Posts Tagged ‘ cinema ’

2001: Space Odyssey

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if ever there was a definition of cinema it would be this film. It’s weird how you can watch something as a kid and not get it at all. Then when you revisit it later in life it suddenly makes all the sense in the world. I just watched 2001: Space Odyssey again but this time at the Cinerama Dome at the ArcLight in Hollywood. It was magic. Seeing it projected on the curved screen, the quality of film and the big sound. It was as if I was seeing it for the first time. Truly, this is how it is meant to be seen. Began with the overture, even had an intermission. It was spectacular.

Stanley Kubrick. Damn. I never wanted to be a fake fan, of anything, so I generally don’t. But seriously, this film is from a moment (or more) of genius. It is weird when you watch this film, with it’s non-dialogue to story to silence to trippiness and special effects- it all makes sense in the most non-sensical way. There are images and sound and feelings expressed in this film that people just get and connect with.

The sequence at the end…I interpret it as dimension traveling. And it freaks you out because it is stuff you have thought about yourself. At least I have. The thought of bending time and space to make it one continuous loop that you can move through simultaneously. It’s obviously a trip and your brain goes into overdrive to even think at that level. But I love it. I get lost in space thinking quite often and I get existential now and then, this film pretty much sums up the thought process. And it’s not that it makes you feel any better; it just makes it so that you can see it and understand it as it plays out in front of you instead of in your head.

The acting. There is this quiet control in Kubrick’s direction of his actors. I wish I could have seen him direct because there’s something he does that just makes it all the more believable. The characters were great. Dr. Heywood R. Floyd (William Sylvester) has this cool demeanor about him, this quiet intelligence of knowing something that we nor his peers don’t have the pleasure of knowing. Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) has to be one the best ever written. By far he gets the best scenes: from a standoff with HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain) to traveling through the psychedelic sequence and facing every moment of his entire life…He was so much fun to watch. Then there’s Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) who was just plain cute. I loved his interaction with . When they are sitting together eating their meal and watching their interview. I love how they don’t talk to each other because they don’t have to; they just know each other so well and don’t need to. I like how all the characters don’t ever go above volume and never have a dramatic freakout. And HAL, hands down the favorite. It was very intuitive of Kubrick to write a computer character that would turn on its maker. I feel like it was a type of thinking ahead of its time, or at least the best portrayal of such a concept even to date. I loved the sequence when Bowman dismantles HAL, it was so destructive without having dramatic action. It was all done through sound and visuals. Those are my favorite moments because Kubrick is invoking a feeling through the abstract.

so good. that’s all.

die antwoord.

tree of life.

for me, this film read like a symphony. Or maybe an art installation. It was life-enriching and it was boring, a little bit of both and that’s okay. I think Terence Malick, after all I’ve heard about the history of the filmmaking of this movie, knew exactly what he wanted and certainly achieved it. When you sit down to watch this film you have to be prepared to just sit. It’s worth it, for all intents and purposes, it’s obviously Malick’s masterpiece and it’s respectable. I love the idea of a filmmaker doing what he wants and getting away with it. Of course, I only love it when applies to actual, real-deal filmmakers. Malick’s dissertation is filled with beautiful cinematography arranged against a harmonious soundtrack. With as little dialogue that is involved, the performances were still quite powerful. Sure I sat there and laughed a little bit at the overly dramatic moments, especially any scenes that featured hands… I thought that was a little much but I understood what he was doing. Also, I had a problem with Brad Pitt’s character. When all is said and done, he wasn’t that bad of a father or husband so why is the young Sean Penn character so angry? Maybe cause he was becoming an adolescent? Overall, the children in the film is what blew me away the most. I’m used to great work by Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and even Jessica Chastain wasn’t that bad though she did irk me from time to time. The kids is where it’s at. They should be nominated for their performances. I am always fascinated when babies act and it comes across so real and powerful. lastly, I really liked the movie, I didn’t fall in love with it, but I could really use it to go to bed (that sounds like an insult but it honestly isn’t) or maybe keep watching it to extract more of what Terence was trying to say…

found: a star wars inspiration.

these steampunk-esque masks look something familiar… Could this be where George Lucas might have looked for a little inspiration for Darth Vadar and C-3PO’s costumes? Having German and Parisian roots, these smoke helmets were worn by firefighters in the 1800s. Hmm… Seems pretty likely or else too uncanny.

blue valentine.

