Monday, October 29, 2012

Raging Bull

I thought Robert De Niro's acting was incredible in this film. He was able to capture the psychological downfall of the boxer, Jake LaMotta, as he lets the violent, confrontational nature of his game slip outside of the boxing ring and into his daily life. Vengeful, envious, and ill tempered, he loses many of his relationships. Despite how upsetting the tragic demise of Lamotta's character is, I cannot help but appreciate how engrossed he was with his career. As depicted in the film, he took his passion to an extreme intangible to most.

13 Assassins

I've never been a huge fan of violence and bloodshed. Consequently, the second half of the movie, which mostly consisted of consecutive, gruesome battle scenes, was repetitive and unenjoyable. I do appreciate the build up to the climatic point of the film, that was the breakout of violence. The development of characters and various themes reinforced and foreshadowed what was eventually going to take place.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Black Hawk Down

Exceptional cinematography, use of sound, and color palette..One of the most powerful depictions of war!

Kungfu Hustle

As one of my favorite films thus far, Kung Fu hustle covers a wide range of film tactics and emotions. In combination with its consecutive action-packed scenes, there is an inclusion of comical characters  and witty dialogues. In modern times, special effects seem to rob the film industry's concept of reality. Yet, in Kung Fu Hustle, both appear to thrive off each another, for many of the characters in this film are relatable despite their supernatural characteristics.

I walked with a Zombie

Thought this quote captured the essence of this film. On the way to the Island,  Mr. Holland describes his melancholic, dark view of the world around him to Betsy, the new nurse. His words not only reflect the film's underlying, pessimistic tone, but the conflict between reality and ambiguity.

It’s easy enough to read the thoughts of a newcomer.  Everything seems beautiful because you don’t understand.  Those flying fish…they’re not leaping for joy…they’re jumping in terror…bigger fish want to eat them.  That luminous water…It takes its gleam from millions of dead bodies. (plankton) There’s only death and decay here….


The Black Narcissus

      First and foremost, the location of this film plays a crucial role. The Black Narcissus, which was filmed back in 1947, took place in a new Anglican institution located in the Himalayas. Sister Clodagh's task to supervise this institution was precarious to say the least, for she, a long with the other nuns, are unfamiliar with the institution's people and surroundings. As expected by most viewers, the institution has its fair share of abnormalities. 
        The nuns' isolation in such a remote area leads to their psychological downfall, that is the conflict between their passion and moral obligation. For example, while the nuns feel obligated to follow their duties from the Dean, his appealing looks and masculine personalty prove too distracting. This movie  essentially captures an issue that many disciplined occupations struggle with to this day. Other conflicts and factors caused them to stray away from their duties as well. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Raging Bull

Raging Bull was definitely a drama. The acting was spectacular and I found myself getting very absorbed in the story. I can't truly say I enjoyed this movie, but I absolutely loved it at the same time. It was like watching something that you so desperately wanted to look away from, but just couldn't! De Niro and Moriarty worked so spectacularly together. A lot of the scenes between De Niro and Pesci were very powerful and it was hard to believe that a lot of those scenes were improv. Overall, very glad I can say I've seen this movie and I'll definitely be suggesting the title to friends, but with a warning.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Midnight Cowboy

This movie reminded me of some I used to watch with my dad when I was a kid. He loves movies with western elements. This was a kind of "western element with a twist". I found the lighting to be somewhat distracting at times, which was surprising because the movie is not as old as some that we have previously viewed. Because Joe is so naive, you as the audience member find yourself feeling sorry for him. Overall, I found this interesting to watch. And, I realized that I had watched this with my dad when I was younger. However, at the time, I hadn't been able to comprehend what I am able to now.

Midnight Cowboy

I found this movie very interesting.  It was funny yet sad at the same time, and unlike any movie I have seen before or typically choose to watch. Overall I enjoyed it.  The cinematography was great, and it was interesting watching the young Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman.  Voight did a great job at making his character seem incredibly naive.

