Sunday, September 30, 2012

13 Assassins

I enjoyed knowing that this film was based on a true story.  That is something that always makes movies more interesting to me.  I do not know much about Japanese history but this movie has taught me some basics.  I learned that Japan was run by shogun and his retainers. The tyrant was the shoguns brother so killing him off was not okay. The shogun samurai finds 13 assassains to fight for him in battle. The most intriguing part for me was the action and violence.  The movie was very long which made it seem even more intense.  Overall I felt the acting was good.  I did not enjoy the fact that it was in another language which meant I had to read for over two hours, but other than that it was decent.


I really like movies that have many different story lines that connect at the end. This one is very fast passed and fun to watch. However, I think this movie has enough plot lines to fill two or three other movies. We bebop around a world where bare-knuckle boxing gypsy con-artists, pig raising thugs, hopeless common thieves and indestructible Russian assassins inevitably clash.

13 Assassins

I enjoyed watching this movie (aside from the opening scene). Violence does not bother me, but I  thought this scene was a bit excessive.  Usually I do not like movies with subtitles but I liked the style of the filming and the storyline so it held my interest. I also liked how while it was a serious and violent movie, there was also some humor to it.

Kung Foo Hustle

 I had never seen or heard of this movie before. I really enjoyed this movie because it had alot of action and was comedic at the same time. It was interesting to see a ninja movie like this. For me what really made this movie was the special effects. All of the fight scenes were fast and exciting. The begining led me to believe that it was going to be an asian version of "Gangs of New York".

China Town

Another good movie that I wouldn't have known existed. Thanks professor!!
Great acting, settings, and a different kind of ending. At first it did not catch my eyes, but it did not take long to catch my attention. 


What a great film. First I love Jack Nicholson so immediately I was interested. The acting was superb. The characters chosen were perfect for the movie. Faye Dunaway is so convincingly secretive that it wasn't until the end that I was sure she did not do it.  I hated how it ended though.  I prefer happily ever after and this was sadly just the opposite.  The lighting used in the film was great. Dark and shadowy to increase the drama and suspense.   It was really good. I will probably watch it again so I can see what I missed the first time.

13 Assassins

I enjoyed this film, I haven't seen many samurai movies but the ones I have seen have these elaborate twists and I really liked that this one didn't. This extreme situation was made know as soon as the movie started and I wasn't distracted from it by trying to figure out what the twist would be.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hotel Transylvania

Yes I know a kids film but what can I say I have 5 kids so these days I think if and when I do watch TV it is more of a kids show. It was a good movie, the story was cute and it made you laugh. The count was trying to shield his only daughter (and only child) from humans since they kids his wife so he did not want to loose her. but during a event at his hotel for monsters a human was able to pass into the front door of his hotel. Later his daughter falls in love with him.

Won't Back Down

Friday night my kid's school was given out free ticket for the movie "Won't back down". So we figure we would check it out because the bonus was volunteer hours for going! The movie was about a mom who daughter was not getting the support she needed in a inner city school, the teacher were just there to collect a pay check and did not care about the student. The mom went to the school board and found out that the parents could take over the school ( like a charter type school) and run it broken away from the district. So she has the job of recurite the parents and the teachers to join. In the end she of course secedes and they have their school.

From taking this class I was able to notice the camera angles, allot of handi-type cams and also some shots for a surreal type of image. I thought the acting was good, overall all the movie was good as a "screen play" but the message in the beginning was that it was based on real situation. In reading on the internet, no one really can figure out if this was based on a school in DC from the experiences from Michelle Rhee or a school in LA. Also the ending was left you hanging on what the success of the school was other then a shot of a assembly in the newly founded school.

If you can see it for free, great if not.... maybe wait.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Prometheus turned out to be your stereotypical modern science fiction film. It was nothing short of that. It was a take on the birth of the Xenomorph breed.

The movie made little correlation to Ridley Scott's Alien.

Prometheus was the name of the ship and correlated with the god of the same name. It was about a birth of a new, greater breed. However, the plot holes leading up to "Alien" were evident quite a bit.

The opposing creature this time was an alien humanoid noted as nothing within the actual film, but dubbed "an evolved God-like version of humans". Noted as "The Engineers". This being stood as a pale, 8-foot, physically and intellectually advanced being that predates human history. He appeared in the opening scene being visibly ripped apart at the molecular level and being 'reborn' into this advanced being.

There was an example of how one of the crew's members became infected by a disease, a parasite, that infected the male and impregnated the otherwise sterile wife of said human male (of course, only after Hollywood-style implied sex). This child was nothing less than a starfish, an adaptation for the earliest evolution of our favorite "Facehugger" aliens.

Hopefully, Scott was peaking of making the film into it's own franchise with a sequel. This will create a feeling of spiritual succession for the full Alien franchise.

If this is true, this will explain the various plot holes in Prometheus. It will create a standalone series where our "Alien" beings merely exist and play a smaller part in the story as a whole. This could possibly bring up a variation of our "Predator" series as well. I suppose only time will tell.

Legends of The Falls

This has to be my new favorite movie.  This movie spoke to my heart and had so many great elements.  To me, this movie was about 3 brothers who loved 1 women.  At first I thought the women was a little slutty, but realized at the end she was a woman that wanted to be loved just like the bothers.  The father and his hate for the government is another fascinating element of the movie.  He grew to hate his son because of his choice to be a part of the government.  I was very emotional throughout the entire movie.  The picture was absolutely breathtaking.  Overall I give this move a A+.

