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V for Vendetta [090279]

Aside from Natalie Portman’s exceptional performance in the movie as the Evey character as well as her unconditional beauty (she is still so gorgeous even after her hair was shaved off! :|) another thing that got me hooked on V for Vendetta is the poetry — most of which are of course spoken by V. It did not really matter if some of the elaborate jargon ended up not making sense to me anymore. Even if most of the time the speech ended up sounding slurred and mixed up, it did not really matter anyway since the lines were just absolutely beautiful.

V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
V: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
V: Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.

It is very rare nowadays to hear refined phrases as most of what we hear from films are just plain crass. What’s great is that the spoken words are not just centered on the cheesy and romantic speeches and professions. The lines are very universal since they imply the abuse of political power and even the misuse of it, which I am sure anyone in the world is aware of in one way or another. It is also very refreshing to see a well-versed protagonist. He may not have fancy gadgets like batman or even a ripped body like that of superman (or all the other superheroes who have amazing skills and powers, for that matter), but he possesses ideas that are unlike any other.

I appreciate the fact that the movie did not give off a vibe similar to that of “The Spirit”. I think that the effects used in V for Vendetta sufficed for whatever mode the creators were going for. Over-doing it would have just emphasized the fact that it is based on a graphic novel. I am not saying that it is a bad thing though. I just a have a strong personal preference towards movies that are not overdone. In addition, since the movie is mainly concerned with revolution and other political issues, I believe that a more realistic take, would be more effective and dramatic.

 I would not necessarily consider myself as a comic book junkie, so it comes as a surprise that graphic novels such as this could actually contain stories that are more or less true to life. Political issues tackled in the movie are more delicate compared to that of capturing a thief, saving the world from damnation, etc. since it is a real problem that the world faces every single day. The movie presents ideologies that people can actually apply in real life, which makes it kind of scary knowing that a movie can have such a great impact without people even knowing it.

The subtle entry of romance into the plot is an added bonus as it makes the story a bit lighter. It is the perfect mix of action, romance and drama. Overall, the film is very entertaining. It manages to be dark and heavy as well as light without being a drag. For some reason, I was overcome with the feeling of triumph and hope after watching it. Probably all of us have V’s ideas in the back of our heads and are just too afraid to stand up like he did. We all know the truth, but we remain subdued knowing that we will have to face the troubles that will arise once we stand up and start fighting for it.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Godfather II [090279]

Much like its prequel, The Godfather II was another movie worth watching. Sure, the movie may be unbelievably long, but every second was worth it. I was shocked upon learning that it would be longer than the first movie. It really got me thinking about what could possibly happen to a movie that last for more than three hours. I was already preparing myself for boredom and dozing off, but I was proven wrong. I also stayed awake, attentive and alive all throughout this one J

One thing I liked about The Godfather II was its derailment from the linear unravelling of the plot. It was a fresh take, rather than a repetition of the movie which it followed. I believe that the flashbacks are very relevant since they provide a peek into the origins of the characters’ personalities and traits. In a way, it gives the viewers a better understanding of how each person in the film came to be (It is pretty much just like the X-men origin movies I guess). The added depth also makes the roles more real and less flat. It is easier to understand why Don Corleone, for example treats the people around him in a certain way, as well as how the siblings (Sonny, Fredo, Michael and Connie) treat each other. Seeing the characters bloom (both Don Corleone and Michael) parallel to one another was also very interesting. The focus of the movie takes turns between Don Corleone’s “rags to riches” story and Michael’s rise and fall as the new don of their “family”. For some reason, each cut always managed to leave me hanging. I don’t really know if it is a good thing or not, but deep inside, I just wanted to know the rest of the story before moving on to the next disconnected scenario. Maybe it is just my personal preference to finish a certain storyline before starting and dealing with another. I just feel that it would be less tiring (I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that some movies can be tiring to watch) if don Corleone’s story would be played until the end before starting that of Michael’s. Doing this, however, would lessen the film’s “movement”. It could have a bad effect on the flow of the plot but I am not really sure of what it could be. So right now, I am kind of torn about that one. Nonetheless, I loved the idea of the flashbacks. Although the movie changes its focus now and then, it is not really hard to follow the flow of the story. Everything was timed just right; no scenario was too long and dragging. Enough time was allotted to show the important parts and every second was used to the fullest.

