Sound Image final project (Best with headphones).
Explicit…just a bit.
Starring J.J. Lynn, myself, and Rupeshi Shah…as the vixen.
Just fun to make is all. Enjoy!
Source: SoundCloud / indyfilms17
El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes)
Dir. Juan José Campanella.
Starring Ricardo Darín, Guillermo Francella, Soledad Villamil and Pablo Rago.
“The eyes speak. Sometimes for nothing…sometimes they should shut up.”
- Benjamín Espósito.
Undoubtedly my favorite film. Yes there are a lot of films that give me a similar emotional reaction as does this one, but if someone points a gun to my head and asks me for my single favorite film, this will always be the answer. No other movie drives me to an insane desire to make films as much as this one does.
What is it about? Simply put by IMDB:
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.
Sounds riveting yes, but I give you a plain and brief story summary because words don’t do this movie justice, simply go see it, and read on for my thoughts.
Dir. Wes Anderson
Starring: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Defoe, Anjelica Huston.
Note: I watched this movie over the summer. I’m posting this now because, sadly, the left hand corner of my poster for this just ripped a little. TRAGEDY!
I only recently started liking Wes Anderson because I only recently started watching Wes Anderson. I’ve only seen this, Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Darjeeling Limited. Time and time again I hear people raving about Tenenbaums and how awesome it is. Honestly, though? I liked it the least of the ones I’ve seen, and everyone says it’s his best! Why? My favorite is indeed, Life Aquatic, and here’s why (from what I remember).
In a film, or any story rather, the character(s) need to be forced into a path that’ll cause a change. They need to be driven to do something, the plot is thrust upon them. Life Aquatic had a very clear motivation for its characters: revenge for a lost friend, connecting with long-lost father, finding a giant shark, etc. Tenenbaums however lacked that drive and motivation. The only character I felt had a sense of that was Royal, as he wanted to get to know his children. The sense of urgency in the movie was completely fabricated by him (he lies about being sick). Though the other characters weren’t aware of this, the audience was.
In Life Aquatic, there are probably just as many characters but only a few of them are focused on and develop, while in Tenenbaums I felt like most of the characters were equally important and kinda boring. They don’t go through that much in the duration of the movie. I must clarify though that I’m being very harsh in Tenenbaums just for the sake of comparing it to Life Aquatic. I actually liked it, even though I sound negative about it.
Here’s another thing I didn’t like about it. Something that Wes Anderson does but did way too much of in Tenenbaums is use a song and a slow shot to introduce a character or a scene or a new chapter. The effect resembles the ending of a movie, when you have the song kicking in, but since he did this liek 15 times it felt like the movie was ending way too often.
The abundance of ‘main characters’ in Tenenbaums I think made the performances of the actors a bit flat compared to Life Aquatic. I guess I just really liked the acting by Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, And Willem Defoe in it. Bill Murray was close to his typical self but in a refreshing setting. Owen Wilson was a complete opposite personality than what he usually plays. The fast talking, quick to lead, eccentric, smart mouthing type you find in his characters in Tenenbaums and Darjeeling Limited (and even Night at the Museum) is replaced by a calm, submissive character who stands in the background but still has a strong presence. Same with Willem Defoe, I loved his accent in this and his innocent, boyish attitude most evident when he says “Thanks a lot for picking me!” and “I’m sick of being on B Squad…”
Again the cinematography in his films stylishly uses the wide angle to make everything seem wacky and off-beat, the color scheme, and parallel panning action shots. The dialogue is hilarious without needing any jokes or cues to laugh. Even the costumes they wear throughout the entire movie are funny.
Anyway, it’s late, I probably didn’t make much sense and I have so many more thoughts (which are more eloquent in my brain) but just can’t write them all down, at least not effectively. So I’ll stop typing here. In fact I’ll go to bed now.
NOTE: I decided to post what I think about movies more freely and not just strictly reviewing them. With my limited time I’ll probably find myself just writing one or two sentences in the future, so I stopped numbering any movie reviews and renamed the section on the site to “On Films” instead of “Reviews.” Any film related thought, review, or opinion will go here.
Dreams is the kind of movie that divides Akira Kurosawa fans due to its sometimes clunky, literal nature, but few can deny the incredible beauty of the Crows segment. Based on the actual dreams of the director, Crows takes us inside the world of Vincent Van Gogh (played by none other than Martin Scorsese), as one art student daydreams and travels back in time finding himself conversing with the artist about painting, beauty, and nature. The fledgling artist then wanders inside the actual work of Van Gogh — thanks to the colorful, eye-popping special effects of George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic.
I just watched this in class class (tisch film). I feel like watching the whole thing now. Though I could barely take Marty seriously with the red hair. Odd Casting (I know he help produce it, but still).