Midnight cowboy

Midnight cowboy probably would not be a movie that I would chose to watch by myself, but the movie was interesting. It was confusing at times when Joe was having flashbacks and it would flash random pictures and clips. It was hard to understand what had happened in Joe'e past from the information that was provided, such as why he feels comfortable dressing like a cowboy. It is interesting how Joe chose to associate with Rizzo considering his odd behavior.  I also thought it was funny how he thought money was spelled M-O-N-Y from looking at a building.

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down was a very well made movie. This is the type of movie that makes you think that you are actually inside the location in which the movie presents. I have seen Black Hawk Down before, and seeing it one more time makes it that much better. The story line seems to progress very well and every scene seems to be well placed. One of my favorite scenes is when the chopper crashes and there is one man left to fight it out with many people coming to invade the helicopter. I am looking forward to seeing more movies such as Black Hawk Down!

Midnight Cowboy

"Midnight Cowboy" is a great film. I had seen it once before, but it was a few years ago and I definitely didn't get as much from the film then as I did now. John Voight is definitely one of my favorite actors and his performance in this film is amazing. I really liked the use of expressionism and I think Voight worked very well acting it out. I'd like to point out that Schlesinger does an amazing job of using New York city for everything it has. It would have been pretty easy to film this without the use of strong settings available in the city but he didn't. Some of my favorite scenes come out of the abandoned apartment that Joe and Ratso temporarily live in, but my favorite of all the end when they reach Miami.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Midnight Cowboy

This film was very different from something I would choose to watch. I recognized both of the main actors, and I liked them in other films separate from this particular film. I can't say that I enjoyed the film. Although I could appreciate the 'vintage' cinematography and moments of expressionism. The flashbacks were not clear, and provided less background information than I would have liked. The relationship between the characters was inspiring yet very sad.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Midnight Cowboy

Strange and somewhat sad, are my first thoughts when reflecting back on this movie.  I have never seen a movie like Midnight Cowboy before.  It was interesting to see Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman acting in their youth.  I have only ever seen movies where they were older.  In this movie I noticed quite a bit of expressionism, especially in the party scene with all the other actors and actresses in New York.  When he smokes weed the images he sees are examples of that.  My favorite scene is in the end when they are riding the bus to Florida and are both laughing together because Rico peed his pants.  He is pathetic and very ill but they manage to find light in the situation and share a last moment of happiness together.  Personally, this is not a movie I would ever watch more than once, but I did enjoy it more than a silent film.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blue Velvet

We talked about this movie in class a few weeks ago. When it was discussed it sounded very weird and dark and sinister. The professor also said it was somewhat perverted. I got bored last week and decided to watch it just to see what it was about. I watched the trailer on youtube and then the whole movie without moving from my desk. This movie glued my face to the computer screen. It is definatley weird, sick, twisted, and perverse. However I did enjoy watching it. After it was over I didnt really know what  I just viewed. Overall is was very interesting and was also cool to see Dennis Hopper in a movie when he was younger.

True Grit

I had never seen the original version but really liked this movie. It had an incredable cast and a fantastic plot. I love western movies and this one is at the top of my list. This movie was alot of fun to watch, there was plenty of action and intensity.

Black Hawk Down

This movie was awesome, I have seen it many times prior to the assignment. This movie is truly star studded. Black Hawk down keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. When I was watching the movie I noticed that throughout the entire movie there was somewhat of a green or yellow color. Everything in every scene had some sort of green or yellow in it. This movie is one of my favorite war movies and is a film I can watch over and over again. It is incredable to think this movie was made 11 years ago, this film seems timeless.

Monday, October 15, 2012

True Grit

I really love this movie. I saw it when it came out in theaters and it was wonderful to see on the big screen. After watching it again I looked for things that I missed the first time around and realized that this movie has a wonderful soundtrack. I think often times people take music for granted in movies, but it really is an important element in any film. Anyone who has seen a movie clip without music (when there is supposed to be music) knows how awkward it looks. It's always very clear when the music is missing. I found a great interview with the True Grit composer Carter Burwell. Enjoy!