The Notebook

I watched this movie after everyone I came into contact with was amazed at the fact I never saw it.  This movie was a beautiful love story.  I loved the fact that these two people loved each other until they took their last breath.  I am a strong believer in love and believe there is love today that still exsist like this.  My favorite part of the film was how he was poor boy and she was a rich girl and they loved one another so much, they didn't see how different their worlds were.

A Soldier's Story

This movie was very interesting.  I watched it because my boyfriend encouraged me to.  I realized black Americans were treated unfairly, but this film made me understand more about my history.  Fighting for you country and not having the privileges as your white counterparts is unsettling.  I was engaged in this movie from the beginning until the end.  I knew the Clan did not do the killing, but was surprised the learn the killer was actually a fellow black soldier.  These men had enough to deal with back then to add killing there own to the equation.

Shane and Unforgiven

I am a Clint Eastwood fan and have always been so I did like Unforgiven. I loved Shane because even though it had the same elements of good versus bad/evil, it was more kid friendly. Shane was the hero, but I really thought Little Joey was my favorite. That little boy was very inquisitive and he made this movie for me.

Shane--Director's Thoughts on Violence in Westerns

I found a book published in 2004 on Google Books that is a compilation of interviews with the director of “Shane,” George Stevens. He believes that the importance of death illustrated through chaotic, nonsensical violence in Westerns is lost on the audience. When Shane, played by Alan Ladd, is in the bar for the big fist fight, I couldn’t believe that no one drew a fast and easy gun. Since Stevens wanted to convey that the gun was the last option for violence, Jack Palance’s one shot that kills the innocent farmer represents all the violence behind the greedy, bad guys. This single shot was much more powerful than some crazy gun battle.
Here is an excerpt from the interview with George Stevens and his ideas about how violence was thought of in the “Shane” script.
“In most Westerns, everybody shoots and nobody gets hurt. One thing we tried to do in “Shane” was reorient the audience to the horror of a pistol…There’s no shooting in ‘Shane’ except to define a gun shot, which for our purposes is a holocaust. It’s not a gesture of bravado, it’s death. When guns are used, they’re deadly. Our characters have an abhorrence of violence and a knowledge of the responsibility of taking a life that doesn’t exist in most Westerns.”
He goes on to say, “In ‘Shane,’ a right-hand punch hurts. It can knock a man down, and a bullet destroys.”
On writing the script, Steven says, “We carefully reappraised it and put forth what we considered to be the embodiment of the Western legend, which is incidentally much the same legend as British knighthood, in which a single horseman rides to do battle against tremendous odds.”
The craziness and senselessness of gun battle is also portrayed in “Unforgiven.” Every gun shot seemed to count in that movie, too.
Here is a link to the book online:

The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari

I have never really seen a silent film aside from little bits of Charlie Chaplin movies. I loved this. I thought it was very cool and I could see a bit of surrealism in it. The story was cool, and I loved that in the end I understood the movie even though words had never been spoken. A story is difficult to convey when only actions are being presented but this movie did a great job of it. I will say it took making it to the end to understand the movie and that he had been having a fantasy flashback. Overall, I enjoyed the movie.

Kung Fu Hustle

I found Kung Fu Hustle to be an interesting movie. It annoyed me a little bit that I had to read the subtitles for the translation, but I got used to it after awhile. It seemed very exaggerated in the way that most of the movie was depicted. There was also many different forms of camera angles, movements, and effects. The story line was there but it did not seem to come together that easy for me. In all it was a good movie

Unforgiven and Shane

Both Shane and Unforgiven had good vs bad elements and hero's with a good cause.  The hero's had their own shadows of bad each trying to escape their past.  I liked both but I liked Unforgiven most. The acting in Shane was corner at times but I loved the character of the little boy.  The action scenes in Shane were at times sloppy and slow.  I would definitely watch Unforgiven again

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Outlaw Jose Wales

Let me say that I love Clint Eastwood. One of the best actors of all time. I loved this week because my favorite Clint Eastwood movie is The Outlaw Jose Wales.  I think he is one of best cowboys in the history of western films.  I loved it.  He is a violent hero that goes west after his family's murder.  He refuses to join  the army and becomes a one man show. Excellent move.


I actually enjoyed this movie.  I like westerns. I love the ideas of heroes in any movie.  Shane reminded me of Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven. Both have a quiet confidence.  Neither has to prove themselves to the “bad boys” of the movie.  Even though we know a little about Munny, he is still mysterious while we know nothing about Shane.  Both ride off into at the end of movie after completing their job.  The color in Shane was beautiful because it captured the rawness of the outdoors.  Because I don’t much about Shane, I can only guess that he may have a violent past or he was just riding to find a new life. Munny was a violent murder who redeems himself by actually obtaining justice for women.  Both men are heroes but in different ways.

