The Red and the White: A plot done to death the world over!

The Red and The White is a 1968 Russian film directed by Miklos Jancso. Dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution, the film tells the story of a group of Hungarian Communist, the Reds, which aid the Bolsheviks’ in defeating the Czarists, or the Whites.
Its moderate scenery and, somewhat dismal plot, or no plot rather, seems customary for the time frame it was set in, but given the high octane cinema our generation has been subjected to, this movie feel flat on its face.

The movie took a too realistic approach to the hardships of the Russian Civil War. It’s a plot that has been done to death the world over: Civil unrest and the good guys come in to help out and end up sacrificing themselves in the end for the greater good.

Although not a fan of realism in cinema (I feel that cinema is a chance to escape the real world. We go to the movies to be amazed at the “what if’s” of life and things that aren’t of the everyday), the realistic approach did work in its favor. It gave the movie some, but not a lot of depth. The film’s final scene has such passion and grit in it that I feel if done over the top, with explosions, rapid jump cuts, crazy gun fire, the scene would have lost its meaning. “War seems chaotic and arbitrary” and to show it in its simplest of forms was sheer brilliance but it didn’t make up for the other 85 minutes of the film.

If anyone wants to watch a realistic approach to a war torn nation, I recommend seeing 2007’s Atonement before seeing The Red and The White.

2011 Oscar Race: What happened?

So as most of you might know the Academy Award nominations where read out today. As with every year, there are a handful of “snubs and surprises” as the media so puts it. And boy where there some surprises!
First off, where was Mila Kunis!? What I consider to be great acting or a performance worthy of an Oscar nomination, not a win, but just a nomination, is different from what the Academy thinks. What I think is a great performance is when you take an actor or an actress out of their comfort zone and place them in a situation that they have never been in before. Case in point would be Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side (which she won for) and this performance. When you think Mila Kunis you think one of two things: That 70’s Show or Family Guy. You don’t think Golden Globe nomination for psychotic bad-girl ballerina, do you? That’s what acting is; it’s taken someone out of there ordinary acting abilities and placing them where they don’t belong and having it work out, which is what Kunis did beautifully in Black Swan.
Of course we all know that Merly Streep can act and that she is possible one of the greatest actors of our or any generation, but all her work is the same: heart wrenching dramas, tearful sentimental films or biopic’s. For her next film she will be portraying Prime Minister Margret Thatcher. Safe to say we’ll see her nominated in 2012. But that’s not great acting. Streep is doing the same genre over and over again. Sure she dipped her hands in a few different genres, suspense with The River Wild, comedy with She Devil and It’s Complicated, even a musical, but you don’t see them getting critical acclaim. Mila Kunis took a chance and did something different and that’s a true actress. She definitely deserved the nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
I’m kind of mad that her spot was taken by new-comer Hailee Steinfeld, who hasn’t been nominated by any other major award group this year. And that The Fighter got two nominations for supporting actress when I really feel like it only deserved one. Amy Adams was good and gritty in her performance as Mark Whalberg’s love interest but it was Melissa Leo who stole the show as Marky Marks overbearing chain-smoking mother/manager.
I’m tired of the Academy not giving dues where there deserved. Although this year we did get to see a lot of names that we regularly wouldn’t associate with an Oscar: James Franco, although he is a fine actor, he most remembered for Spider Man. Jesse Eisenberg, who has been making his mark in the Indie genre but never truly boomed in Hollywood. Jennifer Lawrence who is relatively new to everything and Mark Ruffalo, who I honestly can’t see as a “Academy-Award nominee.” But still, that doesn’t cloud the fact that a lot of actors who got great buzz this year where left out.
Also, what happened to the Best Supporting Actor race? The Academy made good by following up with Christian Bale, who I believe is long overdue for an Oscar. His performances in American Psycho, The Machinist and even The Dark Knight where amazing and it shows that he has such commitment and versatility in his roles. He lost over 60 lbs to be in The Machinist and then bulked up incredibly to do Batman Begins. He truly is a ‘characters actor’ and this is his year. But what happened to Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake from The Social Network? Garfield already won a few awards as part of the billionaire duo that created Facebook but it was JT who really stole the show as Napster founder Sean Paker. His performance was remarkable when realizing that he is a singer and not an actor. If Beyonce could at least garner a Golden Globe nomination for Dreamgirls, JT’s performance was definitely a step above that and should have been acknowledged.
And perhaps the most upsetting news of them all in my book was Christopher Nolan being shut out AGAIN for Best Director. Nolan is a visionary. He has the ability to take a script that has elements that when read aloud, are probably deemed unbelievable. But he can take them and make them believable without the use of CGI or special effects. Probably one of the most memorable scenes in cinema this year was the zero gravity hallway scene in Inception, which is up for an impressive 8 awards this season. The entire scene was done without the use of CGI which is truly outstanding when you see it.
This is the third time Nolan has been shut out of this category, first and second where Memento and The Dark Knight. And what makes this even more mindboggling is that his movies have been recognized by the DGA so why not the Academy? I understand that people can argue that the Academy has a dislike for big blockbuster and big Hollywood productions and they tend to favor the quite dramas that go unnoticed but that hasn’t been true as of lately (i.e. Avatar). Plus, a lot of people say that The Dark Knight shouldn’t be nominated because it’s a comic book movie. Did we forget that Superman was nominated for 3 Academy Awards when it was released in 1978? Inception made a little over $800 million and was praised by critics upon release. Still, no nomination. I understand that it is a big deal to be awarded a Best Director Oscar. Martin Scorsese went years before winning Best Direction in ‘04 but he was still nominated times before. And it took Spielberg until 93’s Schindler’s List to win after critically acclaimed blockbusters like E.T and Jaws. Hang in there Nolan, your day will come . . . eventually. 2012 will be you year. The Dark Knight Rises hasn’t even begun shooting yet and it’s already creating a lot of buzz with the casting of Tom Hardy (also Inception) as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle aka Catwomen.
If The Dark Knight Rises is half as good as The Dark Knight was, Nolan has a sure fire hit on his hands. With 10 Best Picture spots to fill compared with only 5 when The Dark Knight was release in ’08, my moneys on TDKR at least being nominated for Best Picture. But 2012 is a long ways away and TDKR has some big shoes to fill. Not only are Hardy and Hathaway going to live in the shades of Ledger’s now iconic Joker but how many threequels do you know of that when on to the Oscars?
Here’s hoping to the future of the Academy Awards. This season’s winners will be announced on February 27th.

