. The character developed was very weak because we barely knew anything about the Umberto or Maria the maid. She said she got pregnant by one of the two soldiers and she always looked out the window as if to say “HI” to one them, but in the scene where she was speaking to one of the soldiers in person, he didn’t say a word and just walked away. At the end when Umberto told Maria to get rid of one of them, I didn’t really know which one he was talking about, and even if I did, he never spoke to either one of them so how would he know which one is better for her.

There were a few scenes that kept me interested for a moment that I found pretty funny. When he was standing on the sidewalk with his dog, on the verge of becoming a street begger, it was funny how he practiced holding out his hand. It looked as if it was so unnatural for him to beg for money, even when a man stopped to give him some Lire, he turned his hand over. It was sad watching an old man on the verge of losing his home become so desperate. But even then, it was good to see that he didn’t give up.

I was pretty surprised when I learned that Umberto was nominated for an Oscar for best writing because while I was watching, the most common thought going through my head was that the writing could be better. Better writing might have made the film a little more interesting and would keep the audience more focused on the movie. The first part of the movie seemed to build up the troubled times and desperation that Umberto was facing, and I was sitting there, waiting for him to do something drastic, but that moment never came.

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Feb 25 2010

Citizen Kane – Welles and Toland

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I always heard people talk about Citizen Kane and all the great things about the film, but never a mention about the innovative lighting techniques and cinematography. I haven’t seen enough movies from before 1941 so I don’t think I would notice all the new things that were used in this movie. In his article, Carringer really made Toland sound like a hero, calling him a “devoted rebel” against the usual film making rituals, and that he led the “forefront of change.” Personally, I have a lot of respect for people who try to lead change rather than follow along the usual path, so I was quite interested while reading about him. To be the first person to use new technology while making a movie is risky enough, but to do it with a movie that had a really high budget and high expectations, there is no room for error. Since I haven’t seen Citizen Kane, I can’t say how good of a job Toland did, but from reading the article, I assume he pulled it off with flying colors.

“$1 million…it was the sum a picture was never to go above, except in the most extraordinary circumstances.”                   – Carringer

Reading this, I laughed out loud. Nowadays the average budget for a movie is around $100 million, so this surprised me a bit and made me realize what a long way the film industry has went since then. I found it hilarious when Carringer spoke of how Orson Welles was secretly filming for a few days while waiting for the budget approval. How did they not get caught earlier? Didn’t they notice the actors walking around in costumes? But the idea was still genius, considering that after the “RKO” bosses found out, they simply just let him continue what he was doing.

When watching movies, or making short films with my brother and cousins, I never really give much thought to the importance of lighting and cinematography (probably because my cousin focuses TOO much on it). Carringer’s article really opened my eyes to how necessary and important it really is. However, midway through the article, I think he went into more details about lighting than I could understand. I felt sort of lost for a few pages while he was speaking of different lenses and angles. This would probably be a very pleasant and interesting read for my cousin!

I was quite surprised that the film didn’t win the Academy Award for cinematography, and lost in seven other categories. I always heard great things about the movie and assumed that for a movie to be that great so many years ago, it would’ve certainly won a lot of Oscars. But especially in cinematography, I thought that if it were to win any awards, it would be for that. Carringer mentioned that the movie was called “too brash, too upstart, too artsy, and experimental”, and that is why it didn’t win the awards. This surprised me even more because today, upstart, artsy, and experimental, is what interests people in movies because its not the same old thing. Never heard anyone call this film “brash”, so that confused me a bit, considering that many call it a classic.

Watching the screening this Friday, I’m afraid I will be focusing too much on the lighting and cinematography and wont be paying enough attention to the story. Carringer definitely hyped that up for me.

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