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Author Archives: alecrivera

Wes Anderson (Hotel Chevalier, The Darjeeling Limited)

I have always heard the name Wes Anderson in my film classes and from my friends in the production world. I have seen clips of his works like Life Aquatic and Royal Tenenbaums and the most recent stop-motion animated film he made Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, I never really got to watch his films on one sitting. I never really had the chance to watch his films however I came across Royal Tenenbaums and Life Aquatic because of my film classes.

I love his style of camera work wherein he mostly uses pans (left or right), tilts (up or down) and dollying (in or out).  It seems so easy and simple how his films are shot but come to think of it, they’re really calculated and it is tedious work. How one shot, all three brothers are in the frame then he moves to Jason Schwartzman, then Owen Wilson then Adrian Brody (Tricycle scene). It emphasizes more the individuality of each character. Moreover, this style of shooting fits his stories. Well for Darjeeling Limited it did. The color grading of his films give it an authentic look in that it doesn’t try to be all artsy with the saturated colors and at the same time it’s not too sharp and crisp with solid colors.

For me, Hotel Chevalier works better at the beginning of the film because it gives a simple yet witty background to how Jack lived his life. He has an independent and serious personality but was also funny when it came to Darjeeling Limited. The short film at the beginning served as a support to where he based his writings—from life experiences

I was honestly surprised to see Owen Wilson as the eldest brother because Adrian Brody looked much older. However, he gave the role he had character. It did not seem that he was younger than Adrian Brody even if he did look younger. His character gave of a superior vibe among the three because of how he sort of “controlled” their journey. Adrian Brody had the most interest in their father’s belongings because he sort of “steals” them and considers them his. I guess in the end each of them wanted to have  a part of their father to keep after he passed on.

The story was really simple but I loved how it was written; brothers with “bad” childhood memories that made spite one another came to an end as they went through the journey that made them realize the importance of their brotherhood.

Some of the other things didn’t really make that much sense to me like Bill Murray’s role but I think it was a staple move for Wes Anderson to have used same characters for his films. I think he used it as an intro for the film just so he could use Bill Murray—or maybe he had his reasons. It could’ve been another reason as to why the three brothers were running to catch the train in the latter part of the film. I recently downloaded other Wes Anderson’s films such as the two I mentioned above, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore and Bottle Rocket.

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Posted by on 28 April 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Velvet Goldmine

Personally, I liked Velvet Goldmine because it stirred away from your typical Hollywood or blockbuster film. It was not your mainstream movie which follows a standard plot. When it’s action, the good guy first loses, trains and wins in the end. It’s engaging and it makes your brain work. These types of films never fail to entertain me.

However, I was a bit disturbed with the portrayal of Christian Bale’s character when he was growing up. I never realized the power that music has and the image that it creates. Deviance and being “hated” was the one thing that called Arthur’s attention. Being different and maybe escaping from reality was what he wanted. The scene where he was pleasuring himself by looking at pictures of Brian Slade while music was playing was quite disturbing. I was not really sure what he was doing at that scene. However it became awkward when the camera movement along with the background music drew a scene, which indirectly showed Arthur’s attraction if not his lust for Slade.

I took European Cinema with Fr. Nick in the first semester of last school year and homosexuality was part of a few films shown in class but it was never shown in this way. It was a bit more normal in a sense that there are boys loving each other and all that. It was not shown in a way that makes you ask “Why exactly would someone do that?” kind of way.

What also bothered me in the film were the two known actors playing unusual roles. It was difficult to associate the characters Christian Bale (Batman) and Ewan McGregor (Obi wan) with the characters they had in Velvet Goldmine. Having seen Batman and Star Wars first, there was already bubble wherein both play certain roles for certain movies. This created a barrier which made it everything hard to believe. I didn’t understand what was happening at first. Why were they being gay and all I thought to myself, could they really pull it off? Throughout the film, I constantly tried to think that this isn’t Batman or Obi wan. At first I didn’t even believe that it was Ewan McGregor who was playing Kurt Wild. At some point in the film I guess I’ve accepted both of their roles because of the situations they were in. I wasn’t really convinced with their acting and all. I guess glam-rock or maybe the rockstar life has a way of showing how bi-sexuality is just a little part of the entire picture. It’s not always someone you want to be, it’s someone you have to be or someone you try to be.

Lastly, I guess it’s just a pet peeve of mine wherein the big bold letters of the opening credits were too much. I found it distracting at the beginning and I found it hard to focus on what was happening on screen. It was taking up at least 1/3 of the screen. I didn’t really get what happened. I just saw Christian Bale when he paused and looked back or something.

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Posted by on 24 April 2011 in Uncategorized