So what now…

So now that class is offically over (I am going to miss it), what do we do with this blogs???? Are people still going to write on them. I like mine too much now to delete it. So are we just suppose to write about anything we want???

Best Picture Predictions: Update

So after seeing Black Swan and having to add it to my list, it only gives me 6 out of 10 nominees. So I’d figure I’d do some snooping on the internet, watch a few trailers and really see what’s coming out soon that look good enough for Oscar consideration. There were a few. Oscar season is only just getting warmed up and there are a lot of films coming soon that look very promising. So here’s my new list:
1. The Kids Are Alright
2. Toy Story 3
3. Inception (still my vote for the Oscar)
4. The Town
5. The Social Network
6. Black Swan
7. Love and Other Drugs
8. The Kings Speech
9. The Fighter
10. True Grit
What do you guys think?????

Film Analysis: Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 crime/drama film directed by Arthur Penn and distributed by Warner Bros. The film follows the lives of American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow who, during the 1930’s, went on a robbing spree throughout the central United States. The film stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the main protagonist, with supporting actors Gene Hackman and Estelle Parson as Clyde’s brother and sister-in law Buck and Blanche Barrows.

Bonnie and Clyde grew to become one of the greatest films of the New Era in Hollywood, breaking the social norms and constrictions that other films once abided by. It became a beacon of reinvention and growth for the motion picture business, being the first to show explicit violence and sexual situations.

In Bonnie and Clyde, the scene being analyzed takes place during the first days of their robbing spree. Bonnie and Clyde stumble across an abandoned house where they take shelter. The house has become property of the local bank and the previous residences have been forced to relocate. The scene shows harsh living conditions and a family in despair which motivated Bonnie and Clyde to set off in somewhat of a revolt against the Great Depression.

Bonnie wakes up alone in an unknown house. The house is worn down and disserted, not fit for inhabitance.  The shot is very wide and open; done so that the audience can fully see the conditions the house is in. Bonnie jumps up and yells for Clyde, who greets here through a broken window. He proceeds to tell her that there is work that needs to be done and start to demonstrate: a line of empty liquor bottles are places across the lawn on a fence and Clyde proceeds to shoot them down with one shot each. The yard is messy and unkempt; weeds and shrubs growing everywhere. He hands the gun over to her, symbolizing that it’s time for her to become a good shooter like he is; after all he is “the best.”

