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Punch Drunk Love: Transcendent Love (083568)

I personally find it rare that a film is carried all by one character alone, usually it is done as a group effort, multiple characters that differ in their own special ways that work together to make a film truly epic and great. However, Punch Drunk Love goes against that belief as it is all about the one character of Barry Egan, played brilliantly by Adam Sandler.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson has done a remarkable job in communicating the character and mind of Barry Egan to the audience. Throughout the entire film the audience is placed in this uneasy and unsettling almost disturbing-like atmosphere. The awkward shots and use of lens flares gives off a very surreal element to the movie and it is through these techniques that we as the audience come to terms and understanding of Barry. It is clear that Barry is no ordinary human being in the sense that he is a very strange man, most likely living with a certain mental condition that is never explained or mentioned whatsoever in the film. Rather it leaves it up to the audience to find out which is much better than resorting to spoon-feeding the audience.

Barry’s actions and responses to everyday life are what captivate the attentions of those that watch this film, that it is because of his unique and different character that we as the audience can’t wait to see how he reacts to something such as a call to a phone-sex line. What ensues is nothing short of genuine comedy, as the phone-sex receptionist struggles to get Barry to talk “dirty” instead Barry chooses to talk about his day and about his life. It is hilarious to see someone refer to a phone-sex line as somewhat of a life-coach or guidance counselor, or even a therapist as Barry talks on and on about anything other than what the purpose of that call would be for any other person.

However, what I really enjoyed about this film was how it revolved around the phenomenon of love. Being a romantic-comedy at heart, it was truly heartwarming to see someone such as Barry Egan find true love in his life. Something that may seem almost impossible given the situation and condition he’s in, one may find it extremely unlikely that Barry find someone willing to spend the rest of their life with him, and as harsh as that may sound, it is all the more joyful when he defies those odds and gets the girl.

It sends out the message that love transcends and conquers all, and what could be more feel-good than that? Filled with hilarious moments such as the absolutely ridiculous dialogue that Barry and Lena (His love interest) share whilst in bed, or when Barry and the character of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dean Trumbell, get into an intense argument over the phone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE2FCCZ50VU), although it may not be for everyone, this film should not fall short of entertainment.

Although I will be honest, at first I was not all that interested in the film, the awkwardness and unsettling nature of the score and dialogue made me feel way too uneasy at first. However, after taking much time to realize what the film had done, I’ve come to appreciate a lot more than I thought I could have. Overall, at it’s core, Punch Drunk Love is a heartwarming tale of a strange man that goes against the world in his fight for true love, and in the end wins her heart.

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Posted by on 26 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Hotel Chevalier / The Darjeeling Limited: Mending Family Bonds (083568)

I personally really enjoyed this film. One about the importance of family and what it takes to mend together broken bonds, it shares both its sweet and sour moments with the audience in ways that bring about much laughter, sympathy and joy.

From the start to the finish, this movie captured my attention and I would not let go. Before I knew it, I had personally grown attached to the film. The way it depicts the importance of family in such an unusual way (a train ride across India) I felt was unique, creative and well done by director Wes Anderson. The Whitman brothers each share their own kind of character with the audience that allows for the viewers to relate on a more personal level, especially those with brothers or siblings themselves. I personally have three brothers so there was an immediate connection right off the bat. Although I have an elder brother, I felt as if I related the most with Francis, the eldest of the three that organized the entire trip in order to hopefully restore their relationships as a family. I personally do care a lot as well for my two younger brothers and feel that I would do the same if ever we were to drift a part.

The way the film makes use of symbolism as well I felt was done exceptionally well. Francis’ bandages for instance served as a constant reminder of the healing process that this family is going through. The juxtaposition in color (black and white) during the young Indian boy’s funeral contrasted to that of their own father’s funeral brought about much realizations about the three brothers, and marked a turning point in their growth as characters, that they are learning to genuinely care for one another. Although blunt and taken far too literal, the symbolism in the brother’s baggage of grief, distrust and disliking towards one another in the form of their own personal baggage (luggage) was actually expressed exceptionally well during the final moments of the film when the brothers are tossing aside their baggage and freeing themselves from the past, to look forward to a brighter future.

In fact, that was actually my favorite part of the film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ni7nn792v0&feature=related). In slow motion whilst being led on by an uplifting soundtrack, when the brothers are racing towards a departing train only to toss aside their baggage, as if letting go of their grief and distrust for one another, it really made me feel for them, it brought compassion, relief and hope for these characters that seemed lost and misguided at the start of the film.