The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari

Although I have to give this film credit for being shot in a very clever manner, I have to give the film a so-so review. I enjoyed how it was shot more than what was actually happening. One of my favorite classes in high school was horror fiction, taught by a woman who had previously taught the class at Harvard, so I got a really good idea of classic horror films I enjoyed. This was in the middle for me. I actually like movies with subtitles, but the fact that it was a silent film made it difficult to sit through.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

While I generally do not enjoy silent films, I actually like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I thought the film was wonderfully shot and I especially liked the tinting for different scenes. I thought it was clever to tint  in blue to show the difference between night and day, I have never seen that before. The one thing I didn't like about how the film was shot was the fade out when changing scenes. I found this to be distracting and pulled me out of the movie. I also found the font difficult to read sometimes but overall  the dialogue was captivating. I found the plot of this movie to be interesting because its not the typical "horror story" that is common in today's horror films.

The Cabinet of Dr.Caligari

This film was very different from anything I would normally choose to watch but there were still aspects I could appreciate. The funky sets I recognized was an aspect of the surrealist nature of the film. The slanted almost melty structures of the buildings were disorienting and spooky. This made sense once I found out the entire flashback was a fantasy. It was a creation of a mad individual. The start of the film was slow, but the end was the most enjoyable. The tinting was neat, but the scene changes really annoyed me.

Black Narcissus; I Walked With A Zombie

     I actually enjoyed this movie, it was a bit slow at the start, but when it picked up and the nun went off the deep end, it kept me interested. One thing I noticed time and time again was the use of close ups in the movie, more specifically when the camera would show Sister Ruth's crazy eyes and expressions. It definitely creeped me out a bit. The landscape scenes were well done too, given what they had to produce the movie.
     At first I was not happy about having to watch a movie about zombies, because I absolutely hate zombies, though after reading a synopsis of the movie and actually watching it (and realizing there are no actual 'scary zombies') I thought the movie was good. It kept my interest and left me guessing what was going to happen. The ending threw me for a loop, I didn't think two people would die, I guess I assumed they'd cure Jessica and everyone would live happily ever after. I was way off. Overall I liked the use of the camera and just moving it slightly to look like a new landscape or background.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I typically do not like westerns but this to me is not a typical western and I enjoyed it very much. The acting is excellent. I really liked the story instead of the ordinary western like I mentioned and I will be watching Shane and comparing the two before class.


This movie was excellent. It is a film that came out in 2011 and stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as well as other great actors. It is based on the true story of a medical doctor and how he invented the vibrator. This is not a sexual film like it may sound, it is about women's right's and how the medical community used to use the word hysteria for all of a women's problem's and if she had any of her own opinion's. This film approaches some serious issues in a comical way and with superb acting. I highly recommend this film. If you have studied how medicine used to be we sure have come a long way , it was very scary back then the way people were treated.


Is it just me, or are movies that are filmed primarily in POV annoying?  I think that certain movies like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project could have been better if they were just filmed differently.  With that in mind has anyone seen End of Watch yet?  From the trailers it seems like an interesting movie, but the clips that I've seen have been filmed in POV which is what is holding me back from going to see it.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Considering how old this movie is, it was beautifully filmed. They did a good job with the sets and lighting, however I honestly did not enjoy it.  Without the words that popped up I do not think I could have followed it at all. However, I am a verbal person, so I had a hard time watching the whole thing straight through. I have seen a few other silent films that I enjoyed, but I think that is because they were more comical.  That being said, I am sure there are worse movies out there.

Shane and Unforgiven

Professor Hammond showed a movie titled "Unforgiven" starring Clint Eastwood.  It was a modern day western movie.  There was alot of action and violent fight scenes. The scene with the cutting of the "lady of the evening's " face was disturbing.  I did admire the women standing up for one another.  Life in those days was extremely hard for any woman.
That is the difference between the film "Shane" starring Alan Ladd.  Even though the movie Shane had rough and tumble action, the violence was much less. I thoroughly enjoyed the use of light and shadow in the film Shane.  Let's be honest the acting was at a lower level than in Unforgiven.   The movie Shane showed family values from that era compared to Unforgiven where as Clint Eastwood left his children all alone on the homestead for days.  In contrast, in Shane the neighbors rallied to stand together against all odds.
In Unforgiven, the relationship between Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman showed what friendship means. In Shane, showed the loyalty between Shane and Mr. an employer to a traveling man.

I enjoyed both films and would view them again.

Black Narcissus

This was an unusual film but the color cinematography was beautiful at times. i'm glad the director included little snippets of the superior nun's life before taking her vows, it made her seem human and created a sense that she could actually be tempted by the man.


I thought this was a great movie. I would've never gave a movie like this a chance if I was to be flipping thru the channels. Thanks professor Hammond. I think that from know on, I will be looking for movies similar to what you have introduced me too in class.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

To be honest I did not enjoy this film very much. It was difficult for me to stay awake but I managed to do so. I have only seen one type of silent film before and it was a Charlie Chaplin film. As you know his films are fast paced and humorous. I do not mind silent films like Charlie Chaplin's but I struggled with the slow pace of this film. In the beginning I found myself getting confused on the names of the characters since you had to read to know who was who. The music was very repetitive which could be what caused me to feel tired. The idea of Dr. Caligari and his somnabulist Cesare reminded me of Frankenstein. Although I had quite a few criticisms of this film I can still recognize and respect that this was made in 1920, almost a hundred years ago. One thing I did find particularly interesting was the twist at the end.  I did not expect the entire story to be a fantasy that Francis was imagining.  I think that if this movie was remade in modern day then it could be very entertaining. That being said, they did do a good job at setting the mood with the lighting and music. It gave you the feel that it was a mystery that needed to be solved.