So what are we doing in class tomorrow night? O nothing much just a 3 and half hour lecture dedicated to Princess Mononoke.
And Thursday night? O I’m going to a special screening of The Help with the film’s producer, Chris Columbus.
Sunday night? Watching Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project. I know it’s not released yet, but the director’s gonna be there.
I’m definitely in the right place.
8. “Blood Simple”
Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmett Walsh.
WARNING: Like most of my posts, this is mainly ‘stream of consciousness,’ and I rarely read over what I write.
Yes, this is the 3rd Coen Brothers movie and I haven’t even reviewed 10 movies yet. Why? Because they’re awesome filmmakers. This year I have started watching their movies and haven’t found one I don’t like yet. So when I had a 4 hour car ride to kill (driving up to Syracuse) and a Blood Simple dvd and a laptop, I decided to turn my jacket into a light-blocking tent and watch the long film in the backseat.
I made the mistake of reading the back of the DVD box first. I realize that if you know you’re watching a movie, you shouldn’t read the back. Sometimes it reveals things about the movie you dont’ want revealed, or it sets certain expectations. In this case, the writers of the sleeve talked a little bit about the style of the film, and about the plot: a wealthy bar-owner discovers his wife is sleeping a man who works at his bar and sends a P.I. to kill them both. Having read this, combined with a pre existing expectation for the brothers’ movies, I started watching the movie expecting it to have the typical Coen dark humor that makes them so enjoyable.
I guess this is why I thought at first that the movie moved kinda slowly. I had a different style in mind. I was looking for Fargo 11 years before it came out.
Once I put the mental prejudice aside I started appreciating the pace of Blood Simple on its own, and recognized the specific style. It is a very stylized film, something I often enjoy.
The Coens take the typical film-noir genre and feel and expand the familiar story into an unpredictable and shocking tale. One Coen element it didn’t lack was the twisted unraveling of the plot as it progresses.
Every character in the movie had an important role, I felt like there were no filler characters. They all played a part in the confusion and suffered from it.
I really liked the darkness of the film. Not just style wise, but visually. I can only think of one scene/setting that wasn’t a dark room or night time (I guess this adds to the characters all being kept in the dark by everyone else).
I did miss the real-life comedy factor found in Fargo, True Grit, and (to an extreme) The Big Lebowski; this is a film-noir however, not supposed to be humorous.
Acting was good throughout (though I wasn’t too convinced by John Getz’s performance). Frances McDormand is almost as good and innocent as she was in Fargo, and Dan Hedaya played the avengeful, bitter character excellently, while somehow maintaining a flat, “ennui” look on his face. The performance that stood out to me the most though, was M. Emmet Walsh’s. Quite a twisted Texan, with a loud obnoxiously deliciuos laughter. And for a cold P.I. with little scruples, he played a strangely warm role (he was the closest the movie got to being funny).
If I were to graph the excitement in me as I watched the movie, though, it would sky-rocket up towards the 2nd half, in a logarithimic scale.
Overall I loved the Coen’s first film, as well as their story to get it made. They fundraised their $1.5 million budget from inverstors mostly including people from their home town in Minnesota, and produced this completely as independent filmmakers. What a team.
By now you might be noticing that most thigns I write about movies are positive. That’s because so far I enjoy writing about movies I like. Maybe in the future I’ll post movies I dislike, but right now that seems pointless for my blog.
6. “An Education”
Dir. Lone Scherfig
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina
I forgot I watched this and it’s been some time so don’t know how much I can really write about it.
I liked it, let’s start there. Everything about it felt british, the “greyness” of it. It made me feel uncomfortable when it wanted to. I liked the title a lot, and what it meant, and what it’s trying to say. I don’t want to say much because I want you to watch these movies, but it basically encouraged audiences the audience to question your education, and its purpose.
The cast was very well assembled, of course Carey Mulligan was great. I especially liked Alfred Molina’s role. Though minor, I enjoyed watching his character and his contradictions, hypocrisy, and spot-on accent. I love british accents. Just absolutely love them.
I’ve seen a lot of movies since this one, so I will keep this short.
(Adaptation, dir. Spike Jonze 2002)
You know how sometimes a moment in a movie simply captures you? It freezes you, and refuses to release you until you link what you’re feeling to why you’re feeling it. Well anyways, this was a great freaking movie. Just watched this and really loved it. Very original script with some genius and intense writing all throughout. Took self-referencing to the max.
Highly recommend it.
This is how Nicolas Cage should act.
5. “127 hours”
Dir. Danny Boyle
Starring: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn
Finally got around to seeing this, once again with Jacob (we’ve been watching lots of movies lately, bro).
I hadn’t really watched a full trailer for it (which was good). All I knew was the basic premise for it, and that it was directed by Danny Boyle. Slumdog Millionaire was a great film and I deeply enjoyed it. I’ve become a fan of his work. That and its Oscar nomination made me think 127 Hours was going to be a great movie.