oh man. This was one of those films that just puts you in a funk…sort of. Well, mostly, kind of. I didn’t cry. I wanted to but I wasn’t able to for some reason. I blame the film…naturally. Honestly, just felt that there was no single scene that allowed me to get there. But that’s besides the point, I’m hardly human, so making me cry is nearly impossible. I liked this movie a lot. Although it was depressing and filled with as little hope as possible, the story felt real and the relationships felt genuine. Usually with stories having to do with the unraveling of a romantic relationship, it’s quick and to the point, but this story let it breathe and I appreciated the cross-cutting between the past and the present to juxtapose the “feeling” of the beginning of a relationship versus the ending of one. For anyone who has been through a break-up, this story will really get to you because it’s not sugar-coating anything, just showing how wonderful and easy it is to fall in love and how hard and (most of the time) inevitable it is to fall right out of it… I loved the father-daughter relationship, how goofy Gosling (Dean) was with his daughter Frankie and how dedicated of a dad he was to her even though we later find out that he is not the biological father. I am one of those (many) women who just fall for Ryan Gosling no matter what he’s in (read: most definitely after The Notebook) but I’m no dummy, he has a gift of flirtation and it plays so well on-screen. One of the more interesting elements of his character was the choice to “ugly” him up in the present timeline of the story, Gosling has a receding hairline and gigantic glasses, which was a bit over the top considering only six years (not sixty) had passed since he had first met Michelle Williams’ character. In any case it all played well into the story and just made sense to why their current status was the way it was… Williams (Cindy) was so great, she was so convincing of being a mother (not a stretch I guess, considering she really is a mom) and even more convincing as a wife that doesn’t feel anything for her husband anymore. Michelle Williams has easily become one of my favorite female actors, especially after my second viewing of Shutter Island. Overall, the directing (Derek Cianfrance) was really on point, the cinematography (Andrij Parekh) was raw and the acting was quite powerful.

true grit.


a lot like molasses…in a good way, mostly. Rich, full of flavor and slow-moving. Honestly, must say didn’t necessarily feel like a Coen Brothers film but that’s okay, they’re allowed that. I think this film was that pet project that was something dear to their hearts, something they’ve always wanted to make but never had the time for and finally the timing was right so they went for it. It’s probably their homage to all the westerns they’ve ever loved and adored growing up. There wasn’t much gratuitous blood shed or dark psychotic breakdowns often seen in a typical Coen Brothers film, it was a pretty straight forward and stayed on a narrow path. A young girl, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) is looking to venge her father’s death and enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to help catch and kill the murderer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Mattie and Rooster are joined by LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who wants to capture Chaney alive for his own reasons. There really isn’t any depth to the story besides these few simple lines. It was a little frustrating because I wanted the plot to twist and the story to turn in such a way that would heed to these helmers. But like I said, it’s cool, I think the Coen Brothers made the movie for themselves and I guess I would too if I were in their position. I think Hailee Steinfeld did a great job, she really stood her own against these heavyweights but I wasn’t completely blown away by her performance. Matt Damon was fine… He was a subdued version of himself, but then again his character had no real substance so maybe there wasn’t much to work with. Same thing with Josh Brolin, he did fine but his character was boring, which was a little disappointing because we waited forever to finally see this villain and it just fell flat. Overall, this film was really all about Jeff Bridges, who played a spaghetti westernized version of The Dude. He was fantastic in this role as Rooster and he garnered all of the laughs in the entire film. It’s worth watching but just be warned that it doesn’t hold a candle to the Coen collection of epicness.

black swan.

it was unexpected. It was good. The cinematography (Matthew Libatique) was beautifully intrusive and the score (Clint Mansell) was gravely haunting. I’m a fan of Vincent Cassel (played Thomas Leroy). He reminds me of one of the old greats and will definitely have a long-standing career. He is seductive and captivating at every moment he is on screen. Mila Kunis (played Lily) did a great job as well. I’ve never seen her extend past the the comedy circuit so it was good to see her expand herself into this thriller-genre. Natalie Portman (played Nina Sayers) did well but I didn’t feel like she pushed to her absolute limits. Portman will most likely get nominated for this role solely due to the fact that it’s a Darren Aronofsky film. Aronofsky did a pretty fantastic job of sewing together a pretty complex group of characters with a deeply psychological story (written by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz). As per his M.O, Aronofsky makes the audience feel uncomfortable and quite paranoid the entire time. Immediately I was intrigued by the mother-daughter relationship between Nina Sayers and her mother Erica (played by Barbara Hershey). We open to a very princess-like bedroom, belonging to Portman’s character and Hershey’s character helping her daughter as if she cannot take care of herself. Between Nina constantly calling her mother “mommy” and the various instances of her trying to appease her mother and not being able to make her own decisions, I knew that this relationship was the thread that would unravel Natalie’s character in the end. At the very moment we saw the dolls and various pink frills of Nina’s room, Ashley turns to me and says, “This room will be destroyed.” She was right. But not only was the room physically destroyed but so were the many walls that were built inside this character. I loved the various places the character was taken, from first-time experiences with drug use and masturbation to garnering the lead role in “Swan Lake” and the pressures that come along with not only such a heavy responsibility but also realizing a dream goal finally met. I usually like anything to do with the human psyche and how it’s power can affect the way a character acts, thinks and feels. This film definitely was loaded with so much of this kind of drama that it made me feel anxious and on edge the entire time. I found that I related to Nina’s slow downward spiral and then being disturbed that I related to any of it at all.
I’m not sure what the message of the film was or if there was even supposed to be one at all but the end scene was quite commanding especially with the climax of Nina’s ever-obsession with perfection.

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