Midnight cowboy

At first I recalled liking the movie because I am sure I had seen it before but not so much as I watched it again. I am shocked of the sexual scenes given the time of the movie. The plot seems senseless to me.

Midnight Cowboy

I remember when this movie first came out I was unable to finish watching it. This time I actually finished watching it and I was glad I took the time to watch it again. I really appreciated the acting by Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. The director evoked all kinds of feelings for these two guys (Joe Buck and Ratsco). Great Directing and acting.

Midnight Cowboy

“Midnight Cowboy.” Wow, what a story. This film is so depressing, but I think that is a reflection of the excellent editing, writing, and acting. I thought the montages telling the story of Joe’s history was most affective. Those montages reveal Joe’s sad history, and it is so sad! Dustin Hoffman seems to embody the dirty, poor, disenfranchised parts/people of New York. As far as the acting goes, both men did an excellent job of conveying their pathetic hope in the midst of such a sad existence. At the end of the movie, I really wanted to know more about what Joe would be doing in Miami. My hope is that he learns his lesson, goes back to school, and becomes a nurse J.
“Midnight Cowboy” is the only X-rated movie to win an Oscar for Best Picture.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Midnight Cowboy

Midnight Cowboy was one of the best films of it's time.  The scenes were on point with locations in New York City.  It is a hustle and bustle world out there.  Yes, that is exactly what the streets looked like back in the late 1960's.  This movie showed the seedier side of life, including drug use.
Dustin Hoffman was on point with his character of  Ratso and Jon Voight was the cowboy, wet behind the ears when it came to city life. The two characters were so opposite that they were drawn to one the saying opposites attract but in a bond of friendship.
This lifestyle was part of a cultural era and even though times change, they remain the same, only the names and faces are different.

Midnight Cowboy

I didn't enjoy this movie. I don't watch movies too much because they are sometimes to graphic for me and this was one of those movies. I couldn't get through the movie.  I read up on in and I am glad that I didn't finish this movie.  The only positive that I can say about the parts that I saw was about John Voight. I love his acting. He is one the best actors in my opinion of the time. I just wish I could have watched the entire move to see his performance in Midnight Cowboy.

A Brief Parade of American Cinema

Hey everybody! I wrote this for my first assignment for my Intro to Creative Writing class. There are 25 film references in all. See how many you can catch! :D

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus started off slow for me, but got better throughout the movie. I did notice the 4:3 aspect ratio and  also the lighting that was used in the movie. Like someone else said, it was an older movie and I find that older movies are harder to follow. The ending was alright, nothing spectacular, it did leave you thinking what would happen to everyone now though.

Black Narcissus

Although the ending of this movie was not great, I did appreciate the irony of the final scene with the rain. Throughout the movie I assumed that the superior nun would end up quitting to be with Dean, so it was a little disappointing when she left to go somewhere else. I loved the sets and costumes, and I think they did a great job considering how old the movie is.  The lighting in the final scenes really added to the drama. After reading Chapter two in the textbook, i definitely paid more attention to the groupings and placement of characters in all of the scenes.


Looks like I'm the minority, which I'm used to :)  but I did like the plot, it was just a little much on the language.  I'm not easily offended, but the F bomb was a little much for my taste.  Although I thought the ploy was great, and there were some very funny lines.  - BTW, I saw "The Campaign" with Zack Galifinakos and Wil Farrell.  I am a huge fan of both, however again, a little crude for me.  I'm not sure why all the funny movies have to really go the extreme...  a little disappointing and the ending was VERY cheesy for lack of a better word!  Don't waste your money !


I have to admit I had seen this film before, but watching it this time was a reminder of why I love this film. It is actually very funny and entertaining. I am glad I watched it again and I could see myself watching it again and again.


The Wild Bunch

This was a very good western if you like watching westerns. This film has an all-star cast. I grew  up with a father who loves westerns and he says this is one of his all time favorites. I was surprised by the fact that these criminals actually had a code of honor. I am not a big western lover, but I did enjoy this movie.

Extreme Long Shot

I was looking at some examples of extreme long shots and found this from The Fighter.  I thought it was a pretty cool shot.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Midnight Cowboy

I never seen Midnight Cowboy and will admit I was a little hesitant at first since older movies tend not to keep my attention well.  But I thought the movie was actually pretty good.  The story of the cowboy and the handicapped hustler was great.  Dustin Hoffman played the role very well and I couldn't imagined it played any other way.  The only thing that bothered me was the "chaoticness" of the flashbacks.  While they were needed to get some insight on Joe Buck, they could have been played out better in my opinion.

Midnight Cowboy

This movie was really interesting from beginning to end.The flashbacks gave me a better understanding as to why he behaved  like he did. His mother leaving him, being raised by his grandmother showed as to why he acted as he did.  It was really sad at the end when Rico pass away due to his cold.