True Grit

I saw this movie when it was in theaters and I am glad I got to witness it on a large screen. It is the kind of movie where if you let it it will take you along with its adventures. I had also seen the original true grit, so I knew the story line fairly well. I prefer the new 2010 version to be honest. I liked the clear picture, along with the coloring and lighting. The setting of this film was beautiful, and the landscape shots were often haunting. I appreciated the humor throughout the film, it was a great mix of action, adventure and wit. It also helps that I enjoy several of the actors that play the main characters, I think they did a great job portraying the characters. This is the kind of movie I would add to my collection because its classic and stands alone as a strong remake.

True Grit

This is my favorite western film by far. I watched a lot of them growing up with my grandfather, and I remember going to the theater to see True Grit the day it came out.  Hailee Steinfeld did a phenomenal job, especially considering her age.  The end of the movie though, in my honest opinion, was terrible.  However, I suppose it was realistic, and very much in characteristic of western movie endings.  I at least hoped that the girl would stay with the men. I noticed a lot of close ups and extreme long shots throughout the film.  The editors definitely used angles and lighting to visually portray the emotions of the characters.  I thought the coloring was beautiful.   Aside from the sad ending, this was a great movie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

True Grit

True Grit was one of the only western movies I actually enjoyed.  The charaters were strongly developed.  I enjoyed watching the relationships form between the young girl and the two men she travelled with.  They were all three very stubborn characters and argued often throughout the journey to find her father's murderer.  I found myself even getting excited during the scene where Rooster charges the 4 men with a gun in each of his hands towards the end.  This movie was very well-made which grabbed my attention. My favorite part of the movie was at the end when Rooster and LaBoeuf form an unexpected alliance, working together to save the girl and finally catch Chaney. I was actually somewhat sad at the end when Mattie did not get a chance to say goodbye to either Rooster or Chaney after the journey. Besides the plot, I did notice many shots and lighting techniques that we have learned from class.  For example: when they are riding the horse at the end to find a doctor for Mattie.  They show the silhouette of the horse running along the open dessert.  This was extreme long shot with a backlight and wide frame.  I also noticed the many close ups and angles from below looking up. This is not a movie I would have chosen to watch on my own time so I am glad it was assigned.  It allowed me to explore a new genre of movies that I normally wouldnt venture to try.
Below I have attached some pictures of scenes in the movie where I noticed terms we learned in class:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Greet Dictator Speech

Came across this great clip on from the movie The Great Dictator (1940) staring Charlie Chapman. The clip has been chopped and edited with modern clips but the speech is all Charlie. I've looked for the movie but haven't found it yet. Reviews of the film state that the movie is a comedy but this clip seems to me to have a real serious meaning. The movie was created in the WWI era, but I feel the clip has prevalence today. Awesome clip!

Some films I watched this past weekend

I spent the weekend with my best friend and we decided to rent some movies that looked funny and not to serious. The first one was I Don't Know How She Does It which stars Sarah Jessica Parker. It was about a Mother who as the title suggests "does it all". She has a demanding career and a family and has to figure out how to balance both. She has a nanny unlike many of us and I thought this film was very predictable and kind of boring. Greg Kinear must have had nothing else going on to take this part because I usually find his films and his roles interesting but since Pierce Bronson was also in it I should have known better.

The next film was The Five Year Engagement starring Jason Segal and Emily Blunt. This film was funnier but also predictable. I did like how it poked fun of Michigan and the acting was not bad either. I found myself laughing at many scenes even if they were not realistic but what movie of this type is?

The third movie was called Darling Companion and I was looking forward to seeing this because of all the good actors that were in it and because the story line involves a dog. I was highly disappointed. The plot of the movie involved a family coming together over searching for the main character's lost dog. This could have been a much better film. It seemed that they just took a bunch of good actors and rushed through the production or the writing was lacking..something was missing. They also had a very annoying character that took away from the film instead of the intended purpose which was to bring the family together.

