Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Meme, for me me? Aww, shucks!

My mom, Auntie(Mommy)Knickers tagged me for this meme! I really like memes, so here you go!!

Here are the rules:

1. List these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.

1. I have studied Voice since I was 11.

2. The first film studies class I took was in High School.

3. The Film History I class at MCTC showed me I wanted to be a filmmaker.

4. I saw Interview With a Vampire when it first came out in theaters…I was 10.

5. My favorite film ever is The Color of Paradise. See it. Now. Please.

6. I see what all the fuss is about, but I just don’t really like Citizen Kane. There, I said it.

7. I was as excited as, if not more than, my male friends to see The Dark Knight. Eat that Chick Flick genre!

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

I am going to tag some people who may not even know I read there blogs!

The Crimson Rambler
Rev Abi
St. Casserole
Rebel without a Pew
Cheesehead in Paradise

Dog and God

Whew! That took awhile! Now to let them know they have been tagged!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Admitting I was Wrong

It has been said that it takes a strong person to admit they are wrong, so, in the spirit of bettering ones self, I will attempt to make myself stronger by admitting that I was wrong about something.

I was inspired to do this when I was reading Songbird's blog, Reflectionary, today.

While my parents and I were visiting recently, my father and I were having a discussion about cameras, namely aperture, as this is something we now have in common (he does still photography and I obviously have to work with cameras for school). Somehow we got onto the topic of projectors and he said that there was some sort of little snap of darkness that closes between each frame, making the film seamless, like a shutter. I argued that that only happens in the camera, not when the film is being projected.

I was wrong.

There I said it. Daddy Hankiepants was right, and I was wrong.

Ahh, I can actually feel my biceps growing!

(click on the image to make it larger; notice the part that says "shutter"...oops.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why I'm Tired, or Don't You Love When Your Professor is Right?

I am super tired this morning because I went to the midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight last night. Viewers beware, it is crazy long. We didn't get out until just before 3. But, all in all, I definitely thought it was well worth seeing. Heath Ledger's performance was...astounding. And I realize a lot of people are saying that, and if you aren't really into actors or movies (although why would you be reading this if that were the case) you might think they are just saying it because this is supposed to be the film that killed him.

I may not be a very good actor, but I know a good one when I see one, and I am telling you we have lost one of the most talented artists of our time.

Back to the film itself, I won't get too lengthy but here is a little something. The editing was really good, props to Lee Smith. And so was the sound (original, by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer)...but right at the end they lost me a little. Last semester I had a conversation with my Film and Video 1 professor about sound levels, because I was doing a lot of sound layering for my final project, and he said that when adjusting the sound levels, one notch in either direction can be critical. I thought maybe he was just trying to scare me, but he was totally right. During the denouement in The Dark Knight, there is a voice over giving a powerful speech while we see conclusion/wrap up looked great, but there was music playing behind the speaker and it was as though those notches had been reversed - I wanted it to be one notch louder for the speaker and one notch quieter for the music. It was distracting and lessened the effect of a speech I thought was needed for the film to be effective.

As a side note, for any readers who may wonder why I seem so intent on viewing violent films, it really isn't my fault! I have been watching a lot of recommended/borrowed films from HB and he doesn't really have any happy-go-lucky kind of films, it seems (except for foreign films, which as I have said, can not be watched on my tiny tv). So, I promise to try and watch some more "family friendly," or at least not so violent, films in the fall when I have money to rent again!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Raging Bull

Yesterday I began watching Raging Bull. I didn't finish it for two reasons: 1) I had to leave to go to a Poetry Slam night at the Nile and 2) I got the distinct feeling that I would enjoy the film a whole lot more (and understand it better, too) f I saw it on a better/bigger screen. So, I may set this one aside until September when I will be living in HB's new house...along with my sister-in-law and a big flat screen tv! Yes, I can't wait to be able to watch foreign films again! (the screen on my current tv is too small for subtitles)

But here are couple things I noticed already about Raging Bull. The first is that everyone always talks about how violent this film is. Now, I realize it revolutionized the way sports films, particularly boxing films, are made, and that I have a higher threshold for violence than many people. But, nonetheless, what strikes me more than the violence itself is the way it is handled.

Thelma Shoonmaker (editor) and the sound crew do a wonderful job of bringing you just past the point where you thought you couldn't handle the violence, and relieve you from it by replacing the fight sounds and background noise with classical music. It is in these moments when you are left free to disassociate yourself from the violence and context, much like the characters themselves have to do throughout their lives. The audience is also given a chance to see this groundbreaking directorial/cinematographic/editorial work, not just for sports films, but for any film with any kind of action sequencing. I also think this is one reason why 99% of the film is in black&white-- to deny the added distraction that color can bring to the audience. We are instead forced to concentrate on these characters and the fights they are in, in and out of the boxing ring.