I had never seen Fargo before and I have to say, it was not what I expected. I love movies that have a sick and twisted plot, but include such an element of humor at the same time. I love the accents and thought they were fantastically exaggerated. I thoroughly enjoyed this film! "You're darn tootin", I did!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Boy Wonder

Good movie.  It's about a little boy that witnessed his mother get killed in a car jacking.  Apparently, the boy was a genesis and swore revenge against the person that killed his mother.  Years later he's a senior in high school and an expert at weapons usage and martial arts.  At night time he goes and kills people (pimps, dope heads) that got away with murder in the court system.  The plot thickens when a female cop crosses paths with the kid and suspects the kid's foul play.  Her judgement becomes blurred when she finds out the person that murdered his mother is the same person that got away with murder that she arrested.  So she has to decide to purse and arrest him or let him go.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus seemed to start off slow in the beginning for me as well. I was waiting to see what the point of the film was and then was actually disappointed by the ending. I think this was because I am sucker for happy endings and this left me feeling like the issues were unresolved by the end. I also am not a huge fan of older movies. It did however, capture my attention enough to allow me to feel for the nuns and the struggles they were experiencing. When they would show clips of the head sister reflecting back on before she became a nun, I felt sympathy for her and imagined myself in her situation. I believe this movie had good examples of the camera shots we discussed last week in class. I also noticed the lighting and shadows. They seemed to go with the mood of the scene just as we learned.

Black Narcissus---

I can't say I enjoyed this movie very much, but I was able to appreciate the vibrant colors and the scenery. It was dated but never the less pleasing to the eye. I noticed the use of light in every scene. Specifically sister Ruth scenes tended to be lower light and shadowy, most likely because she is mentally unstable and dangerous. The most exciting scene for me was the tower scene, but it also annoyed me. It is once again an exaggerated portrayal of mental illness, and the deranged character ends up falling to her death. It was disappointing.

13 Assassins

While I was intrigued by the choreography in the long fight scene. I found this movie very graphic and bloody. I also learned it was a burden to be a samari. I found a parallel with this movie and Pan Labrynith, in that they set up in the beginning who the bad guy is and why he will be  or needs to be killed in the end.

13 Assassins

I enjoyed the movie. It was a bit gruesome and with surround sound the effects were amazing. I could actually hear the head roll in the floor even though I could not watch it while it happened.  I wondered how they actually did  editing to achieve the action pieces. I would actually watch it again even though this is not my choice of genre.

13 Assassins Director Interview

Takashi Miike Picture
Takashi Miike, Director
In an interview with “13 Assassins” director Takashi Miike, on a website called, he was asked how much of the village he actually built for the movie and how much was CG. His answer reveals that he built all the sets and did not rely on CG for any of the action. Here is an edited direct quote of what he says,
“The only CG you see is…I mean, we couldn’t set the bulls on fire in real life! So those are CG. But other than that, there’s also a little bit of CG work when it comes to the blood, during the fight scenes. It’s in addition to the actual physical stage blood we used. But that’s pretty much it. Also, we didn’t use any digital effects in post-production… [E]verything was shot at 24 frames per second, with no changing of the speed in the edit. The idea was to respect the old way of making these movies.”
Here is a link to the whole interview:
I was also most impressed with some of the angles and POVs Miike used during the fight scenes. I tried to find a clip of the first-person scene where one of the fighters is cut, and the camera turns to his POV to reveal the action around him, but it was nowhere to be found online. I was also interested in how Miike used light to better convey the mood of the story. I noticed it was very dark in the beginning of the film. As the story progresses, the sun shines, the rooms are better lit, and, ultimately, the fight scene is completely revealed between the light of sunshine and the mix of clouds and sun.
Interesting Tidbit: Miike made a film for HBO’s horror movie series, Masters of Horror, in 2006 that HBO deemed too disgusting to put on-air. It is called “Imprint” and is on DVD. It is based on an old Japanese story, or folktale. Frankly, after reading the description on Wikipedia, I think it sounds disgusting! Might be fun for some horror movie buffs.

13 Assasains

I don't mind subtitled movies usually, but because this was also an action movie with what felt like the longest fight scene EVER, I got bored. It was also hard to keep up with the subtitles because I was trying to watch and understand what was going on. Aside from that, I did think the editing was very well done and I liked that it was almost hard to tell when the scenes were cut. I think I only noticed one or two because I was looking for it based on last week's class.

I found the lighting a little dark on the movie, but I felt it was appropriate for what we were watching. Especially considering that in that time period they would pretty much only have had natural lighting and some candle lanterns at most.

Overall, I think I would have enjoyed the movie more if it was a genre I would usually be into, but I didn't hate it :-)

Big Miracle

In the first or second class we talked about films that are "based on true stories". A lot of these movies shift so far away from the actual event that it is trying to depict. I watched "Big Miracle" over the weekend. I thought it was a really good movie and I could tell that it was based on a true story because there is a ton of old news footage shown in it. They use news clips with some of the most celebrated journalists of the 80s. Of course, they added things and took things away from the story, but I liked it. Below is a clip and a link to an LA Times story that was published about the story around the time the movie was coming out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

13 Assassins

I watched 13 Assassins the other day with my wife. Like another classmate comment's I would not have normally watched this type of movie. First with the movie in another language and having to read sub title is a turn off and hard to keep my attention. Next it was a blood bath, and I know if Prof Tom reads this he will be thinking I must not have taken the horror film class yet! So from a professional / Student side I think the movie's director and editor did a great job with the action scene's with the camera angles and the special effects of the graphics to give you a good feel of the story of the movie.

