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Delusion vs Reality : Spider 2002 [092805]

Schizophrenia. I find it to be such a delicate, almost too sensitive of a subject matter, especially for those who know people or actually are people going through such. To be honest, I have been putting off writing about this movie simply because of that. I am not sure if it is right for me to say that I was disturbed by the film because I myself am not sure if I really was… disturbed. Confused? Yes. So am I. However, the fact of the matter is, I think that because I feel so strongly about such, I realize that it should give screenplay writers an even bigger reason to write about such and more so, make a movie regarding such.

I guess it was yet another film that left me speechless. It was dramatic and in the end, it just made me sad. I felt so sorry for the character played by Ralph Fiennes, which I feel he portrayed quite well.

Spider is yet another supposedly great adaptation of a novel. I do not think I would want to even read the book as my imagination may just go way out of hand. I would be too freaked out. I think I was one of the people in class who literally jumped in their seats during scenes that were most appropriate to do so (there were scenes that were shocking, okay!)

The film was both psychological and dramatic. There was nothing about the film that was light. The color, the characters, the setting. Even the script, music and the way the film was made- a minimal exchange of lines and I think, close to zero music and sound effects. It was all very heavy which I feel was the entire point of the film.

Throughout most of the movie, I was at a loss. I did not know whether or not the scene Cleg was in was real. Or if it was simply a memory in the past. To be honest, it took me a while to realize what exactly was happening as the story went on. For most of the film, I found myself guessing if what was happening was actually happening in the story. I felt my jaw drop during the scene that his father killed his mother in front of him, but it dropped even more when later on in the movie, we find that the woman Spider kills is actually his mother, hence, concluding that the scene we saw earlier was a trick and simply, what Spider saw in his head. If you ask me, it was actually very exhausting trying to figure it out.

A couple of months ago, I watched a play entitled Next to Normal and it was also on schizophrenia. It carried the same elements and themes of the film such as: Schizophrenia itself, haunting memories, an exhausted family, etc. Going back, I think that the general feeling or emotion that film aims to give you is that it will leave you feeling haunted. I know I did. I do not usually feel the “aftereffect” most people feel after watching a horror film or a thriller. However, seeing and knowing that this film’s subject matter can truly happen in real life, as I said before, makes me feel just a little bit creeped out.

I think the movie revolved around Dennis Clegg and his battle with himself, and his sickness. It was definitely a difficult film to watch and I really do not like the feeling it gave me afterwards. In conclusion, I don’t think I would be watching this film again. However, I am open to talking about it. In addition to that, I must say that I believe in the film and what it can do to get people to become more aware of what some others actually deal with in reality.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Mainstream Mystery : Zodiac 2007 [092805]

I like Jake Gyllenhaal. Knowing that Jake Gyllenhaal was starring lead in the film gave me enough reason to pay attention to it. However, as the movie progressed, I was completely engrossed in the plot and everything that was happening to it that whether or not Jake Gyllenhaal played the lead, it did not matter all that much. I appreciated that another mainstream movie was to be shown in class and in this case, one that was of suspense and drama.

At the beginning of the film, I already knew it was going to be an exciting film. However, the first murder that occurred was kind of predictable. A couple in a car coming from a wild party, solitarily driving into a dark place : It was a typical entree to a horror or suspense film. It was mentioned in class how most of the murders take place at the beginning of the movie and I found it interesting that it was done so. The rest of the movie was simply a mystery, waiting to be solved.

I must say, Jake Gyllenhaal did a great job in portraying his character as the cartoonist-turned-detective obsessed to find the true identity of the Zodiac killer. As to why he became so obsessed, I am not exactly sure. Was it because people looked down on him because of his job? Was he so desperate to prove that he could do it? In any case, throughout the film, it could be seen how his role as Robert Graysmith turned from an awkward, quiet man who kept to himself into still one who kept to himself, but obsessed and simply creepy.