Well…it was. 127 Hours kept me hooked during the whole thing.
Great freakin’ movie.
Though I could definitely feel the Danny Boyle in it, I’m glad it still felt different than Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog used one main event as the setting, and covered the story with [extremely convenient] flashbacks, while 127 focused even more on one main event and used not flashbacks, but wandering thoughts. The main character had some flashbacks, but they took the shape of present memories rather than past events. They weren’t crucial things to the plot, nor did they help him remember a magical way to get free from the rock, instead they added to the character and tone. The concept of making almost an entire movie about a guy stuck in one place may seem bland at first, but it’s done so well that you feel like you’re stuck in a rock with him. You don’t really want to get out and seek help though, instead you’re stuck in an aesthetically pleasing, well-crafted, intense film.
I feel like due to the title of the movie, and the main sentiment of the character, the element of time being long and painful was very present, but the pacing was still quick enough to keep the movie interesting. Speaking of which, pain (as well as most other feelings of disgust or discomfort in the movie) were communicated very well and, I thought, creatively. I felt thirsty for him, I cringed when he hit the nerve (or his bone…ouch) and I had fun with him when he was riding his bike.
Even though I knew how it would end, I always thought every thing he tried would work, and silently cheered for him.
James Franco’s acting was quite magnificent. Very convincing. Of course I don’t know the original person, so I can’t comment on his accuracy portraying him, but the character he did portray was very lovable, dimensional, and quite humorous. The ways he entertained himself while in the canyon were amusing, and you could see the developments within him clearly.
The cinematography was beautiful. The colors of the film (and the giant cinema screen) made me want to be near those rocks (though not under them). I used to love going on hikes/bike rides/adventures, I guess I never get around to it anymore. This movie made me realize I should get on that.
One thing though, If I have to be critical, I think would’ve liked to see some resolution with the girl(s) he met before getting stuck. I mean she was quite attractive, I would’ve tried to contact her after getting out, if anything to apologize for not showing up to the party.
One last comment, I called this ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT parallel before an almost identical thing was said in the epilogue.
And that’s why you always leave a note…to say where you’re going.
I like Danny Boyle’s style. He’s very entertaining, and his movies look soooooo nice.
4. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
Dir. Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson.
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;
– Alexander Pope
Perhaps it was the mood I was in when watching this but I thought this film was amazing. I enjoyed every minute of it.
I’ve been putting off watching it for a while, and
have a lot of school work to do so I can’t watch it had no excuse now that I have Netflix.
Quick synopsis: Joel discovers his ex-girlfriend Clementine has erased every memory of him. Heartbroken and filled with the pain of not being with her, he decides to have the same procedure done and erase every memory of her.
I remember my dad watching this on TV in Costa Rica, one early AM while he folded clothes. I must’ve been 11 or 12 because it — wait a minute. This came out in 2004. I moved here in 2004. There is no way possible this movie came out on TV or DVD in Costa Rica, on the same year that it was released.
But I’ve always had that memory of watching half of it with my dad in our Costa Rican living room.
I’m not making this up, just thought it fit perfectly with the theme of the movie. I’m probably confusing living rooms (and nations) in my mind.
Appropriately, I watched the movie wanting to forget about certain things, much like Joel. Halfway through, however, I wanted to hold on to the memories (what differed between his case and mine, is that his memories were of his loved one, not of a grudge from an argument, so probably not the best relation to the film).
I was very impressed by the shots, though nothing I thought was absolutely extraordinary, at least in regards to framing.
The color scheme was very evident; winter blues and shades of green, with a bit of orange (or should I say, Clementine?) here and there.
There’s so much sadness in this movie, with people trying to forget about others they once loved.
“We’re very busy this time of year, due to Valentine’s day.”
With a strange sense of familiarity, the movie takes you in a race against Joel’s mind, as his mind merges endangered memories (ingeniously portrayed visually).
Jim Carrey’s acting was phenomenal. I can see exactly why he was cast. He wasn’t the usual goofball comedian, rather a serious conflicted man. I’m surprised by his range of on-screen emotions. His quirkiness and goofball style of acting was evident in some scenes, where it was needed to portray the character’s quirkiness and insecurity.
Kate Winslet was also great, very believable as Clementine. Seemingly nutty and annoying at first, like Joel I grew to love her.
Like with “Amélie”, I was fooled into watching a love story, disguised by its stunning visual flow and mind-blowing concept.
Not once during the movie was I lost, though there was plenty of room for that. The value of each scene was perfectly evident, and it flowed seamlessly throughout the film. Although I did feel the effect of jumping through memories, I never felt like the story jumped around.
5 stars on my Netflix ratings.