A strong theme in this movie is the concept of a family, and I believe that even with all the blood and bullets, the family dynamics found in the movie still managed to shine through. The godfather is not just another movie full of violence and crime; it also has underlying factors that are delicate and more fragile than life itself.

The Godfather one and two really allowed me to explore my options when it comes to movies. Although I was able to watch them just now, I am no doubt added to list of suckers to these classics. I am actually thinking of watching the third one, but I am pretty worried because of the bad reviews I have been hearing about it. Nonetheless, I am glad that I was given the chance to watch them, and they are for sure movies that I will watch again and again without hesitation.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Primer [090279]

The fact that I never really did understand the movie Primer added to the horror of having to write a blog journal entry about it. Even if I were given the chance to watch it again, I do not even think that there is a slight possibility of me considering doing so. It was (no offense) one of the most boring movies I have ever seen. Add to that the eerie feeling it gives off while one is watching the film. As what has already been mentioned in class, Primer is one of the more realistic movies that had been shown in class when compared to the others.

As I was watching the film, I can honestly say that there had not been a single moment wherein I really completely understood what was happening. I clearly remember asking the people from the same row (of seats where I was seated) about things in the movie that were not really clear to me. The scenes which included the parts bout them talking about the materials and things they had to do with them just seemed like pure mumbling to me. That was the moment wherein I felt like, and was kind of sure that I was not really going to like this movie. I automatically shut down, but remained watching without REALLY watching, if you get my drift. It was definitely frustrating to try to understand something and yet ending up more confused than ever. I guess towards the end, I just gave up because I knew that I would just be wasting my effort and time in trying to figure out the real deal. There were, however, mini segments of enlightenment where I miraculously semi understood the complexities of what was going on in certain scenarios. These moments were the ones that freaked me out though, especially when I realized what was really going on. The feeling is pretty hard to explain. It was more like catching the gist of everything and yet getting more confused about what was happening. How ironic.

It was surely an effective time travel movie. At first it was pretty hard to comprehend that the characters were playing with the element of time. It was not necessarily directly exposed that they were. Even as the machine was just being constructed, nothing ever gave the concept away. Up to now, I still am very confused about this movie. I know that not all things could be directly explained, but this movie sure has a way to tangle things up a bit. Probably the best thing to do is read more reviews and analysis about it since I know for sure that I would not be seeing it for a second time anyway. Nonetheless, I can say that the movie was pretty effective in setting a dead mood. The over-all scene felt dead serious and even from the beginning viewers know that they are in for something that will totally blow their minds; which is not necessarily a good thing.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Godfather [090279]

I was honestly worried when I heard that The Godfather was the next movie we will be seeing in class. Almost everyone I know had positive reviews about it, so I cannot really be blamed for having high expectations. Probably the choice as to how they would rate it was either they loved it or they loved it so much. One thing is for sure though: I knew that in one way or another, my perspective of the film would change just because most of the people I know have been raving about it.  I am actually a bit confused if there is a probability that I just forced myself to like it since everybody else does. Joining the bandwagon, as what others would call it. It was actually pretty embarrassing to admit that I have not seen the film yet. It is one of the classics, and thus, a must-see. I am actually very appreciative of the fact that it was shown in class because I am not really sure if I would have been able to convince myself to watch it on my own.

I am not really a fan of long movies. I would say that I would much rather prefer seeing short/ average length films because they are lighter and less tiring to watch (there are such movies, in my opinion). It was a whole different case with The Godfather, though. Although the movie lasted for more than three 3 hours, every second was well executed. I don’t really remember a moment wherein I felt sleepy or uninterested to watch. Probably another thing that got me hooked was seeing great stars such as Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and Diane Keaton in their prime. I guess it was very refreshing to see the less wrinkled and youthful versions of such legends. Although it was more of an action or even somewhat of a suspense movie, I liked the fact that it had a lot of underlying genres. Come to think of it, the film had a lot of other stories embedded in it. There are of course a handful of romantic love stories, there is also the family aspect of it all, also included is the concept of brotherhood/fraternity and many others. It was also great that the film enabled me to follow everything that was happening without drowning my brain with too much scenarios, ideas and facts. It was slow paced and fast paced at the same time. Although the flow of the story was linear, nothing was too heavy to follow.