As for the short Hotel Chevalier, this brought more understanding to the film, especially to the character of Jack Whitman. Introducing his ex-girlfriend and how Jack acts around her, we as the audience see the struggle it is for Jack to let go of her. However as the ending of The Darjeeling Limited expressed their capabilities as brothers to finally let go of the past, it gives us hope for Jack, and ultimately for these brothers to finally mend their broken family bonds together.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Velvet Goldmine: Too Much Sparkle (083568)

The film Velvet Goldmine is based mainly on the life of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” character set in the glam rock era of the early 1970’s. Given the era and time frame of the events that transpire in the film, it would be easy to relate and connect with the movie on a personal level. However, I feel as though given the fact that I was not yet born during this time and that I have no recollection whatsoever of the “glam rock” era that took over much of Europe, the United States and perhaps maybe even most of the world, the film never felt right with me.

To be honest I was very uneasy throughout the entire film, the characters never sat well with me, I just felt that their open homosexuality or bisexuality was a bit too much too fast. There really wasn’t a gradual introduction to the style of the 1970’s and what was considered “in” at the time. I felt blindsided by the constant barrage of images, color and graphics of this time era and honestly it just didn’t suit my taste. That being said however, I’m not trying to imply at all that this wasn’t a good or even great film. Despite my personal disliking towards the movie, I can completely understand and see as to why it’s highly regarded as a success in the film world.

It is for exactly those reasons mentioned above that this film comes off as a success, it is because of those images, color and graphics that the film is able to capture the essence of this era, and as unsettled as I was while watching the film, I can understand completely that that’s probably how I would have felt if I had been around during the 1970’s and experiencing the “glam rock” era personally. The film was able to take me on a journey not only through the life of the character Brian Slade and how he struggles and fights with the tribulations of being a global rock icon while also being openly bisexual, but also took me through the times of the 1970’s, and it is through that reason that I feel this movie has done a great a job.

Overall though, it was all a bit too much for me. Personally, I did not enjoy the film as I mentioned before, it was all too graphic and went over-the-top. I was exceptionally uneasy during the scene where Slade is filming his new music video and he’s dressed ridiculously whilst many strange things occur (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1y_PRuq7x0). It reminded me of the musical artist Lady Gaga in today’s world and how unsettling and strange she can be. However, what I did like about the film was how it contrasted and juxtaposed the character of Christian Bale between past and present and how different he was back then as an adolescent rebelling against his parents to how he has succumbed to the ways of the world and forgone his past ways. Ultimately, the movie does a fantastic job in setting the mood in relation to the time frame given, it was all just a bit too fabulous for me.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Blowing Up, Slowly but Surely (083568)

The film Blow-Up was released in 1966 and revolves around an unusual day in the life of a photographer that believes he has played witness to a murder. The movie follows the young photographer as he goes about his business throughout a regular working day, taking pictures of models, landscapes and whatever interests him. However, as he stumbles upon what appears to be a young couple in love and later “blows-up” his photographs of them, he comes to the horrific conclusion that he has just witnessed a murder as his pictures show a stranger with a gun and the eventual dead body of the man.

The film as a whole comes off as realistic and voyeuristic. For most of the film we see the plot unfold from the photographers point of view, exactly as he would. Even the musical score isn’t used unless a radio or record player is used in the scene, such as during his photo shoots. Ambient and natural sounds are what make up the majority of the noise in the film such as gusts of wind, the sound of traffic and automobiles, and the clicking of the photographer’s camera. This may make the film difficult to watch as it provides less of an edge and may cause the viewers to lose interest. We as the audience are simply viewing the events of the film for what it is, being spectators, nothing more than on-lookers of what is going on.

The film eventually has the photographer actually see the dead body in the middle of the night, however lacking his camera he is unable to snap any photographic evidence, and when he returns in the morning, the body is gone. The movie concludes with the photographer once again in the park watching a squad of mimes play tennis, as the imaginary ball flies out of the court and seemingly towards the photographer, he gestures to pick it up and toss it back at them as the film cuts to a birds eye view shot (further implying the voyeuristic nature of the film) of the man in the park and the eventual end scene.

As a metaphor I feel that the film encompasses that feeling of capturing a priceless moment with a camera, and how easily it can slip away. In the film that moment is the murder, only to slip away from the photographer at the very end, representative of his return back to his normal life in the park, with no photographic proof of what he has just witnessed, and how no one would believe him if he were to even tell the story.

My favorite part of the film occurs when the protagonist is slowly uncovering and realizing the murder that he has just witnessed. Whilst in his home, slowly blowing up the pictures he had taken earlier in the day, and suddenly realizing the shooter in one of his pictures and subsequently the dead body on the ground behind the tree, it is all very nerve-racking. It would be customary to add a dramatic score at this point in this film but it is in fact the lack of any music whatsoever that brings in this very unsettling feeling to the audience, only to climax with the sudden knock on his door.

 
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Posted by on 25 May 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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