I must say that I was completely entertained by Paul Avery, played by Robert Downey, Jr. He is another actor I love. Though he played the drunk, famous man, the way he acted still reminded me about his claim to fame, Iron Man.

There were a couple of scenes in where I was kind of falling asleep. Maybe the film was just too long for me. Some scenes may have been too dragging and unnecessary. But there is also a chance that it was only because of the temperature of the classroom that made me want to curl up and just, sleep. Do not get me wrong. Zodiac was not at all boring. However, there were parts in the movie that simply went on for too long.

Nevertheless, Zodiac is an interesting thriller and I constantly found myself at the edge of my seat, either frozen with anticipation or freaking out. It intrigues me very much how it was based on a true story. Out of curiosity, I did my research and I found the pictures of each character: Robert Graysmith, Paul Avery, David Toschi and Arthur Leigh Allen; both the reel and the real people; (http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/zodiac.php) and I am amazed how some actually look like each other. I must commend the makers of the film for casting more or less, the right people.

The Zodiac killer must have been quite an interesting man. Freaky, yes, but interesting enough to have a movie based on what he has done.

“I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest, because man is the most dangerous animal of all … I will not give you my name because you will try to slow down or stop my collecting of slaves.” – Zodiac Killer’s Cipher Decoded, 1969

You would think that these things could only happen in the movies. It was not. If one knew this while watching the film, I think it creates an even bigger impact and it achieves what I think the director wants the film’s audience to feel as they watch it.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Cheesier Than You Think : Hotel Chevalier & The Darjeeling Unlimited 2007 [092805]

Generally, I enjoyed the two films, both together and as individual films. I enjoyed Hotel Chevalier ultimately because of two things: I love Natalie Portman and I like the idea of the story. Two ex-lovers possibly trying to make it right or not trying at all. From my point of view, it was amusing. Most especially the lines exchanged between the two. It was obvious how one was hurting, and one was possibly really okay or at least, trying to be. I don’t think the dialogue between the two was supposed to be funny but I found myself completely entertained by it. The way Jack replied to Natalie Portman’s character was almost comedic.

Questions raised during class were: Is the film (The Darjeeling Limited) stronger with the short film (Hotel Chevalier) or not? Was it even necessary for Hotel Chevalier to be shown? Honestly, with or without Hotel Chevalier, The Darjeeling Limited could have easily stood on its own. However, I think the impact it would have on its audience would have been completely different. I agreed and liked that Hotel Chevalier was shown to us before the film. The effect of both films would not have been as strong if done otherwise. After seeing the short film, because of how it was written and how it was directed, I was just so curious about what exactly was going on. In a way, it hypes us up for the longer film. The Darjeeling Limited may not have mentioned anything about Hotel Chevalier, except for a couple of moments when Jack would mention his ex-girlfriend but I think that the fact that I felt completely intrigued and happy that I saw the connection between the two films, especially towards the end of The Darjeeling Limited, means that it was very effective.

In The Darjeeling Limited, I liked how the film began and ended with the same kind of scene. It begin with a man chasing the train alone (alongside someone who else who doesn’t make it like he does), and in the end, chasing the train with his brothers, again making it- but only doing so by letting go of their material belongings. I guess it was obvious why it was called, The Darjeeling Limited, though the title has nothing to do with the prevalent themes of the movie: Brotherhood. Family. Trust. I say that the movie had very good closure. In a way, you could say that the particular scene  was a subtle attempt on being cheesy but I cannot say I am complaining about it. It was actually my favorite scene in the movie because it gave me such a feel-good feeling afterwards.

I enjoyed how different the brothers were from each other. It reminded me about my siblings and myself. We have our differences, yes, but in the end, the importance of family comes above all else. As people say, families, particularly your siblings, should be the friends you end up stuck with for life. I found it ironic that during the time of their father’s funeral, their family was not complete. Their mother did not attend and afterwards, the brothers ended up not talking for a year. Usually, at a time as grave as this, families come together. This so-called “spiritual quest” organized by Owen Wilson’s character, as the oldest brother, a year later was an interesting adventure for them, I think. It was evident in the film how their characters grow individually and how their relationship, as brothers, develop as well. To be honest, at the very beginning, I would not have known that they were brothers unless told explicitly. I liked that, in the end, that changed drastically and their bond as a brotherhood was more evident than ever. Cheesy. (In a good way.)