V for Vendetta

This was my favorite movie that we watched in class this term. I had never seen it before and did not have much interest in it although I really like Natalie Portman. The film kept me interested from start to finish and I think it addressed issues that many people think about, but don’t always know how to articulate these thoughts. I will definitely watch this one again.

Duck Soup

Duck Soup was funny, but I’m not a big fan of this type of “slap stick” comedy. I was never a fan of “The Three Stooges” and have actually never seen an entire episode. My mom actually did not allow me to watch it as a child because my sisters and I beat up on each other enough and did not need outside influence. I am not a fan of the singing in this movie either. I do think the mustache is hilarious. Over all, this is probably my least favorite of all of the films we watched in and out of class.


Still of Natalie Portman and Jeremy Woodhead in V for VendettaStill of Hugo Weaving in V for VendettaStill of Hugo Weaving in V for VendettaStill of Natalie Portman in V for VendettaStill of John Hurt in V for VendettaStill of Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta

I loved this film. The acting was superb, the cinematography was stunning and the story and theme kept me at the edge of my seat through the entire movie and left me wanting more. The film had so many themes and metaphors that you could analyze it for hours yet it was not difficult to understand. I do not know how I missed this movie but I am so glad we got to see it it in class and I will watch it again. I think Natalie Portman did an excellent job and was very believable in this role. In fact all the actors drew me in. I tend to be drawn to films such as these because I believe strongly that people should not just follow someone that they perceive to be powerful either in government or in their own life. This film depicted many events in history that have happened and I found it extremely powerful.

Duck Soup - Politics Wrapped in Humor

“Duck Soup” is a very entertaining movie. My son and I watched it and decided that we needed to embrace and see past the juvenile, slapstick humor to understand the irony of the story. The story is a farce, and far-fetched, but resonates with interesting messages about war, greed, and, in some ways, elitism.
Roger Ebert sums it up by writing:
“[The Marx Brothers brought an] essentially Jewish style of humor into the dominant note of American comedy. [T]hey were as surrealist as Dali, as shocking as Stravinsky, as verbally outrageous as Gertrude Stein, as alienated as Kafka… ‘As an absurdist essay on politics and warfare,’ wrote the British critic Patrick McCray, ‘”Duck Soup” can stand alongside (or even above) the works of Beckett and Ionesco’” (
Samuel Beckett: (1906-1989) “[A]n Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life…His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy” (
Eugene Ionesco: (1909-1994) “[A] Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theater of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco’s plays depict, in a tangible way, the solitude and insignificance of the human existence” (
Additionally, I think viewers need to take the historical time-frame into account when watching this movie. Many ideas expressed—individuality, the ridiculousness of war and government—were newly expressed to mass amounts of people at the same time in movie theaters. This could have been viewed as “Un-American.”
I love the mirror-image scene:

Here is the same scene performed by Harpo Marx and Lucille Ball on "I Love Lucy:"

Duck Soup

I love funny movies, but not this kind. It was hard to get through.  I never liked the Marx Brother, Laurel & Hardy, Three Stooges or any other similar.  My family wanted to see the new Three Stooges when it came out recently and I couldn't do it :)  I did however go see Pitch Perfect this weekend.  Although high-school'ish, the music was great and I didn't realize how much I loved hearing acapella....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Duck Soup

This movie was somewhat funny but honestly all I could think about was "What if the Three Stooges played the characters in the film"? I mean the Marx brothers where cool, but for some reason they weren't my type of funny. I guess if you like slapstick comedy this is the movie for you.

Duck Soup

The movie Duck Soup by the Marx brothers was slap-stick funny.  You have to enjoy these kinds of films to be entertained.  I grew up with them on television  and  many Saturdays watched the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Bowery Boys, etc.  This was family entertainment during those hard times of struggle of the 1930's.,40's and 50's. 
The working class people needed an outlet for everyday exsistence adn these types of movies provided that entertainment.