13 Assassins

The movie 13 Assassins is good as far as Japanese Samurai fighting movies go.
Personally, this venue is not my cup of tea.  It did not hold my interest at all.
I do like some of the fighting scenes though.  Sorry guys!

Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus was not what I expected it to be. At the beginning of the film, I found myself feeling like it was taking too long for the movie to actually get going. Instead, I wound up noticing the camera shots we discussed in class. There were a lot of ExCl's in this film. However, once the film picked up its pace, I found it more interesting. I'm glad that there were relatable themes included, like suspense, jealousy, and humor. Overall, I thought that it probably seemed a little "slow" because it was made so long ago, but I also thought it was a worthwhile film to watch.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane was the best movie ever made until Alfred Hitchcock produced Vertigo. Citizen Kane was a very good movie in my opinion and is timeless. Orson Welles was very talented having starred, produced, directed and wrote the movie. At the age of 23 he had produced the most significant movie ever made in american cinema. At the time he was truly an innovator, during one scene he took an axe to the studio floor to get a lower shot.

13 Assassins

This particular film did not catch my attention. I believe this is because I am the type of person that does not like these types of films. I was a bit confuse on what was going on throughout the entire movie, causing me to lose interest.

Pride of the Yankees

Still of Gary Cooper and Babe Ruth in The Pride of the YankeesStill of Gary Cooper and Teresa Wright in The Pride of the YankeesThis is a film from 1942 which I really liked for many reasons, even though I am not a Yankee fan but a Met fan..LOL. It is the story of Lou Gehrig who was a famous baseball player because he was a great player who played in 2130 consective games and also because he contracted a terrible disease that was named after him. He died at age 37 from it. As a nurse I have dealt with ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease and it is just a scary, horrible thing to succumb to. I had a patient that was very young like Lou that I took care of early in my career that I learned a lot from and that shaped the rest of my nursing career.

Anyway the film was very interesting because many people portrayed themselves including Babe Ruth. I think people that do not even watch baseball would enjoy the film because it has the right balance of his personal life and baseball life and includes his extemely moving speech at the end instead of a death scene. Even I cried!! ALS is not that old of a disease since he was the first and it must have been so scary for him to know that yet he handled it so well.

Citizen Kane

The film was not what I expected at all; I think that was one of the best parts of it. It was intriguing and kept my attention the whole time. Normally movies that are older and in black and white do not interest me but this was completely different. Orson Welles is an incredible director, actor and his vision was far ahead of the time.

Interesting Article

By Todd Cunningham
How bad a weekend was it at the box office? Really bad -- as in the lowest since the week after 9/11, And so bad, the 31-year-old "Raiders of the Lost Ark" outperformed everything else in wide release.
With about $68 million in grosses, the weekend is the weakest since the Sept. 21-23 weekend in 2001, when the total was just under $59.7 million. The weekend's No 1 film, "Possession," took in just $9.7 million over the three days, so it's the first time since 2008 that no film cracked the $10 million mark.
Find: 'The Exorcist' and subliminal messages

And the best-performing movie -- at least in terms of per-screen average -- was 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark." It took in $1.7 million from 267 Imax screens, a $6,460 per-screen average. Paramount timed the one-week limited re-release to coincide with the debut of its "Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures" on Blu-ray on Sept. 18.
The weekend's No. 2 film, "Lawless," in its second week, finished well behind with $6 million, and newcomer "The Words" was third at $5 million. The week's only other wide opener, Summit Entertainment's "The Cold Light of Day," managed just $1.8 million.
Blame it on football season and back-to-school preparations or unappealing fare, but whatever the reason the box office clearly suffered. Even the film industry's attention was focused elsewhere, with many of the town's execs at the Toronto International Film Festival or the Venice Film Festival. The festival crowds didn't miss much at home.

Also on TheWrap: 'Pieta,' 'The Master' Win Top Venice Prizes - Jury Shifts Votes

Horrormeister Sam Raimi produced the PG-13-rated "Possession," which averaged $3,352 on its 2,834 screens, according to the studio. Ole Bornedal ("Nightwatch") directed Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Matisyahu.
The victory by "Possession" makes it four straight weeks that Lionsgate has had the nation's No. 1 film, coming on the heels of back-to-back wins by stablemate "Expendables 2." The overall domestic gross for "Possession," which was produced for less than $15 million, now stands at $33 million.
Also: What did the critics think?

