"Metropolis" - centerspread from the original 1927 French Pressbook

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Amazing Documentary

Everyone should check out the documentary called "The Union". It's done by a Canadian film company and well....check out the link to see ---


It's somewhat long but so amazingly informational, really groundbreaking stuff

Another Good Documentary: The Pixar Story

The Pixar Story Pictures, Images and Photos

I caught this documentary on MSNBC and thought it was amazing. It was awesome to see the earliest animations of Buzz and Woody and all of the stuff that the guys at Pixar went through to achieve success. It's definitely a must see. Let me know what you guys think if you get a chance to see it or what documentaries you think are awesome.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brokeback Mountain

While the film is set in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, it was filmed almost entirely in the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta. The "Brokeback Mountain" in the film is so named because the mountain has the same swayback curve as a brokeback horse or mule, which is swaybacked or sagging in the spine, is actually a composite of Mount Lougheed south of the town of Canmore to Fortress and Moose Mountain in Kananaskis Country. The campsites were filmed at Goat Creek, Upper Kananaskis Lake, Elbow Falls and Canyon Creek, also in Alberta. Other scenes were also filmed in Cowley, Fort Macleod, and Calgary. The film was shot during the summer of 2004.

Mark Wahlberg declined the starring role, saying he turned down the opportunity because he was "a little creeped out" by the homosexual themes and sex scene.

By: Sophia Juarbe

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Since this week's discussion is about sex and censorship in film, I found an article that fits quite nicely with this subject matter. It's about some of the hidden sexual innuendos in some of the cartoons we all enjoyed when we were younger. Below is a video from the Flinstones which was one of my favorites growing up.

Here's a link to the full article.
My Rating System

After seeing This Film Is Not Yet Rated, specifically the scenes with Darren Aronofsky and Kevin Smith, I was inspired to develop my own rating system much like the filmmakers do in the film.

Mission: To inform potential movie goers, in a summarized form, about the content they are interested in viewing. This rating system does not restrict viewing in any way, only informs the potential viewer. Only films of feature length, released either in Theaters, Film Festivals, or straight DVD will be rated. The "Adult" rating does not refer to pornography, nor are any films categorized as pornography subject to be rated.

C- Children: Films rated "C" are mainly, if not solely, comprised of content that appeals to children under the age of 7. Films rated "C" are void of curse words, acts of gratuitous violence or hate. If a film implies an act of violence it is more likely to be rated "C," then one that displays it.

F- Family: Films rated "F" are mainly, if not solely, comprised of content that appeals to people of a variety of ages, ethnicities, creeds, and sexes. Films centered around characters in a family setting are likely to be rated "F."
T- Teen: Films rated "T" are mainly, if not solely, comprised of content that appeals to people between the ages of 13 and 19, but also to a variety of ethnicities, creeds, and sexes. Films centered around characters between the ages of 13 and 19 are likely to be rated "F." Films rated "T" have no restrictions on language.

M- Mature: Film's rated "M" can appeal to all demographics, but feature violence, strong language, and sexual content. There are no age restrictions on films rated "M." Films that feature the above mentioned elements, are likely to receive a "M" rating if the elements are implied.

A- Adult: Film's rated "A" can appeal to all demographics, but feature violence, strong language, and sexual content in a literal presentation. There are no age restrictions on films rated "A."

D- Documentary: Films rated "D" are not categorized as fiction and feature non scripted performances by those telling the story. "D" film can feature any content they so wish, and are not subject to the above ratings. If the film contains content that would typically be categorized as an "A" or "M" film, the movie must feature a brief list of it's content in the film's marketing campaign.

What's Yours?
Please tell me what you think of my proposal, and perhaps suggest your own.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Film Noir w/ a twist

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Pictures, Images and Photos

Even though it's a bit of a stretch, I think "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" falls in the category of film noir. It has elements that most, if not all noirs have in common: the detective, the beautiful and seductive woman, and of course, the dramatic use of shadow (especially seen in scenes inside the detective's office).

The best part is, Who framed Roger Rabbit 2 comes out in 2012!

Research Paper

Action Flicks:

The testosterone driven cheap thrill of

mega explosions.