During that morning, the previous owner, Odis Harris, happens to walk by. Startled by this, Clyde points the gun at him and Harris backs up. Clyde follows him and then see’s Harris’s family all packed in a van with their belongings. The camera changes from wide shots to a close up of the family faces, most notably the mother and one of two sons; a young boy with a carless, pure smile on his face and a mother whose worried and drawn out. He puts two and two together: the house once belonged to Harris and his family. Bonnie and Clyde see a sign in the front of the house that says “Property of Midlothian Citizens Bank” in a close up shot. Clyde shoots the sign and hands the gun over to Harris, a jester of compassion, and lets Harris, along with his old friend Davis free their anger by shooting his old home.

The culture during the 1930’s Great Depression was dismal and bleak. People left and right where losing money, their jobs and their homes. People were getting fed up with the banks. That’s were Bonnie and Clyde get there inspiration. Times are tough and the only way for them to get what they want is to take it – by force. Bonnie is feed up with her life that’s going nowhere as a waitress and decides to take up Clyde’s offer and become partners in crime together.

This scene mimic’s 1930’s life and makes a great comparison on the life of the common people during the Great Depression. The unkempt, bored up, disoriented house with the weeds growing around it and the broken windows represented the United States that was in a state of complete disarray at the time. People had nothing that was secure, nothing promising and nothing to protect them, which symbolically would be a house. The overall theme of this film, I believe, is power and vengeance. People wanted their power back, and they saw that power be channeled through the actions of Bonnie and Clyde. And the people wanted to get back at the banks for taking their homes and their money, so Bonnie and Clyde did so in the only way that was plausible, by robbing them.

My Opinion for Best Picture:

Okay so as a movie lover the Oscars are the best part of the year. And I always try to figure out who’s going to win what before the big day. All the categories are important in their own respects but it’s the Best Picture that the big one of the night. And although the Best Picture Oscars was been screwed up a few times in my opinion (The Dark Knight in ‘09 should have at least been nominated! And Avatar should have won last year. I have no idea what all the hype about The Hurt Locker was for) I feel confident with the movies this year now that the list has been expanded to 1o nominees instead of 5.
Even thought Oscar season has just started, there has definitely been a few that should be considered already. So he’s my opinion on the movies that should be nominated so for from this year:
1. The Kids Are Alright: I love Julianne Moore ever since I saw her in The Hours and she and Annette Benning are sure to be nominated for Best Actress/ Supporting Actress.
2. Toy Story 3: If Up proved anything last year, Toy Story 3 is sure to be there. Not to mention the movie also made over a BILLION at the box office.
3. Inception: A smart action thriller and a summer smash that had the appeal of Oscar gold. I think it’s about time the Academy acknowledges Christopher Nolan after they forgot about The Dark Knight. And Memento. And Insomnia. (MY VOTE FOR THE OSCAR FOR BEST PICTURE!!!)
4. The Town: Ben Afflect’s second directorial effort about a group of bank robbers in Boston was great but told a story I’ve seen before (The Departed). The only thing going for it is the fact that The Departed won Best Picture. Clearly, it has something the Academy likes.
5. The Social Network: The best depiction of life on the 20th century ever. Finally a movie that tells the story of the youth. Jesse Eisenberg performance was fantastic and so was Justin Timberlake’s (surprise surprise). Ironical, Facebook has a campaign to get him nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Let’s not get carried away.

Others that I would LIKE to see (but never will lol): Shutter Island, Easy A and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part I.

So what do you think??? Are there any movies you think should be nominated for Best Picture??? Are there any that I listed that you would take out???

ADD ON: I have to add this movie right now, BLACK SWAN! This movie was sick! To those of you who haven’t seen it yet, go see it! It is by far one of the sexiest, physiological crazy, suspenseful thrillers I’ve seen in a very long time. And to all the guys reading this who think it’s all about the ballet and kind of girly, there’s something in it for you! (Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman get it on!!) The more I see the trailer for it, the more I want to go back and see the movie again. It’s just so good. And Winona Ryder’s it in? I didn’t know that until I saw the movie. She’s good in it too. She goes a little crazy at the end but I don’t want to give it all away. It really was one of the biggest surprise hits of the year. Kunis, Portman and director Darren Aronofsky are shoo ins for Oscar nods.