In one of the weekend's few positive developments, the documentary  "2016: Obama's America"  has now taken in $26 million in its ninth week. That makes it the second-highest grossing documentary ever passing "Bowling for Columbine," "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Sicko" ($24.5 million).  It did it while posting a roughly 40 percent drop from last week--taking in just $3.3 million -- after Rocky Mountain Pictures expanded it to 2,017 locations from last week's 1,747.  It averaaged $1,627 per screen.
Michael Moore's 2004 film "Farenheit 9/11," which took in $119 million domestically and $222 million at the worldwide box office, is No. 1.
In its fourth week, "Expendables 2" crossed $75 million in overall grosses with an estimated $4.7 million for the three days.
The Weinstein Company's R-rated "Lawless" was on 2,888 screens and averaged $1,860. The period crime drama stars Shia LeBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jessica Chastain star under the direction of John Hillcoat  ("The Road"). Its overall domestic gross is $23 million.
"The Words," averaged $1,767 on its 2,801 screens in its debut. CBS Films targeted older females with its marketing and it worked; the audience was 58 percent women and 78 percent was over 25. Those numbers, along with its "B" CinemaScore, have CBS optimistic that it will do steady business in the weeks ahead.
Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde star in the PG-13 tale of a writer who, at the peak of his success, discovers the price he must pay for stealing another's work The film was independently produced for $6 million (shot over 25 days in Montreal) and acquired by CBS for $2 million at Sundance earlier this year.
In its fifth week, Universal's "The Bourne Legacy" raised its overall gross to $103 million, taking in $4 million.
Here are the top 10 movies at the box office:"Possession," $9.7M
"Lawless," $6M
"The Words," $5M
"Expendables 2," $4.7M
"Bourne Legacy," $4M
"ParaNorman," $3.8M
"The Odd Life of Timothy Green," $3.6
"The Campaign," $3.5M
"Dark Knight Rises," $3.2M
"2016: Obama's America," $3.2M

13 Assassins

Loved the movie.  I am always a fan of action movies that tie in with the samurai culture and ways.  The Asian landscape along with the architecture with time period has always caught my attention.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Batman, the Dark Knight

This series of Batman films takes you into the dark side of the comic.   It gets you away from the holywood mainstream crap thats out there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Black Narcissus

Who would have thought "Black Narcissus" was a scent of cologne? I found this  movie surprising. The person that was expected to be the bad guy actually turned out to be a stand up kind of guy and the nun was the demented one. This film had some surrealism in it for me.

Children of Men

This futuristic movie was thought provoking. It was a journey of a man trying to fulfill his ex-lover's crusade of saving  a women and her unborn child, during a time whn no babies had been born in eighteen  years. The movie was very violent , but necessary  to convey the time and story line. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

No Scene-Stealing Mise En Scene

I could not resist sharing my experience with a movie I watched this weekend. “The Raid-Redemption” is an ultra-violent movie made by the people who produced “Kung Fu Hustle.” We watched a few minutes of “Kung Fu Hustle” in class two weeks ago. That movie is funny, creative, and fantastical. On the other hand, “The Raid-Redemption” is nothing like that movie. Both movies are action movies, which take the emphasis off of mise en scene, but “Kung Fu Hustle” has color to its sets and its people. “The Raid” has no emphasis on its sets—and I think that is the point--and every character looks the same. There are a lot of shadows, blackness, and voids on the screen. The only elements that stands out are the action and the music. Like so many ultra-violent action movies, it plays and sounds like a video game. The only thing I can say about the sets and the dress of the people is that they do add to the shabby, dirty feel of the movie. But as a viewer, I only feel the surroundings, and see the action. The director, Gareth Evans, uses close-up shots of people's faces to add ultimate tension. I would recommend this movie if you are into violent martial arts movies. I liked it but spent a lot of time squinting through the rougher scenes. Enjoy the somewhat violent trailer.

Black Narcissus - Reminded Me of an All Time Fave

Black Narcissus was an interesting movie and I really noticed the shots that were talked about last week in class such as ExCU, CU, and MS. As soon as I saw the nuns in the movie, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies growing up and I still love it today. It's so tough to remember when being put on the spot like in the first class when we were asked what our favorite movie is. The Trouble with Angels is a 1966 film starring Hayley Mills and Rosalind Russell. Hayley Mills was one of my favorite actresses growing up although the movies I love her in were made many years before I was born. I must have watched The Parent  Trap and Pollyanna hundreds of times as a kid and adult. I thought I would share a youtube video of the funniest clips from The Trouble with Angels.

Black Narcissus

This film had every element we discussed in class so far such as long shots and close ups ect.. As far as the film at times I thought it was a horror film, a drama and even a comedy but for me it dragged a lot. The acting was over the top at times and good at other times.

I did like the over all story, just for me it was too long and could have been shorter. I found myself laughing at many parts also. These were some tough Nuns!!


Elements of Film
Fall 2012 - Residential Program
Tom Hammond

This course is an introduction to film analysis and criticism.  Being able to identify and interpret the various components of a film is vital to understanding the most important and influential art form of the last century and this one as well.  We will watch films and clips in class.  You will be assigned feature-length films to watch as homework as well as readings from the required text.  There will be a class blog in which you can participate.

Class Blog:  You will be invited to post on this website.

Instructors Contact Information – phone: 813-900-4759, email: or
Face to face meetings can be arranged before or after class.

Required Text:

Louis Giannetti, “Understanding Movies”

Netflix – A monthly subscription is a good idea for the semester.  All assigned movies are “streamable” on Netflix.  It costs $8 per month and the first month is usually free.  You can obtain all the films at the library, but availability might be a problem with 25 students and a limited number of copies on hand.  You can rent or buy, but Netflix is easily the most convenient and affordable method.  If you subscribe and for an extra $7, you can receive the films by mail as well as streaming.  Turnaround is 2-3 days. 