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Lonely at the Top : The Godfather II 1974 [092805]

Because I enjoyed the first film of The Godfather very much, I was very excited to see the sequel. I was not so sure of what to expect because most of the time, the sequel never matches up to the original movie. After seeing the film, as I said before, people were not wrong when they talked about The Godfather. IT WAS AMAZING. Some may compare the two films and say that the sequel was even better than the first but honestly, I cannot even compare. I did not know how the sequel was going to follow the first, as the original film was such a hit but amazingly, it did. It came to par with it and according to others, The Godfather, Part II may just be one of the best sequels of all time. It is inevitable to compare the first two films and like one better than the other but I must say, the two films are just two masterpieces in themselves.

I must say, having both Al Pacino and Robert Deniro two play the two “Godfathers” in one movie was a brilliant beyond brilliant idea. Obviously the two did an amazing job. Who wouldn’t love a movie with BOTH of these amazing actors? The Godfather, Part II easily compelled its viewers to watch it.

I don’t care that there are so many characters and so many events in the film that I find myself confused of what is going on. I loved it. The fact that I am confused makes me even more excited to watch it again.

The way the story of Michael Corleone as the current Godfather and the story of the young Don Vito Corleone as his father and predecessor juxtaposed with one another helped construct the film and make it into its own. Though Michael was his father’s son, it could be seen how the times changed him and how different his “methods” were from his father’s. Don Vito Corleone was the perfect example of someone who stood by the words, “FAMILY FIRST.” At first, you would think that Michael Corleone had the same sentiments. But little details in the film made me believe otherwise. I am sure that those were his intentions, of course, he wanted to follow the footsteps of his father that although they belonged to a mafia, morals stayed intact. He told Kay at the beginning of the film that his goal was to make the Corleone family ‘completely legitimate’, as he put it. However, I feel that he got too caught up with the family business. He was in deep. Hence, he forgot the idea and importance of ‘family’ to the point that his wife, Kay, wanted to leave him with the kids. Don Vito Corleone was a powerful man but it was so evident how his family gave him full support. Michael Corleone on the other hand, let the business take over his life. I find it ironic how Michael let the business destroy what it was supposed to protect: His family.

I liked how the stories of Al Pacino and Robert Deniro intertwined and contrasted with one another. The film basically showed the rise and fall of the Corleone family. From being all-powerful and almost invincible, it was evident when things started falling apart. Honestly, I kind of suspected that Michael would somehow ‘turn to the dark side’ at the end of the first The Godfather film. However, I thought that he would somehow be able to fix it in the second film, and instead things got worse. The relationship Michael had with his brother, his son, his wife- it just showed what could happen if he puts work above anything else. I felt bad because from the first film, I really was rooting for Al Pacino to play and stay the good guy. Unfortunately, things didn’t play out the way I wanted it to… But I still gotta give it to his acting skills.

I think it was a great idea for The Godfather, Part II to be shown in class right after The Godfather. It allowed us to compare two amazing films, though of the same story, two different films nevertheless. It made me appreciate what is said to be timeless. I must agree that this film is definitely one of the best of its time.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Entertainment is Enough : Velvet Goldmine 1998 [092805]

I have a confession. Whenever sir tells us what movie we are going to watch that day, I immediately Google it just to know what to expect and what exactly I am watching. When we were told that we were to watch Velvet Goldmine that day, I was surprised and glad to see that it was somewhat an all-star cast and the movie was not that old (as compared to what we watched prior to that, Blow Up). I mean, come on, Christian Bale, Johnathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor in one movie? How could it not be a good movie, right? I may have liked it better than Blow Up because it was quicker and more fast-paced, noisier (it IS a musical), which I like, and well, sir described it to be one that could be considered as a musical… However, I don’t think it’s a movie I will ever watch again. Maybe it was too much for me.