I thought Chinatown was a good movie.  Jack Nicholson played his part excellent.  Faye Dunaway was queen of her time.  I enjoyed the history factor of Los Angeles in the plot.   It was an interesting movie to watch.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta was surprisingly a good movie.  By the title, I assumed it was a mafia or gang war movie.   I was surprised.  The movie showed alot of violence for my taste, but I did like it.
It also was comprised of some well known British actors.

Duck Soup

In all honesty I have to admit I did not like this movie at all. I do not like vaudville type movies. I see no humor in the silly slap stick type movies. This was very hard for me  to watch, because they are so silly to the point where it is not funny to me.

Black Hawk Down

"Black Hawk Down" was a really good movie, in my opinion. I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it because I knew it was going to include a lot of really depressing war material. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It really drew you in and made you want to know what happened. Although it made me really sad, it also made me not want to stop watching. I liked the sound effects as well. One effect I especially liked was when Grimes was buried under the rubble and for a second he couldn't hear anything, and it went silent during that short period. One thing I didn't like was how it didn't show what happened to the hostage taken by Adid. Overall, even though it was gruesome, it seemed real, and  I really liked the helicopter scene that had been shown in the class documentary last week.

V For Vendetta

I really enjoyed this film. I thought the acting was believable and real. Clearly the director was awesome because he really made you, as a viewer, really feel the pain that V was feeling with the task he was given. Natalie Portman did a great job in this movie as well.

Duck Soup

Because I ‘m not a movie person as it is, it was hard for me to get engrossed in the movie. This movie is overtly silly.  It reminds me of other silly movies such as Anchorman.  I couldn’t take watch this movie again.  I  guess if someone enjoys movies like this it would be considered a masterpiece but for me it was blah.  Its not serious comedy as far as I’m concerned.

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down is one of the best war films I have seen.  This film is casted perfectly and the style really fits the story line.  All of the action shots were extremely realistic. Usually gory films appear comical but a few of these scenes were so realistic that it grossed me out.  It was so intense that I felt like I was there with the men.  I do wish that the story had gone further into the characters lives. However, this probably would have made the story too sad.  Overall this is a great movie that teaches viewers a lot about war and human morality.

Black Hawk Down

Although Black Hawk Down was a little gruesome for my liking, it was a powerful film. The film did a great job getting you acquainted with the characters in the beginning and throughout the movie so you felt just as torn when they were hurt or killed. I appreciated the cinematography and was awestruck by some of the more intense shots. The overhead shots of the landscapes were probably my favorite and more specifically, the shots of the copters flying over the beach. Overall, I'm very glad I watched this film even though I never would have chosen to watch it on my own!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

End of Watch

I went to see End of Watch thinking I was going to see a typical action thriller with little romance thrown in, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I watched. I enjoyed the plot of the movie although there are parts, particularly the end, that might leave you unconvinced. I didn't enjoy how some of the scenes were shot with a sort of "home video" style, particularly when they are riding in the police cruiser. Overall I enjoyed it because it was a break from the norm and had me walking out of the theatre with sufficiently exercised emotions. I was sad, happy, and thrilled throughout the movie. Lately I have been walking out wondering "Did I really just pay to see that movie? That sucked".

Hotel Transylvania

I went to watch this yesterday afternoon.  It wouldn't have been my top choice when deciding what movie to go see, but I have to say it was a pretty good hit.  The cast and the voices that were brought into the movie really brought the characters into life.  Surprisingly for a kids movie the life lesson message wasn't really towards to kids but towards the parents.

V for Vendetta

In my opinion this movie was great, the way the film was set up to send the message was amazing. Another film that I can definitely watch again if I was to find while channel surfing. 