In my opinion, The Godfather was truly an all around and fully entertaining movie. It is no wonder that it is considered as one of the classics. I am glad that I was finally able to watch such a great creation. I can now officially say that I have seen the Godfather, and I am also one of the people who truly like it (and not because other people like it as well. I really do!).

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Zodiac: Dead ends [090279]

I normally would not be too absorbed with murder-mystery movies, but Zodiac was truly different from all the others. Comparing it with The Lovely Bones, which poses a somewhat similar concept, Zodiac felt snappier and more on the go. The movie really made me interested about the little facts; the ones that could help put the pieces all together in order to find out who the Zodiac character really is. Other movies or shows would not have given off the same effect.

The great thing about the film is how it manages to make the viewer feel the same emotions that a certain character felt during a particular scene. I could not help but feel the frustration of the David Toschi character (Mark Ruffalo) when he almost solved the mystery, but found out that he was from doing so. It was like I just wanted it to be over, I wanted to know who it was. Since all the clues were pointing to Arthur Leigh Allen, I thought that the search was finally over and that justice will soon be served.  I could say that comparing such a scenario to similar ones found in shows like Bones, NCIS, CSI and the like, Zodiac remained ambiguous with regard to getting enough evidence and moving on to the next suspect. Since there was no other suspect as connected to the crime as Leigh was, it was only normal to believe that he was the culprit.

It was impossible to let Robert Graysmith’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) interest in the murder mystery unnoticed. Although his job as a cartoonist enabled him to know the latest news and headlines, it was not as if he could get involved directly. Even when he was not involved in all of it yet, he was already way in too deep than he would have realized.

Robert Downey Jr. sure as hell can play a cocky character such as that of Paul Avery’s. It was sad that such a confident character got lost in the mess. Perhaps too much passion can be bad after all. Of course, there is the fact that a single report/article/case can make or break a journalist.

Although the content was somewhat heavy, a little lightness was injected through the funny and witty lines and blows. It was unexpected that a serious movie such as this would even involve a hint of comedy. To break the monotony, maybe, or even the silence, probably? No complaints here though. The laughs helped to make the film enjoyable and bearable.

Robert Graysmith: We met at the movies once.
Dave Toschi: I’m sure it was magical.

*

Cecilia Shepard: Someone else is here.
Bryan Hartnell: It is a public park.
Cecilia Shepard: I think he’s watching us.
Bryan Hartnell: Well, we’re very good looking.
Cecilia Shepard: Where’d he go? He went behind that tree.
Bryan Hartnell: All right, so he’s taking a leak.
Cecilia Shepard: He’s coming towards us. Oh my god, he has a gun!

*

Paul Avery: What do you do for fun?
Robert Graysmith: I love to read.
Paul Avery: Mhmm.
Robert Graysmith: Umm, I enjoy books.
Paul Avery: Those are the same things.

Although it was a fairly long movie, I could say that it did not bore me at all. It was very gripping and each part was interesting because nothing ever stayed the same. There were highs and lows and even silence and noise. Zodiac is a murder mystery movie that manages to make the viewers “feel” for the characters.

 
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Posted by on 22 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Give me a blow-up of Blow-up [090279]

I have been putting off writing the journal entry for blow-up for the longest time simply because I just really do not know how to start it and I have no idea on what to say. Although other movie reviews might shed some light to somewhat clarify the complexities of the movie, I would rather stick to my own views as I find the other perspectives confusing me more than ever (reading the various interpretations about the different meanings of the various symbols in the movie seriously stressed me out =))).