The action flick is a classic style of movie making that was popularized in the 70’s and 80’s and even the 90's. They hold a special place in my heart for two reasons, one, I’m a man and this is how it should be. Two, my earliest memories of television and movies are those of Rambo, The Terminator, Under Siege, Braveheart, Conan the Barbarian,True Lies, Die Hard, and countless others. My childhood heroes were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Steven Segal. I loved action movies as a kid and I still love them today. The best thing about an action flick is reliving that childish joy of seeing stuff get blown up and the bad guys getting beat up by your favorite action hero. There’s nothing like it, it’s almost primal and instinctual. I have a complete ten part criteria on what makes a good action flick but I’m going to focus the three most important elements of an action flick, over the top unbelievable action sequences, one liners and payoffs, and fighting is the answer to everything.

One of the biggest and most blaringly obvious things that define the action genre is well, action. Not just any action though, I’m talking over the top, bust your balls, edge of your seat, nigh impossible, heart pounding, head exploding, visual feast of moving cinema! This is what separates a manly man’s movie from Suzy’s tea party with friends bull crap that seems to plague the silver screen these days. The hero is put into an impossible situation and through incredible feats of strength, skill, luck, and pure hairy chest manliness, he manages to beat these impossible odds and do it with style. The biggest thing to remember about this is to suspend your disbelief, of course this crap is impossible, FOR YOU, but not for any action hero worth his manly salt. That’s what’s awesome about it, you can’t do it and even if you could you can’t get to see the awesomeness of it from the outside when you’re so busy missile diving through fiery explosions; they can and you get to watch it all go down. As an obligatory note, I must mention that all action sequences must end an explosion, violent kill, or combination thereof.

Usually precluding the climax of a great action sequence is one of the most iconic things of action flicks ever conceived and is rivaled by no other genre, either out of taste or pure lack of the ability to contain such pure unbridled manliness. I’m talking about one liners and pay offs. I can’t begin to express the skull crushing joy I feel when one of my favorite action heroes lets one these bad boys loose right before the fiery explosion filled climax to every good action movie. The best one liners are usually those that have been set up earlier in the movie, the hero will usually learn a phrase, mention something offhandedly, or even say something that defines his character as a whole. One of the most infamous and successful one liners to ever be utter by an action hero was “Hasta la vista, baby!” coined by none other than the terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can remember so many people repeating this and countless parodies of it ensued. One liners are like the match that sets of the heaping mountain of explosives sitting directly on top of the main bad guys forehead and is always the most memorable part of any action movie. Everything builds up that one moment and a One liner personifies the climax of an action movie. Nothing is more manly than being able bust one of these volatile explosion starters out when you need to and flex those rippling muscles of manly genius.

However, at the end of the day talk is cheap and there’s only one thing left to do, kick some ass. The single most important thing about any and all action flicks is that the answer to everything no matter what, is either punching, shooting, blowing up, or down right annihilating everything in your way. It’s the action hero code of conduct. If there isn’t a way out, fight your way out, if your opponent is smarting than you punch him in the head and give him brain damage, if you’re outnumbered you’re never outnumbered just kick all their asses, and finally, when all else fails just dig deep down into the pits of your primal and beastly reserves of manly fortitude and find a way to blow something up in a fiery and spectacular way and MAKE everything else work. In any true action movie, violence isn’t just the answer, it’s the ONLY answer. So sack up some balls of steel, grab the nearest sexy woman near you, and go get your daily dose of pure unrefined testosterone driven thrill ride of mega explosions and manliness and go see an action flick today!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mid-Term Exam Review

These are the areas we have studied so far this quarter that might be on the exam.
  1. Beginnings of film and the silent era
  2. Transition to sound - complications
  3. Surrealism - definitions and examples
  4. Expressionism - definitions and examples
  5. Genre studies
  6. The Horror Film
  7. Film Noir
  8. Point of view
  9. Montage
  10. Mise en scene
  11. Film screen ratios
These are the films that were required viewing. They will be integrated into the test.
  1. Films of the Lumiere Brothers
  2. Films of George Melies
  3. Edwin S. Porter - "The Great Train Robbery"
  4. "Metropolis"
  5. "The Passion of Joan of Arc"
  6. "Un Chien Andalou"
  7. "The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari"
  8. "Eraserhead"
  9. "Eyes Without a Face"
  10. "Susperia"
  11. "The Big Sleep"
  12. "Laura"
The exam will be an objective test with multiple choice, true false, etc. Thanks for all the papers. I am reading them now and hope to have your grades by Monday.