Hotel Transylvania

Went to see this movie yesterday and even though I do not have kids, I found this movie to be cute/funny. It was great to sit there and figure out the voices during the entire movie. The story was about Dracula building a hotel for monsters and mostly to protect his one and only child from "humans". Within the activities of planning her party, a human gets in and he tries to hide him from his daughter, which was impossible. The human and daughter end up falling for each other, what they call "zing" in the monster world.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Black Hawk Down

I want to start off by saying that I loved the movie Black Hawk Down.  I have seen it before when I was younger but this time I was able to appreciate it from another standpoint.  The plot was very emptionally moving and extremely intense.  I feel it was necessary for the violence and graphics to be present in order to give others some kind of understanding as to what the soldiers experienced.  My favorite scenes were the ones where the sound was muted.  It allowed me to focus on the visual aspects and gauge the emotion on the soldiers faces.  The shots of the helicopters were absoluetly breath taking.  We also saw this shot in the film we watched last week in class.  I think the decison to make the movie long was a good one.  It was constant action, violence and struggling that covered a period of 24 hours.  If it seemed long to watch 2 hours of this kind of action, just imagine living it. I do have family members who have served in the war so I do have an interest in the topic.  I actually do not enjoy too many war movies, but this one was wonderfully made.  I felt connected to the characters.  It was visually pleasing and disturbing at the same time which was very intersting to me.

Black Hawk Down

So far this was the most enjoyable movie we had to watch outside of class. I appreciate war films but they usually lose my interest when there is an extended fight scene. I liked the lighting differences between the day and night fighting. The action scenes were engaging and the editing created suspense. I almost wish the fight scene could have been broken up, but I realize the length reflects the length of the fight endured by the soldiers. Over all a cool piece of cinema.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chinatown--Robert Towne's Screenplay

Robert Towne wrote the original screenplay for “Chinatown.” He was from Los Angeles and studied philosophy at Pomona College (Writers Guild of America).
Information about Robert Towne can be found on the Writers Guild of America website. There are snippets of interviews from different sources (mainly from AFI) that explain some of his writing process for “Chinatown.” Here are a few pieces from those interviews that I thought would be interesting for others in class to see:
“Originally, I had Evelyn [Mulwray] kill her father, and I had the detective try and stop her...But it (the end) was bittersweet in the sense that one person, at lease, wasn’t tainted—the child”
Towne goes on to say, “So I thought, I don’t want to do a crime movie about the kind of things that don’t anger me…The destruction of the land and that community was something that I thought was really hideous. It was doubly significant because it was the way Los Angeles was formed, really.”
“It seems like it took me forever to write—at least 10 months…[A]ll screenplays that are highly structured are difficult…Always the hardest part of any story is to figure out the point of entry where your story begins.”
Here is a link to an actual page of the screenplay:
Here is the link to the interview snippets:

Monday, October 1, 2012


I enjoyed the movie overall.  The mystery and plot was well thought out and kept you entertained at most points.  I just think that it was a bit too slow and too long for my taste. If the movie could be shortened up a bit, I don't think I would have any other complaint.

13 Assassins

This was not my type of movie. I usually don't like to watch violence or like films with subtitles. Action flicks are not appealing to me. Although I can appreciate the choreography of the action/fighting scenes. Also some of the characters were considerably interesting. Viewing a film depicting another culture is always interesting and educational.


First off let me say that I love Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.  Both are incredible actors.  They both leave lasting impression on me.  Jack Nicholson is relaxed and witty.  Faye Dunaway is just beautiful and mysterious and confident in herself. The movie shows storytelling at is best.  It has mystery and romance as well has suspense and that is what I love about it.  I think the setting was great because it captured the mystery and sophistication of that time.


Although I do agree with some of my classmates that the little boy was annoying at times, I enjoyed the movie "Shane". I think the backdrop is beautiful throughout the film and I think the colors were very crisp and pleasing to the eyes.

Midnight Cowboy

I will first say that this class has forced me to watch movies that I would have never watched on my own. They have all been pretty descent and I can appreciate them all for what they are. Midnight Cowboy was certainly bizarre in many ways, but overall was pretty good. I enjoyed seeing Jon Voight as a young man. Before seeing this movie, I don't recall ever seeing him in anything before his hair became white.