Due to the lack of music, Blow-up felt like a dead movie to me. It was definitely far from the movies we see today wherein there seems to be no lack of it. In one way or another, the absence of music serves as a tool to make the audience totally engrossed in what is happening in the scenes. More often than not, the presence of music can distract or even mislead others with regard to following the plot.

Probably one of the things that caught my attention was the transition of the antagonist from being a douche-y character (if I may be allowed to say so) to a less irritating one (I refer to him as less irritating since he did not necessarily become all too lovable even towards the end =)) he changed for the better in one way or another, nonetheless.). Prior to discovering the murder he caught in his photos, he seems a bit detached with his photography. It was simply business, a job. After the incident, however, it seemed more important to him. He had been attached to his photos once more. The crime was new to him. Being a fashion photographer was far from being somewhat of a “photojournalist”. He had seen something that others normally would not. The blow-ups of the photos accidentally unravelled a crime.

There were a lot of scenes which really bothered me. Some of them are last few frames that focused on the mimes and their invisible and mute tennis game. There was also his first trip to the antique shop, as well as the appearance of the 2 teenage girls. I did not really want to think too much about them as I watched the movie since everything was ultimately an utter blur in my head at that point in time. I just saw them as distractions to the main point of the story.

The thing I liked most about the movie is its ability to lure one into believeing that a certain thing is going to happen, but it does not necessarily do so. The ending is sort of leaves everyone hanging (not just sort of, in my case) since it does not really imply whatever happened to everyone involved in the crime and if the crime will ever be solved. Everything is kept uncertain and open ended. What a completely frustrating movie Blow-up is. No matter how hard I try to understand what I have seen, there are still a lot of things left unsolved in my brain. Perhaps a second, third, or even fourth viewing is in order.

 
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Posted by on 22 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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J’aime Paris, je t’aime [090279}

Paris, je t’aime is definitely one of my favorites from all of the films that were shown in class. Overall, I think that the movie is great because of its variety and unpredictability.  The fact that there are 20 segments and a different set of directors and actors for each was truly an amazing idea. Not only was it refreshing, but it was also captivating in a sense that the whole movie did not feel so much of a drag. Each segment is totally different from the other, but all are bound together by LOVE and of course, the location of each one, the city of love: PARIS.  I think that the five minutes allotment per segment was sufficient enough. In a way, such a restriction with regard to time serves as a measure as to the quality and effectiveness of each of the stories, as well as the direction and acting skills of the various characters. The time limit posed as a challenge: that being whether each segment will be able to show the concept of love – whether it is newly found, merely blooming, or even slowly fleeting— in the most creative way possible, add to that without being overly cliché. I was very surprised to see that not all the episodes were caught up in the idea of romantic love. In a way, I was thankful for that since I would not want to see just another version of Valentine’s Day or something with a similar theme/concept/whatchamacallit.  The movie was a smorgasbord of love in its every sense. I could not really explain how I felt after watching the movie since it managed to present and make the viewers feel a wide array of emotions.  Paris, je t’aime actually made me think about Pecha-kucha (as well as the fast approaching deadline for the pair project :|). Come to think of it, they are of very similar ideas. A certain amount of time is set in order to avoid losing the attention and interest of the audience. This, in my opinion, was very played well by the film.

It is normal, however, that not all the vignettes will please everyone. I, for one, did not really like the episode with the couple in the graveyard: Pere Lachaise (the one with Oscar Wilde, or better yet, his ghost). I just think that there are a lot of inconsistencies, as what have been mentioned in class during the last meeting. There is also the one about the sales representative of some hair product. I felt really confused while watching that one. Some of my favorites would be: 1) Loin du 16eme (the one with the nanny/mother), 2) Place des Fetes (the one with the man who was stabbed) 3) Fauborg Saint- Denis (Natalie Portman and the blind guy) – I found the presentation style really nice and creative 4) Tuileries (metro) – it was just too funny 5) 14eme arrondissement (one with the lady narrating in French) – it was sad but also hopeful 6) Bastille (lady in red trench coat) – almost made me cry. There is just too many to mention. All of the vignettes were nice in their own way. In conclusion, I really loved I felt that we could not have ended the course with a better film 🙂

 
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Posted by on 22 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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