So, that's my first take on the film, maybe I'll come back to it once I watch it all the way through!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I've Seen Enough

This weekend I saw a film that I would like to explore with you in terms of feminism.

Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freemen, and some other people...

Here's what I liked: the special effects, the editing, the acting, the music.

Here's what I didn't like: the misogyny soaked dialogue, the thinly veiled display of a strong woman being victimized by herself more then anyone else


Wanted is about this guy, Wesley, who discovers that he is actually the descendant of assassins who's crummy life is uprooted when his father is killed by a rogue assassin. First off, it seems that in this world, the very worst thing you can call someone is "pussy" and to insult yourself you would ask, "why can't I just grow a pair?" Now, just in case someone stumbles on this blog who doesn't know why it is not OK to perpetuate the use of "pussy" as a derogatory term, I would like to explain it briefly.

To call someone "pussy" is to say they are weak and/or worthless. "Pussy" is also a euphemism for female genitalia. Therefore, to call someone a pussy in a derogatory way, especially a man, is actually a two-fold insult on both the person and women in general.

For a film that is solely geared at teenage boys (and those who think like them), you might say, "well, what did you expect?" Expect? I expect for films in this day and age to make a more conscious effort to stem the tides of misogyny and the degradation of society that comes with it. A teenage boy needs hear only three words (or see three images) to get him to go see this film: assassin, Jolie, and sex. If the knife wielding assassin trainer had repeated a term like "wimp" over and over again, the message would remain the same and the brilliant editing, music and pacing of the film would have carried it.

Hollywood needs to work on this. They are under the impression that their audience dictates what they film. Think about it. That's completely illogical. If Hollywood stopped making misogynistic films tomorrow, people would still go see the movies. In fact, they probably wouldn't notice anything had changed since it is so subliminal.

I was also disappointed in Angelina Jolie. Hugo Boffo remarked that it was her job so you can't blame her. No. I can't blame her for the way the film was written. However, while I agree that it would be hard to be a woman like Jolie in an industry like this one and not take part in misogynistic films, she is filthy rich! she owns a VILLAGE in SE Asia for goodness sake! She has the ability to demand appropriate language in the films she participates in. She has the ability to not work on films that shamelessly perpetuate misconceptions of women and their roles in our society.

So, here's the SPOILER: At the very end, there is a big twist and it turns out all the main assassins (including Jolie) should have been killed long before. So, the ever faithful Jolie wants to be true to the code and kills them all, then herself, with a single bullet. What a hero.

Here's my problem with that: first off, plot wise, there were lots of ways for her to save the day without killing herself. Secondly, here is yet another woman sacrificing herself to a greater good that has given her way less then she has given it (ex: it was their fault her father died because an assassin neglected to do their job, so she joins them and kills whoever they tell her to, no questions asked - kinda sounds like she gave away her humanity and free will, but whatev, maybe that's just me...this is similar to The Labyrinth in which Jennifer Connelly goes back to the real world, abandoning her chance to be queen to the Goblin King because it's the right thing to do...don't get me and HB started on the Labyrinth!)

Anyway, suffice it to say, I was disappointed. As usual. It seems I am cursed to be either disappointed in content or production...until I can make my own films...

Friday, July 11, 2008


OK, I obviously failed with my goal, but it was totally not my fault! First off, I had to dogsit and I felt like I was running all over the place...then my p-rents came for two weeks, what a whirlwind!

So the two movies I watched most recently were Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and In Bruges. Both were enjoyable, but also violent. IB is very gruesome in a couple parts (way more then The Departed, since I know MommyKnickers was going to ask!) whereas PC was just more violent then I thought it needed to be.

If you are the kind of person who expects a movie based on a book to be just like the book, don't see PC... then again, don't see ANY movies based on books! I try to see these films through a filter. I ask myself, did the film stay true to the original moral of the story? In this case, it is hard to say because it depends on what you think the moral is. I say yes, because I believe the moral is about justice triumphing over injustice, which obviously happens in the movie, and the importance of trusting your faith (I also like that they kept the idea that we can never know how things would have been if we had done what we "should have"). However, I would have rated it PG-13 for the violence I think (even though I don't really like ratings, but I also don't trust all parents). I was also thrilled to see Warwick Davis, one of my favorites, in the role of Nikabrick (you may know him better as Willow or Professor Flitwick in the Potter movies). His acting is always delightful!