Kurosawa and "Star Wars"

George Lucas has stated that a big influence in creating the story of "Star Wars" (Episode 4 if you insist) was Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film, "The Hidden Fortress". In it a fearless warrior rescues a feisty princess, accompanied by two bumbling sidekicks. It is a great adventure film with a fair amount of humor. It is also streamable on Netflix.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baz Lurhmann by Kristopher Torres

(I tried to post this on Monday and it kept giving me a message saying that it couldn't post because of MET HTML)

Baz Lurhmann is an actor, writer but most importantly a great storyteller. He has directed only four movies but has created a unique style of his own. The movies he has directed are Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet and his most recent Australia. Baz does more than directs his films, first off he writes the story and the screenplay but secondly, he also has his fingers in every part of the film, such as the music and cinematography.

What is unique about his style is he presents his movies as if he were telling a story, usually involving a narrator. When telling the story he usually gives away the ending of the story in the beginning to give the viewers the urge to watch how the story gets there. His stories sometimes have a hidden social commentary on something such as war or racism. Also, his pursuit of storytelling is very similar to a theatrical experience, which includes clothes that are exaggerated and are somewhat like costumes instead of clothing. There is actually a descriptive phrase used by Baz Luhrmann himself that describes his style, "Red Curtain."

In my opinion, the two movies that show more of his style would be Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet because they have a more theatrical feel to them. Parts of Moulin Rouge was placed on a stage because the story took place in a theater but in Romeo and Juliet some scenes took place on a beach that had a structure that looked like a theater's stage. Another reason Baz Lurhmann’s films seem theatrical are the performances are exaggerated and, in the case of Romeo and Juliet, have a twist to the story. In Romeo and Juliet the story is taken place in what seems like a present day city and instead of having swords, the characters have guns. Also, in both movies the wardrobe is amazingly over the top and sometimes unnecessarily but it created a different and entertaining experience.

I think it is important for a director or writer to find their own specific style in storytelling in order to be successful. Whether the director’s style is camera techniques or cinematography, it should get the viewers attention. As I wrote earlier, he has only made four films but is already widely known.

Favorite Director (Tyler's paper)

For many film students it may be hard to pin point exactly who their favorite director or directors are. However for myself, it is rather easy. Joel and Ethan Coen or known professionally as The Coen Brothers are without a doubt my favorite directors. I could write forever about how great they are. However, for the sake of this post (paper) I will keep it about their style. (As the Cowboy from Lebowski would say, "I dig your style dude.")

The Coens are amongst the few contemporary filmmakers who have shown a great affection for the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, and have incorporated thier influences with varying degrees of subtlety, ranging from entire movies in the screwball mode like The Hudsucker Proxy and Intolerable Cruelty.

They are Oscar winners for Best Original Screenplay (Fargo) and Best Adapted Screenplay (No Country...) they are known for having great dialogue in their films. In some of their films it can be Laconic (using very few words) examples are No Country..., Fargo, and The Man Who Wasn't There. Other times they can be Loquacious (very talkative) like their films Lebowski and Hudsucker Proxy. Their scripts typically feature a combination of dry wit, exaggerated language, and glaring irony.

The various aspects that make the character of a city, state, or region of America are an intergral component of several of their films. Raising Arizona strongly features the distinctive Arizona landscape, and some of the characters in the film are highly exaggerated stereotypes of people's notions of people from Arizona. Similarly, in Fargo the accents of North Dakota and Minnesota are an essential part of the film. The Big Lebowski and Barton Fink play off of Los Angeles. O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Ladykillers are distinctly Southern. The Hudsucker Proxy plays off of New York. No Country For Old Men depicts the West Texas and Mexico border. Burn After Reading depicts the culture in D.C. A Serious Man examines a Jewish community in the suburbs of the Twin Cities.

In addition, The Coens often set their movies in times of American crisis. Miller's Crossing takes place during prohibition. Barton Fink is in the time around the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lebowski during the 1991 Gulf War, O Brother... during the Great Depresssion. WWII is mentioned as an important plot point in The Man Who Wasn't There.

They often use animals that seem to have an understanding of what is happening: the bloodhound who looks suprised in the cabin scene of O Brother..., the scruffy terrier accompanying the tyke in the Rug Daniels scene in Miller's Crossing, the pomerianian show dog (with papers) who becomes agitated with Walter during Smokey's foul in Lebowski, the ever-watching and suspicious Pickles in The Ladykillers, and the pit bull who is seen through binoculars by Moss in No Country For Old Men.