Personally, I am familiar with the showbiz scene, being a lover of musical theatre and having friends and family who are in the business. I know what it’s like. I don’t normally get culture-shocked, but maybe I just wasn’t prepared to see these actors act like this. I mean, come on, I see Christian Bale as a superhero. Batman. Johnathan Rhys Meyers, on the other hand, I first encountered as an aspiring rockstar and father in the beautiful movie, August Rush. I loved him in that movie. I found him both attractive and very charming. Thirdly, I saw Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge and fell in love with him and his voice instantly. Seeing these three acting their characters simply left me shocked and slightly disturbed. However, I do understand that if any actor affects you by the way he acts in a film, if you are affected in anyway, then he did a good job.

I must say that they did an amazing job in their part. I may not have liked the sexual innuendos and the stoned feel of the movie, but that’s just me. Being completely objective, they generally did a great job as actors. Also, I may not be that big of a fan of glam-rock but I can say that the soundtrack of Velvet Goldmine is pretty awesome.

I guess showing Velvet Goldmine right after Blow Up was a good call because of how different these movies are from one another. With Blow Up, there was no proper sense of closure but with Velvet Goldmine, it was more melodic and its parts fit together. I liked that it was more structured than Blow Up and there was more of a story. Its story may have been about Curt Wild, Brian Slade and Arthur Stuart in all their fame and glory, though later on, you could see how the industry consumed them: Drugs, Girls, Costumes, Make Up, Fame, Etc; it may have seemed shallow but the story on the disappearance of Slade and Arthur’s quest for him made it a better-than-expected plot nevertheless.

Like I said, it is not the kind of movie I would really love in the long run but I could say that during the time being, I was entertained by it. I liked that it was really easy to watch and it was very interesting. All the components of the film came together quite nicely and it looked like they worked hard to get it right. I am sure it involved many rehearsals and make up and glitz and glamour and I guess what I am trying to say is, it was not a boring film and I could say I appreciated it.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Captured Moments : La Jetee 1962 [092805]

A couple of weeks ago, I watched an old film entitled Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeves. After watching La Jetee, I was quite intrigued because its story line was very similar. Whenever I used to think about time travel, I would always imagine time machines or devices that will send people to the past. It fascinated me that their “method” of time traveling was the same. “If they could conceive or dream another time, maybe they could live it.” Another similarity was the fact that what drew them to the past was a certain woman they fell in love with. In La Jetee, they chose him because of an image from the past that he was obsessed with. In Somewhere in Time, Christopher Reeves fell in love with an image in the present which made him want to go to the past. In both movies, they succeeded. I like the fact that I can compare the two in both the romantic and sci-fi aspect.

“This is the story of a man, marked by an image from his childhood.” I liked the film’s first line. It was straightforward but at the same time, it makes you wonder what exactly is meant by it.

I’m not sure about what I feel about the film. There were some elements in the film that I liked and some that I didn’t. At first, I found it difficult to watch because of certain elements such as: One, the film is in French. It might have been easier to watch if the film was in English. Because we have to rely on the English subtitles kind of forces us as the film’s viewers to really focus on the film. One thing I am iffy about is that it can somehow take away our focus on the image or the motion picture. Second, it is in black and white. In a way, I recognize that it’s in black and white because it is a really old movie and somehow, because its setting was during war, that they decided to make the photos look like it’s from the olden times, grainy and in the grayscale. The colorlessness of the film made it look dreary. Naturally, colors would have attracted my attention more. The black and white effect of the film was a different approach but I am concerned that it just may not be appealing for some. Another reason why I did not like it too much was that it was a little too quiet for my kind of movie. It was simple imagery with a man’s voice that was so deep and soothing that it was easy to fall asleep listening to it. All of these elements made the film seem bland.