I’m 18 and Psycho scared the $@!% out of me!

So I have to admit, Psycho was as every bit as good as I thought it would be! I was happy that this was the first time I go to see it. I probably would have been more scared if I saw it at home (I sleep in the basement; that’s where Bates put his mother!!!) I’m also happy that I saw the original and not the Gus Van Sant remake, which, now having seen the original, I kind of do want to see it, just to see how bad it was.

I don’t know what it was that made this film so scary for me but it just was. This was a movie that I genially enjoyed watching, something that hasn’t happened to me in a while. The last movie that I found myself happy watching and praying that it didn’t finish was Inception and that was in July. Hitchcock truly is Hollywood Gold! Vertigo was amazing. Rear Window was fantastic but there’s just something about Psycho that tops them all.

But why was I so scared? What was it about this suspense film that really wasn’t even that scary, scare me so much? It was everything! The music, the creepy heart-pounding music, the dim lighting, the eerie silence, and of course Norman Bates. Wow what a nut case he was! What made him so devilishly scary was his sweet and innocent look. A look that just says “I could be the nicest person in the world to you.” But it was that look that gave everything away. He was too nice and it was just a matter of time before we all saw his snap.

Norman Bates is actually modeled after Ed Gein, who is also the basis for Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Ed Gein was some guy who lived out in west bumble America on a farm with his mother. As it turns out, the crazy personalities that he had spawned those iconic horror characters. Gein was a body snatcher (no pun intended). He would dig up corpses from the local graveyard and prop them up in his home, collected various body parts from the people he murdered and, of course, keep his mothers room exactly the way she had it (with her in it) after she died. He actually boarded it making in into a tomb of some sorts, preserving his mother and all her belongings.

I think knowing that Norman Bates was modeled after a real person is what made this movie so scary to me. It played off of the basic fear that this person was real and that what I’m seeing wasn’t that farfetched. It’s not like watching Saw where people are put through these ridiculous traps or Quarantine where everyone gets this extreme case of rabies, it was (semi) real.

Oh, and the ending was the worst part! My mouth dropped when I saw Bates run through the basement door dressed as his mother. The deranged look in his eyes, that smile and the wig just made this unbelievable chilling image. I don’t understand why everyone was laughing!?!? That was horrifying! I really was scared when I saw that and it took me a few minutes to get that image out of my head. I hate images. I can sit through Paranormal Activity and have stuff pop out in front of me and scare me half to death, but I get over that. It passes. But if you show me a face, like Leatherface or Michael Meyers (the new one from the Rob Zombie remake) I will have nightmares about it. And since I sleep in the basement, all I thought about that night was Bates running through my bedroom door dressed as his dead mother lmaooo. I think if a movie can make you scared to go to sleep, it did its job. Kudos to Hitchcock!!

My favorite actor: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp has become one Hollywood’s most prized possessions. His films, 47 to be exact, have brought in an estimated $2.3 billion in the United States alone and $4.8 billion overseas. But little is known my today’s younger audience about the man they have come to know as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Since his big break in 1987 on the hour-long police drama 21 Jump Street, Johnny Depp had conquered the roles of the small screen and the silver screen

Born in Owensboro, Kentucky on June 9th, 1963 to Betty Sue and John Christopher Depp Sr., Johnny Depp had accomplished in 26 years of acting what some actors take a lifetime to achieve. His film career has touched upon every genre in Hollywood and at a time when most actors start to take a hiatus from the business, Depp is just getting started.

His first starring role came in Wes Cravens 1984 horror masterpiece A Nightmare on Elm Street. From there, Depp went on to star in two more supporting roles in the 80’s in Private Resort and the Oscar-winning drama Platoon as Jack Marshall and Private Gator Lerner, respectively. His dramatic turn in Platoon garnished him with rave reviews from critics and gave him a chance to spread his wings in Hollywood.

As the 90’s began, Depp lined himself up with a variety of films, some of which becoming the most critically acclaimed of his career. The first was Edward Scissorhands, in which he played the title character. His quirkiness as Edward, a young unfinished creation we met perfectly by the unique style of director Tim Burton. This was the first film between Burton and Depp. Since Edward Scissorhands, Burton and Depp have collaborated on 7 more films.