Money is involved in most of their films. The plot of Blood Simple escalates as a result of money. It starts the events of Fargo. It is trying to be collected in Lebowski. In O Brother... they are on a chase for treasure that will make them rich. In Burn After Reading money is needed to pay for a character's cosmetic surgery. The confusion and moral conflict surrounding a suspected bribe drive portions of the plot in A Serious Man.

Dreams figure prominently and frequently into the Coen's work. Raising Arizona and A Serious Man feature several dream sequences. Barton Fink has been described as being very dreamlike, many have speculated that the second half of the film is a dream sequence itself. Blood Simple, contains an important dream sequence, and No Country... ends with a character's vivid description of a dream. The function of the dream sequences in their films is often times to foreshadow the progression of the plot, to reflect on what already occured during the film and, above all else, to reveal the fears, motivations, and introspections of its characters.

Hopefully after reading this you have a better understanding of the style of the Coens. It is easy to see why they are great filmmakers, ("Worthy Fucking Adversaries") there are other great filmmakers however for me the Coen's take the cake. I enjoy all of their films. If you haven't seen any or all of them do yourself a favor and check them out.

Coen Bros Works:
Blood Simple, 1984
Raising Arizona, 1987
Miller's Crossing, 1990
Barton Fink, 1991
The Hudsucker Proxy, 1994
Fargo, 1996
The Big Lebowski, 1998
O Brother Where Art Thou?, 2001
Intolerable Cruelty, 2003
The Ladykillers, 2004
No Country For Old Men, 2007
Burn After Reading, 2008
A Serious Man, 2009
True Grit, 2010

Other Works:
Crimewave, 1985, written by Coens and Sam Raimi. Directed by Raimi.
Gates of Eden, 1998, collection of short stories written by Ethan.
The Naked Man, 1998, co written by Ethan.
The Drunken Driver Has The Right of Way, 2001, a collection of poems and limericks written by Ethan.
Bad Santa, 2003, produced by the Coens.
Paris, je t'aime, 2006, Film segment: Tuileries.
Chacun son cinema, 2007, Film segment: World Cinema.
Romance & Cigarettes, 2006, produced by Coens. written and directed by John Turturro.
Suburbicon, 2012, will be produced and written by Coens. George Clooney will direct.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fall Blu-ray Buy List

Just wanted to let anybody know that has a PS3 or a Blu ray player about some of the great releases coming this fall.

Apocalypse Now (10/9)
Alien Anthology (10/26)
Back to the Future Trilogy (10/26)
Disney's Beauty and the Beast (10/5)
The Exorcist (10/3)
The Evil Dead (8/31)
Grindhouse (10/5)
King Kong 1933 (9/28)
Rocky Horror Picture Show (10/19)
Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (Criterion) (10/26)
Maniac (10/26)
The Maltese Falcon (10/5)
Ignar Bergman's The Magician (Criterion)
Phycho (10/19)
Se7en (9/14)
The Seven Samurai (Criterion) (10/19)
The Twilight Zone: Season one (9/5)

I want to get a least a few of these.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Top Ten Horror Films

The Media Theory & Criticism class spent the week covering genre studies. More specifically, the assignment was to study the horror genre. They selected and voted on a "top ten" list using an open and wide variety of criteria. This is what they came up with in ranking order, #1 being best.

  1. Psycho
  2. The Shining
  3. The Exorcist
  4. Silence of the Lambs
  5. Jaws
  6. Night of the Living Dead
  7. Alien
  8. The Thing (Carpenter)
  9. Nosferatu (silent)
  10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

A great list. Here is mine in no particular order.

The Bride of Frankenstein
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Black Cat (1930s Universal)
The Shining
The Seventh Victim
The Cabinet of Dr. Calagari
The Exorcist
The Horror of Dracula

Please post your personal list and comment.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hard Boiled Fiction and Killers on the Run

I will be showing "The Getaway" on Monday and "Gun Crazy" on Friday.

Sam Peckinpah's film of Jim Thompson's tough-as-nails novel features Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw as husband and wife fugitives, running from the cops, a psychotic former partner in crime, and some angry Texas gangsters they have double crossed.

"Gun Crazy" is a great Film Noir. Peggy Cummins stars as Annie Laurie Starr, a carnival sharpshooter who is fascinated by the idea of murder.

Produced on a shoestring budget, the film uses techniques that were almost experimental in the 1950's.

I hope you can attend at least one of these great films. Both are a 5:00.