However, I have a feeling that it appeals to many because it is so different. It is not your ordinary kind of film and it’s less than half an hour long. Though it is not a film of regular length, its story is so interestingly detailed that in a way, we finish the film satisfied. I liked how they were able to tell the story in detail through only images- Except for that moment in where the woman blinked, which I am sure raised the curiosity (and maybe even hair) of each viewer- The pictures were solely based on moments. Important moments in the film. The story was delivered well because its plot was simply filled with moments. Moments from the past, the present and the future. When the unnamed man time traveled, his time traveling was also focused on moments and the things he remembered as a kid. As it was said in the film, he was a slave to a certain experiment and out of a thousand, he was chosen because of his vivid memories and mental images of when he was younger.

Like Primer, the plot was about time traveling. Personally, I am intrigued with the whole idea of time travel, which is why these kinds of films leave me wanting to know more. Sending emissaries into time to summon the Past and the Future to aid the present because the human race was doomed? EPIC STORY. Really.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Just Watch the Movie Trailer : Primer 2004 [092805]

Whenever I decide to watch a movie, either with friends or myself, I always have that idea that, “Okay, it’s time to relax.” I do enjoy watching intellectual movies, and movies that make you think but of course, it only goes to some extent. Lately, because of the stress of school, extra-curricular activities, org work, watching movies on my laptop or anywhere else for that matter, is my idea of unwinding. I mean, come on, a movie is usually created for entertainment purposes. This is part of why I chose this specific class, because I figured that I would be learning something while doing something fun. Yes, this has always been my idea of movies. I know that there will definitely be some that I might not like or would not enjoy at all, but I knew that some would still appreciate them.

After watching Primer during class, I was just dumbfounded. And I’m sorry, but not in a good way. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. For one thing, it was obviously a low budget film. I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing but I guess because of its content, and its script, anything else could have helped it. Second, it looked too much like a documentary that it was just too boring for my taste. It was an eloquent film, definitely, but I honestly don’t think it was written to please everybody. I’m almost 100% sure that that wasn’t their goal. If you ask me, Primer is a snobbish, elitist film who did not aim to please the majority of those who enjoy film. I’m guessing that they aimed for the smart audience that really wanted to think.

I felt stupid. At first, I was so disappointed in myself for not understanding anything that I even considered downloading the film just to attempt to be able to comprehend what was going on in the film again. But after thinking that then, I was like, “SERIOUSLY? No. Way. I’m sorry but I feel it will just waste the space of my already almost-full laptop.” However, since I felt I needed to look it up in order to right a decent blog entry, I found that its reviews aren’t all that bad and it’s rating was not bad at all. I may not be fond of films that are too intellectual but I do love a challenge. I may consider pushing through with my initial plans of downloading it and watching it again just because some say that it’s normal to not understand it after viewing it once. Maybe I was just taken aback and I was just to sleepy to really pay attention.

However, I won’t be bashing Primer here as much as I thought I would be because though I may not like science and how Primer was basically written and made, I like the idea of time traveling. It fascinates me. Honestly, I was even more interested about the film when we asked sir about it after class and he was able to give us substantial information about it. Maybe it would be better if I read about it or asked someone to explain to me what exactly was going on. It was seriously discombobulating. I don’t use that word often, but when I do, I mean it.

What I realize Primer did to us was it made us talk about it, though in distaste, but still, it was talked about. The more I think about it, I am even more intrigued and challenged to really understand it. I realize also that writing about it is not as bad because I feel something about it. I know that right now, I really don’t like it. I may have not much to say about what is in it because I did not understand it, but at the very least I know what I feel about it.

Earlier today, I watched the trailer just to get myself “hyped up” to write about it. I actually enjoyed the trailer more than I did the film and to be honest, it made me want to give Primer a second chance. (Yes, I liked it THAT much.)

We’ll see.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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