Following the success of Edward Scissorhands , Depp went on to star in over a dozen more films in the 90’s including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Sleepy Hollow.

With the start of the new millennium, Depp branched out from traditional dramas and biopics of his early career into a box office king. He found this glory with one of the most successful movie franchises in history, the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Over the course of 3 films (the 4th entitles On Strange4 Tides will be releases in 3D in May 2011) the series made an estimated $2.7 billion at the global box office, accounting for most of Depp’s net worth. His role in the series as Captain Jack Sparrow earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for The Curse of the Black Pearl.

After Pirates, Depp started in Finding Neverland, for which he received his second Best Actor nomination in 2 years, followed by 2 more films with Burton, 2 sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean and Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

In Todd, Depp once again plays the title character. It is Depp’s first musical of his career. His powerful performance unlocked a part of him that most audiences have never seen.

At the tender age of 12, Depp was given a guitar by his mother and he began playing in various bands around his home town. His first band was named Meredith after one of his girlfriends. With a sudden passion for music, Depp dropped out of high school and strived to become a rock musician. After he realized that his dream was far from reality, he attempted to go back to school several days later but was turned away. He later played with the band The Kid and moved out to Los Angeles with hopes of a record deal, but the band broke apart before ant deal was made.

After his failed attempted at rock star fame, Depp settled upon acting, and the rest is history.

Today, Depp is currently one of Hollywood’s highest paid actors. He has racked up 3 Academy Award nominations, 7 Golden Globe nominations and 1 win and 34 other wins from various award groups. He even got to record his first solo album as well as played side guitar on several singles for bands like The Oasis and has been featured on several soundtracks to his films.

Depp will star in The Tourist next month alongside Angelina Jolie and the animated film Rango next March.

I can’t wait to see The Tourist!

Give Yourself Over To Absolute Pleasure

The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released in 1975. It stars a then unknown Tim Curry in his debut role of Dr. Frank-N-Future, a mad transvestite scientist from the planet Transsexual in the galaxy of Transylvania, Susan Sarandon as Janet Wise, and singer Meat Loaf as Eddie. The movie still runs in a limited release 35 years after its premier. It is, and remains to be, one the longest running movies in history. It continues to play and collect revenue off of its midnight screenings that can be found around the world. I have wanted to go to a midnight showing for years. It is possible one of the coolest movie experience one could ever have.
What you suppose to do is this: your suppose to come dressed as your favorite character, whether it be Brad Majors (The Hero), Janet Wise (The Heroine), Eddie (The Ex-Delivery Boy) or Frank-N-Furter (The Mad Scientist). Once the show begins, it turns into an all out party with audience participation. And I mean audience participation.
There are all these things you’re supposed to bring too: rice, toilet paper, toast, a water gun. Why? Here’s where audience participation comes in. At certain points in the movie, these items are called for. For example, at the beginning, there’s a wedding and you throw your rice at the screen. When Dr. Everett Scott appears, you throw your Scott’s toilet paper at the screen and so on and so on.
There are also things you suppose to say back. It’s called call-backs and there one of the best parts. When Riff-Raff (A Handyman) begins to sing the Time Warp he opens up a coffin ad the audience yells “Show us your mother, Riff-Raff” at the screen. And if you’re a true Rocky fan, you literally know all the words to the movie (sadly, I kind of do).
But there’ so much more going on in the film that it’s just too much to write about. This is probably one of the only films in history to become what it has become: a cult classic and a cultural phenomenon. The iconic red lips singing the opening song “Science Fiction/Double Feature” are widely known throughout the world. The Time Warp can be heard every Halloween. The movie even got its own dedication episode on one of the hottest new shows on TV, Glee. It has also been preserved by the U.S. National Film Registry for being a “”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant film” along with movies like Citizen Kane and The Lady Eve. Did I mention that it pays homage to the old RKO Picture shows of the 30s and 40s (something we learned about in class lol).
But the movie is a lot more than just what it may seem. It’s a story about love, lust, acceptance, envy, part comedy, part horror, part musical and part cultural satire. The Time Warp was made to make fun of all the dance songs introduced in the late 60s and early 70s.
The movie also sends out a great message: to be comfortable with whom you are. You “don’t judge a book by its cover” as Frank-N-Furter would say. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, gay, straight, or a sweet transvestite from Transsexual Transylvania, you’re perfect the way you are.

M – Opening Scene.

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