Course Requirements and Grading:

·         Attendance & Participation                         20% of grade
·         Contribution to Class Blog                          40% of grade
·         Midterm & Final Exam                               40% of grade
·         Extra Credit Project                                   (+10% of grade)

Attendance & Participation – Every class covers a component of film history, theory and criticism vital to your overall understanding of the subject.  If you can’t avoid missing a class, let me know in advance.  Any pattern of absence or chronic lateness will be noted and will adversely impact your final grade.  Speak up in class.  If that is difficult for you, bring in something that will inspire discussion. 
The Class Blog – You will be invited to author on the blog.  You can make comments on existing posts, post photos, videos or your own writing.  You can add links and suggested readings and viewings as well.   The Blog is a component of participation.  Contributing to it will generate interest in the class and good grades for you. 

Mid-Term & Final Exams – You are responsible for knowing the content of the assigned readings, and being familiar with class and required outside viewings.  The exams will be a combination of objective and short answer questions.

Extra Credit – You can keep a journal of films you view outside the requirements of class.  You should choose from movies that are mentioned or illustrated in the text book.  Write a paragraph or more for each entry explaining how this film relates to the subjects we are studying in class along with a personal opinion.  Turn in your work before the end of the semester in organized and printed form.

Academic Integrity – If you use an idea from another source, you can quote it or paraphrase it, but please CITE IT.  Failure to do so will be a violation of the Honor Code.

The Eckerd College Honor Code: “On my honor, as an Eckerd College student, I pledge not to lie, cheat or steal, nor to tolerate these behaviors in others.”

To affirm this, you will write, “Pledged” followed by your signature on all assignments, papers and exams.

Assignment Schedule:

·         All readings are chapters in the required text, “Understanding Movies” by Louis Gannetti.
·         Assigned Viewings are films you are required to see outside of class (all “streamable” on Netflix).
·         In class we will watch feature films, scenes and clips from various movies and documentary material on filmmaking.  Much of this will also be posted on the Blog for your further study.

Week 1: Introduction
Introduction of students and professor
Review of syllabus
In-class viewing: “Citizen Kane”
Assigned reading: Giannetti, Chapter 1

Week 2: Photography
Lecture: Cinematography
In-class viewing: “Visions of Light”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 2
Assigned viewing:  “Black Narcissus”

Week 3:  Mise en Scene
Lecture: Mise en Scene
In-class viewing: “I Walked With a Zombie”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 3
Assigned viewing:  “The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari” (1920)

Week 4:  Movement
Lecture: Cinematic Movement
In-class viewing: “Kung Fu Hustle”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 4
Assigned viewing:  “13 Assassins”

Week 5:  Editing
Lecture: Film Editing
In-class viewing: “The Cutting Edge”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 5
Assigned Viewing:  “Black Hawk Down”

Week 6:  Sound
Lecture: Film Sound
In-class viewing:  “Blow Out”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 6
Assigned viewing:  “True Grit” (2010)

Week 7:  Acting – MIDTERM EXAM
Lecture: Film Acting
In-class viewing: “On the Waterfront”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 7
Assigned viewing:  “Midnight Cowboy”

Week 8:  Drama
Lecture: Drama
In-class viewing: “Raging Bull”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 8
Assigned viewing: “Shakespeare In Love”

Week 9:  Story
Lecture: Storytelling
In-class viewing: “8 ½”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 9
Assigned viewing:  “High Noon”

Week 10:  Writing
Lecture: Screenwriting
In-class viewing: “Adaptation”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 10
Assigned viewing:  “Chinatown”

Week 11:  Ideology
Lecture: Theme
In-class viewing: “V for Vendetta”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 11
 Assigned viewing: “Dirty Harry”

Week 12:  Theory
Lecture: Film Theory & Criticism
In-class viewing: “La Strada”
Assigned reading:  Giannetti, Chapter 12
Assigned viewing: “The Bicycle Thief”

Week 13:  Synthesis
Lecture: Re-viewing “Citizen Kane”
In-class viewing:  “Citizen Kane
Review for Final Exam

Week 14:  FINAL EXAM


In the event of an emergency or campus shutdown, class work will continue online at:

You will be invited to contribute as a blog correspondent at the beginning of the semester.  This is part of the participation segment of your grade and the location for all information if class can’t be held as scheduled.  Assignments will be posted there as well as suggested readings.  Video lectures will be available if a shutdown continues for more than one week.  Under those circumstances, you may also post any written assignments on the blog or send them to my email at:    OR   OR  by phone at:  813-900-4759

Be sure to review the school handout on procedure in the event of a hurricane.

“The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari” – 1920
 “Citizen Kane” – 1941
 “I Walked With a Zombie” – 1943
“Black Narcissus” – 1947
“The Bicycle Thief” – 1948
 “High Noon” – 1952
“On the Waterfront” – 1954
“La Strada” – 1954
“8 ½” – 1963
“Midnight Cowboy” – 1969
“Dirty Harry” – 1971
“Chinatown” – 1974
“Raging Bull” – 1980
“Blow Out” – 1981
 “Visions of Light” – 1992
“Shakespeare In Love” – 1998
“Black Hawk Down” – 2001
“Adaptation” – 2002
“The Cutting Edge” – 2004
“Kung Fu Hustle” – 2004
“V For Vendetta” – 2006
“True Grit” – 2010  
“13 Assassins” - 2010